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Demographics are changing. Business is changing. Consumer habits are changing. You can read about it every day in The Oklahoman.

Read stories by Brianna Bailey and you’ll see how sales at big box stores are down. Small retail shops are opening up throughout downtown. Fast food giants and corporate restaurant chains are losing business to an increasingly diverse choice of locally owned eateries.

Local business is back. But putting a product on the shelf or a restaurant table won't guarantee this wave will benefit every local business. “Experience” is key to this shift, and it’s that experience that is driving much of the businesses I’ve observed thriving downtown.

I’ve been asked in various live chats about scheduling a time when The Oklahoman’s business staff can visit with the community. Next week is the chance to do just that as we gather for an Oklahoman Small Business VIP Event.

The Oklahoman's business staff (including myself) will be talking about how "experience" is becoming an important new tool for small businesses and other issues relating to local commerce during a free lunch at the Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark from noon to 1:30 p.m. Tuesday.

Other topics to be discussed will include Business Editor Don Mecoy explaining how to get the stories of small business owners in The Oklahoman. Richard Mize will discuss real estate coverage, while Energy Editor Adam Wilmoth will discuss how small businesses may be surprised as to how they fit into the story of our energy industry. Brianna Bailey will be discussing retail trends.

Most importantly, this is a chance for small business owners to ask questions and discuss their concerns with the largest business news staff in the state.

Spaces are limited for this event - so sign up soon. Visit here to learn more and reserve your spot. Seats are limited.

Steve Lackmeyer

Steve Lackmeyer is a reporter, columnist and author who started his career at The Oklahoman in 1990. Since then, he has won numerous awards for his coverage, which included the 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, the city's... Read more ›

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