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City of Duncan hopes to attract big dining businesses

Duncan_For years, Duncan residents have wondered why they simply can't seem to attract a national restaurant chain - such as a Chili's or Applebee's - to their town.  City officials say that they have been told that Duncan just isn't a prime location for that sort of franchise.  Is there hope for Duncan residents who want to have a sit-down dinner at a national franchise spot?

There is hope, but only if the City of Duncan can formulate an equation that adds up to a magical number.  Chain restaurants demand a certain sized population, plus a certain amount of population dollars, to equal big profit for the restaurant.  Currently, Duncan has only fast food chains to grab a quick bite - Sonic, Arby's, Chicken Express, etc.  But, when some Duncan residents have a growling stomach, Duncan Main Street Director Tammy Johnson says they are asking for a different type of meal.  "It's the restaurants that they ask me about all the time," she said.  "That's what I hear all the time, ‘Why are we not getting any restaurants?"

President of Duncan's Economic Development, Lyle Roggow, says he has the answer - demographics.  The City of Duncan has a population of just over 23,000 residents, and falls short  of the 25,000 that big business needs for its investment.  However, Duncan insists it has it if you include other counties, such as Comanche County, Waurika, Velma, and other surrounding towns.  "Look at what's within fifteen minutes of our community, it's a 33,000 population," said Roggow. 

Roggow says chain restaurants will provide more than good eating.  "The big industry would bring in workers," he said.  "We would have more people that have jobs, all the people that are looking for jobs right now - that would create jobs for them."  He also says tax dollars would go right back into the community in revenue. 

Johnson says big restaurant business means big help for little businesses.  "It would give folks a reason to come down here later at night," she said.  "It would keep foot traffic in the downtown area."  Roggow says the potential of Duncan's future eateries is out of their hands, but all they need is just one large restaurant to come in, and others will follow.

Duncan hopes that its future big business isn't isolated to big restaurants.  The city would like to see larger retail stores such as Ross, and others open as well.

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