TULSA - A new shopping center in north Tulsa is just weeks away from opening.
But this isn't your ordinary shopping center.
Residents don't have many shopping options on this side of town. The Shoppes on Peoria will offer that, and hopefully keep the money in north Tulsa.
Construction is complete, but the "shoppes" sit empty, waiting for signs and merchandise to bring it to life.
The Tulsa Economic Development Corporation has been working on this project for six years. It's helping launch small businesses and entrepreneurs.
The project is funded through a $3.8 million federal grant.
"They're really pushing for north Tulsa to really grow. And this is an excellent opportunity for us," said Tim Orr, one of about a dozen small business owners getting ready to move in.
He hopes residents will support the shopping center near Pine and North Peoria Avenue and start shopping in their own neighborhood..
"When they see other small businesses like myself opening up, it also gives them encouragement to know that they can do it as well," Orr said.
On Saturday, project manager Katie Plohocky began decorating the shopping center for the holidays.
"We have seen so many people drive in and stop and walk. They're walking on the way to the grocery store and they stop. They're so excited about this opening," she said.
She hopes shopping convenience will translate into prosperity for the community.
"The dollar used to circulate in this community 15 times before it left. It barely circulates once now," Plohocky said.
"In order to have true change and economic development, you really have to bring wealth back to the community. And the only way you can do that is through the flow of dough."
There will be a "northern lights" holiday festival at the Shoppes on Peoria next Sunday from 3 to 6 p.m.
The family event will feature a "battle of the choirs" and arts and crafts presented by John 3:16. You can even get your photo taken with Santa Claus for free.
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