As communities continue to focus on tackling what we hope to be the final chapter of the COVID-19 pandemic, we are also proactively thinking about it reconstruction a strong and efficient economic recovery. Oxford’s post-Covid economy looks very strong. Oxford, already ranked the eighth strongest micro-political economy in the country, is poised to create an even stronger economy after the national recession that the pandemic brought us.

Small businesses are the backbone of Oxford. Our small businesses give our community character and individuality. A stroll through the city center gives visitors the opportunity to explore our community and get an idea of ​​our values ​​and identity. From a bakery, coffee shop, world-renowned bookstore, and one-of-a-kind apparel and gift stores, to banking, legal, and community services essential to daily life, walk-in local business enclaves invite shoppers to stay longer and be with them to interact you Friends and neighbors. A thriving shopping district represents vitality and a healthy economyand create a positive impression of the community as a whole.

With many communities in trouble, we see growth and record sales in retail and real estate. The number of condos sold in April 2021 was 48% higher than the next most active April in the last decade, that was in 2014. In April 2021, 69 houses were sold in Oxford, 17 more than the next best April, that was in 2018.

The sales and special tax receipts we receive each month reflect sales from two months earlier. So the tax revenue generated in May reflects the sales in March. We were thrilled to see our March sales tax revenue, which was collected in May, increased 44% month-over-month and 49% year-over-year. Our 2% food and beverage tax revenue increased 52% month-over-month and 67% year-over-year. Our hotel and motel tax is recovering and shows an increase of 47% compared to the previous month and an increase of 54% compared to the same month last year.

In Oxford, retail sales must continue to rise to maintain strong, healthy economic growth. We see levels of confidence in all sectors of our economy that indicate continued growth. We are encouraged to see the same growth path we had before Covid.

Our community chose to eat outside during the pandemic. As community leaders, we have focused on making alfresco dining in the downtown area. To get this done quickly, we used metal barriers that we had stored and made ADA sidewalks and ramps for pedestrians. Was it nice no. Has it increased the sales of all participating restaurants and bars? Yes. And that was our goal.

Knowing we needed to stay creative and bring new opportunities to businesses, residents and visitors – and knowing that outdoor dining areas and additional pedestrian zones would increase our sales, support our local businesses and creatively expand our tourism industry – we were busy. The East Jackson Streetscape Improvement Project is currently underway and will expand the sidewalks to make alfresco dining a permanent amenity to our downtown restaurants. This project is scheduled to be completed before Ole Miss’ first home football game in the fall. There are also plans to convert an underutilized area on the square into a green space that offers space to sit and gather and create a connection between the trading center and the surrounding districts.

The impact of tourism on the Oxford economy cannot be overstated. Although the impact of tourism was smaller during the pandemic, travel and tourism still had a positive impact on Oxford and Lafayette Counties. In fiscal 2020, travel and tourism had an impact of $ 145.9 million that visitors to our community spent. A $ 13.6 million state / local tax impact is attributable to tourism in 2020, representing a total saving of $ 730.85 per household in Lafayette County due to taxes generated by visitors to Oxford.

It is currently estimated that there are 2,045 direct Travel / Tourism jobs in the Oxford Community. mTrade Park baseball, soccer and softball tournaments, SEC sporting events, University of Mississippi specials and promotions, weddings, community sponsored events such as outdoor music, spring runs and Destination Oxford Cruise and Car Show are just a few of the events that promoted tourism in our community last year. 2021 is well on the way to becoming the best year for tourism yet!

I was amazed at the number of people I met who moved to Oxford to weather the darkest months of the pandemic and decided to make Oxford their permanent home. Our city is growing at an unprecedented rate despite the national pandemic. People want to live, work and play in Oxford. As a result, people from all over the country come to invest in Oxford because they believe, like me, – Oxford will continue to grow and prosper despite developments in the rest of the world.