The president of the Grove Chamber of Commerce, Donnie Crain, told Rotary members that despite 2019 flood and high waters, it has been a growth year for Grove's economy.
Speaking to Grove Rotary members, Crain says that that sales tax receipts for the city are up nearly 2 percent (1.9%) over the past 12 months and since mid-May have increased 2.3 percent,
At the same time, visitors are increasing. The Tourism Bureau reports the hotel/motel tax is up nearly 18 percent (17.9%) compared to collections last year between July to November. The collections reflect sales revenue from May to October.
Just as impressive, Crain says that third-quarter real estate sales for the area are up 9.1 percent with sales totaling $88 million for the quarter compared to the same quarter last year.
Crain calls Tourism is the "cornerstone of the economy. Delaware and Ottawa Counties are Oklahoma's attract the third number of visitors in the state. Only Oklahoma City and Tulsa rank higher.
He also noted that Retirement is an Economic Development driver for the area. "Retirement is big business," he noted. In order to showcase that, the chamber is seeking to qualify for the AARP National Seal of Approval. There are no towns in Oklahoma that currently have the designation." The chamber is working with the city and other entities to meet the requirements for the designation. "It would give us national recognition as a great place to retire." Councilman Ivan Devitt is chairman of a committee seeking to obtain the designation.
Crain noted that one retirement couple is equal to four industrial jobs in terms of economic impact. He says the chamber wants to make Grove the Number One Retirement Community in Oklahoma and a long-term goal is to make Grove the Number One Lake-town in the country.
In addition, the aerospace industry continues to be a major economic factor for the area. Ferra Industries is expanding building an additional 50,000 square feet on to its plant. Crain hinted that there is another aerospace company currently looking to make Grove home. The aerospace industry offers high paying jobs with a clean industrial base.
The Chamber also sponsors many special events and festivals during the year including the Home and Garden Show, the Christmas Parade, several bass fishing tournaments, boat racing, the Green Country Spider Jamboree and will add a new event this year, a Coin Show.
The Grove Chamber currently has four staff members and more than 320 members. The chamber's motor is to make Grove "a great place to live, work, play and invest."