Dear Oxford – Where’s my Whataburger and Target?

Published 8:00 am Monday, April 23, 2018

With the recent announcement of Old Navy and “another major anchor store” coming to town, as well as the opening of Arby’s, I can’t help but wonder – what does a girl have to do around here to get a Target and a Whataburger?

Don’t get me wrong, I’m thankful for our portion, and excited for the new businesses we do have, I swear. But y’all have got to stop getting my hopes up with these announcements and, even worse, speculation with nary a Target or Whataburger in sight.

So, I thought I’d make my case for why Target and Whataburger would be an asset to our already lovely community.

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I’ll start by discussing the merits of Target. Two words: Cash. Cow. It’s a one-stop shop for everything you need, and more importantly, the items are of a higher quality than some of their other big box counterparts.

Let’s put it this way. When you’re scrolling through Twitter on any given day, compare tweets about other big box stores to the ones about Target and see which are more favorable.

That brings me to my next point: The differences between Walmart, Kroger and Target are just pronounced enough that the latter would not cause any drastic changes in the formers’ sales. If anything, a little competition might encourage them to step up their game.

In 2016, Target Corp. announced the opening of hundreds of “small stores” across the country. So, I ask you – where’s our piece of the pie?

I dream of the day when I can head out to Oxford Commons and see the big red bullseye looming over the horizon, but for now it seems like a far-away dream.

Then there’s Whataburger. The Texas and Florida staple has a few storefronts on the coast, but if I was in Oxford and wanted to bite into a honey butter chicken biscuit, I’d have to drive two hours and some change to Ridgeland. (Don’t think I won’t. They’re that good.)

We all remember the fateful day two summers ago when Cookout graced us with their presence. It was pandemonium. OPD officers were directing traffic on Jackson Avenue, as it was backed up for miles. The mythical $5 Cookout Tray was worth the wait.

Now tell me, why wouldn’t Whataburger have the same effect?

The total cost of investment to franchise a Whataburger is $1.2 million. At first, that may seem like a lot of money, but considering the fact that the average Whataburger franchise rakes in over $2 million a year, the initial investment would be earned back in no time.

With the number of students from Whataburger-friendly states such as Texas and Florida, as well as parts of Alabama and the Mississippi Gulf Coast, there’s basically a guarantee that the drive-through lane will be filled at all hours with orange-and-white loyalists, desperate for a fix.

With the impending annexation of more land into the city of Oxford, the population will greatly increase, providing an ample customer base for either store. Not to mention, the addition of a Target or Whataburger will draw even more visitors from neighboring towns and counties, who are as equally in need of these fine establishments as Oxford.

The simple truth is, the LOU community would benefit tremendously from the addition of a Target and a Whataburger. It would bring more people to the area, and encourage those living here to stay in town to do their shopping, as opposed to driving hours in all directions to access the products they want.

Until then, a girl can dream.

Anna Gibbs is a reporter for the EAGLE. You can reach her at