Despite recent closings, Duncan's economy is improving - KSWO, Lawton, OK- Wichita Falls, TX: News, Weather, Sports. ABC, 24/7, Telemundo -

Despite recent closings, Duncan's economy is improving

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DUNCAN, OK._After several businesses have recently shut their doors for good in Duncan, some residents are beginning to worry about the small town's economy.

But an economic development expert in Duncan says those "closed" signs that continue to pop up don't tell the entire story.

He says for nearly every business that is calling it quits, there is a new one coming in.

Lyle Roggow says the state of the economy in Duncan has actually been on an upswing since about 2009.

He is calling what is happening in Duncan right now a "turnover".

It is true that there are lots of closings, but they are equalized by bigger and better setting up shop.

It was not hard to find businesses who are calling it quits.

From Highway 81 to Main Street doors are closing, but is that necessarily the sign of hard times?

The answer according to the president of the Duncan Area Economic Foundation says, not at all.

"I think in any economy you always have peaks and valleys and too often we hear about the tougher times and we don't always celebrate as long the great successes we do have," said Lyle Roggow.

Roggow knows that some businesses are closing due to financial uncertainty...as was the case with Golden Corral.

They shut their doors just after Thanksgiving with little notice to their employees.

But Roggow says most are closing out of sheer desire.

Take the Cedar Street Grill for instance.

They are in the process of trying to close their doors.

But it is not because of a bad economy, it is simply because the owners are tired and ready to retire.

When Roggow looks back to 2008, when the economy truly was suffering, he says there are simply no similarities in how Duncan is operating now, compared to back then.

He says progress is being made very steadily and there are numbers to back it up.

"We have seen an increase in sales tax collections in our community and it has been growing, every month it is more than the previous month. So, those are good solid, health indicators on how the community is doing and fortunately for us, we have been on the grow," said Roggow.

Roggow is not even discouraged by the Halliburton lay-offs.

He said just yesterday he received a phone call from a new business owner interested in scooping up some of the newly laid off energy company employees.

"You know, we never know what's in the future for us, but at the same time I think we have the resources to be able to help companies that are looking to expand, and find the work force," said Roggow.

And the recent closed signs have not affected Duncan's unemployment rate in the slightest.

"The last reported was 4%. I would imagine that's really about 4.2% unemployment for us. As long as we continue to stay under 5% or right at 5%, that is a fully employed economy," said Roggow.  

And of course there is some visible evidence of growth in Duncan as well.

Roggow says the Applebee's is doing great.

There is practically always a line of customers waiting.

And he predicts more chains filtering into the small town in the coming years.

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