Retail In Oxford : What Makes Us Thrive

Oxford, Mississippi has been a mecca for literary and educational activity, yet in recent years Oxford has become an area of flourishing retail, bringing great profit to the town.

To most, Oxford, Mississippi is the home of Ole Miss. With only about 20,000 residents, it is a small town, with the population dipping down during summer vacation. Yet, this small town is packed with retail areas. Currently, there are over 20 shops just in the central square alone. These locations range from boutiques to gift shops, appealing to a wide demographic of shoppers.

Shopping in Oxford provides almost 12% of Lafayette County’s revenue, according to the Economic Development Foundation. This statistic is neck and neck with other popular occupations such as farming and mining. This fact suggests that retail is a main source of revenue for the county of Lafayette. In turn, retail may be slowly taking over more traditional occupations in the county.

This bustling business brings a great deal of employment to the county. According to Oxford’s Economic Development Foundation, over 11% of Lafayette County’s population is employed in the retail industry. This factors in both part time and full time employees. They also stated that the city of Oxford alone employs 340 people in retail, part of the almost 2,000 retail workers in the county.

This expansion of employment in the town is still growing. According to careerbuilder.com, there are currently 11 retail jobs available in Oxford. With the addition of new stores and expansions happening frequently in town, Oxford’s revenue, and employment opportunities will only continue to grow.

Expansion of the actual retail areas in Oxford is also occurring. According to the Mississippi Business Blog, a $35 million galleria is being added on Jackson Avenue. This will add more stores that will be able to make a profit. Also, more employment opportunities will be added for citizens of Oxford.

These stores in Oxford give way to a huge demographic for employment. With the large amount of college students in the area, stores hire many young adults part time. Yet, they are also able to provide employment opportunities for older full time workers.

Stores are perhaps the biggest source of entertainment in Oxford. With the town being so small, many people spend their time either out to eat, or shopping on the square. About half of the University of Mississippi’s students are female, and many of them spend time spending their money.

“I go shopping all the time, it’s a bad habit but there are so many cute places to go,” said college freshman Rosalee Severino.

Many of the stores on the square are boutiques, making them a bit pricier than your average department store, and in turn, creating more revenue. For example, according to their website, sweaters at Misbehavin, a shop on the square, range from $52.00 to $125.00. These prices may seem a bit much for an average college student, but not the Ole Miss community. Many citizens will pay a hefty price on the latest styles.

“First semester I spent an upwards of $200.00 shopping,” said freshman Caitlin Rowan.

Business most certainly fluctuates during football season. Girls take pride in their elaborate outfits for game day, many spending a great amount on their ensembles at the square. Not only do clothing stores make money off this season, but the accessory shops have a raise in revenue, selling shoes and jewelry to women for game day.

“I probably spent around $50.00 on each of my Grove dresses, maybe even more,” said freshman Sarah Brettin.

Men also take part in the game day traditions, increasing revenue during game days.

Shopping is a driving force in Oxford, during game season or not. It provides employment for many and pumps money into the economy.

Sources:

Economic Development Foundation : http://economic.oxfordms.com/

Number of jobs : careerbuilder.com

Prices At Misbehavin : http://missbehavinonline.com/

Rosalee Severino, Caitlin Rowan, Sarah Brettin : These girls are all freshman at Ole Miss. I picked a couple random girls from my classes to interview and ask about their shopping habbits.

Mississippi Business Blog : http://msbusiness.com/businessblog/2014/01/14/developer-sets-fall-2015-opening-oxfords-galleria-ii/

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