Passing the retail torch 

That’s more than four years of shops opening and closing, trends coming and going (and some, like jeggings, not seeking the exit door fast enough) and an explosion of both diversity and number of local stores. From popping in to stores across the metro each and every week, I can tell you firsthand that the growth of local shopping in the last few years has been amazing.

I wrote my first column in July 2007 on dresses. I had a couple more ideas jotted down and some stores I wanted to explore, but that’s it. I had absolutely no idea I’d make it through another 221 columns — I just hoped I could make it through 52.

But here I am. My focus then and now was less about fashion and more about shopping. And specifically, shopping local. There were many stores to visit from the beginning, of course, but the options now are truly remarkable. And it’s only going to get better — the only difference is, I won’t be around to check them out. Don’t worry: You’ll still be able to get your weekly shopping fix from a shiny, new ShopGirl.

Until then, you’ve got me for another 300 words or so.

right, Jenny Coon Peterson in her natural surroundings.

If there’s one thing I want to impart, it’s this: Love your local shops. (And by love, I mean spend money.) To truly become a vibrant city, there needs to be a density of both restaurants and shopping. Just think about the revitalized districts like the Plaza, Automobile Alley/Ninth Street, Main Street in Norman and more. Five years ago, they sat empty and unloved. Districts like those join the already fabulous Western Avenue, Campus Corner in Norman and Spring Creek in Edmond. And that doesn’t even include the new developments that are local-centric like Classen Curve.

All in all, the metro is a great place to be a shopper.

Love your local shops. (And by love, I mean spend money.)
I moved to Oklahoma City from Michigan six years ago with no real idea of what to expect. (Unreal expectations included killer tornadoes everywhere and possibly cowboys on horseback roaming the streets.)

And now, I’m heading out again, this time to Denver. Like last time I moved across the country, I have little experience with Colorado. Pretty much everything I know comes from a middle-school love of “Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman,” so I’ve been stockpiling prairie skirts and plaid.

Regardless, I’ll find out what it means to call myself a Coloradan in just a few days when I say a final goodbye to my friends and my adopted city and head west.

Taking over the reins will be Jenn Scott, so you’re in good, shopping-adept hands. So that’s it for me. I’ll say goodbye with an Oklahoma colloquialism I swore to myself I’d never adopt (and you bet your ass I’ll never use again): Bye, y’all!

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