OWASSO — Economic Development Consultant Rickey Hayes wrote the book “City on a Hill: A Book About Cities and How to Make Them Better” for city officials that are looking for ways to improve their cities. Hayes started his company, Retail Attractions, 8 years ago and has since worked in over 370 different cities in 37 states.
Retail Attractions works directly with municipalities to provide a variety of services such as defining the current state of the retail market, delineating who the consumers are, describing potential retail leakages and recruiting investment from the private sector to the cities to fill retail gaps.
Hayes, who has been a consultant for Broken Arrow, is a self-described “rookie author,” but his personality and expertise is what shines through in the pages of his book. Hayes’ down to earth, “country boy” demeanor entertains as he tells a story of being a patrolman in Texas when he and his partner lost a snake in their patrol car. The snake was discovered by another officer driving the car the next day and his call to dispatch was quite colorful. While taking the reader through the economic development process, Hayes sprinkles in his real-life experiences working with cities including his time as the Director of Economic Development in Owasso. Hayes was involved in bringing Home Depot, Target and six million square feet of other national tenants in retail development that followed.
City on a Hill uses Owasso as a test case example of a city that did economic development right and Hayes demonstrates the importance of relationships, patience, data and marketing as key elements of successful cities. Unafraid of offending the reader, Hayes doesn’t pull any punches as he talks about cities that are not successful and some of the reasons why. Hayes also doesn’t shy away from unpopular topics like politics and religion as he points out both are part of every community so how they affect economic development needs to be understood.
“It’s all about changing cities for the better. To me, that’s what this job is and that’s what this book is about, helping communities change in a positive way,” Hayes said. “So if you are a city manager, a city councilor, a mayor or other elected official, a retailer or a restaurant owner, or if you are a high school student who has a burden in your heart of making your city a better place, read this book. I wrote it for you.”
Hayes starts the book by sharing a memory of his elementary school principal telling the students that each one of them had the potential to change the world and how that struck a chord with him. City on a Hill challenges city officials and citizens alike to improve their cities and maybe if enough cities follow suit Hayes will have done his part in changing the world.
City on a Hill: A Book About Cities and How to Make Them Better is available for purchase on Amazon. For more information about Rickey Hayes and Retail Attractions visit www.retailattractions.com.