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Purvis initiates business alliance


Farragut Business Alliance found a jumping off point at its first meeting, Wednesday, Jan. 21.

As first reported on Farragut First Edition, www.farragut-press.com, 15 attendees, including press, town of Farragut representatives, Farragut business owners and civic club leaders met at Aubrey’s Restaurant off Campbell Station Road.

“I want to start a dialogue about what it is we like about doing business here in Town and what we need to work on,” David Purvis, owner of Farragut Wine and Spirits and the force behind the Business Alliance, said.

“The town of Farragut is changing,” he added.


In recent months, Purvis has seen a need for a group of strictly Farragut business owners who can work in partnership with each other and the Town: for example, providing feedback on ordinances.

“The Town has had a longstanding reputation of being very hard to work with … a lot of people are trying to reverse that,” Alderman John Williams said.

“We enforce our codes … but we’re not a business unfriendly community,” he added.

Associate Town Administrator Gary Palmer said, “From the staff level, we’re here to support Farragut businesses.”

Purvis said he received feedback from 30 to 40 business owners who were interested in working together to make Farragut a better place to do business.

Purvis was clear the Farragut Business Alliance was not meant to be a replacement for, or competition with, Farragut West Knox Chamber of Commerce.

“The Chamber is a big force in the community … and does a great job,” Purvis said.

However, some Chamber members “come from outside town of Farragut limits [and] Farragut business owners are the ones directly affected by what we do,” Williams said.

Purvis asked attendees to fill out questionnaires, specifically listing why they were interested in an alliance of Farragut business owners.

The organizational meeting at Aubrey’s, Purvis said, was to establish what business owners were interested in, which would help set an agenda for the next meeting.

A consensus emerged from the attendees’ surveys: most wanted a greater voice in local government; many listed “support,” both from other business owners and from government, as a reason for attendance.

Several attendees listed “increased visibility” as a reason, some specifically mentioning physical visibility and sign ordinances, others listing improved visibility by involving themselves in community events. Purvis also mentioned voting on an official name for the group.

“I don’t envision this to be a networking event but to … draw other business owners here,” Purvis said.

“I hope people will talk among themselves,” he added.

Williams said he saw this first meeting as a springboard for a possible Town economic development board, an idea bandied about by several aldermen.

That board would serve as a liaison between the Town and local business owners, providing comments on ordinances and codes.

Although Purvis agreed the Farragut Business Alliance could become a catalyst for such a board, that is not the initial goal.

“The goal initially is just to get some dialogue going … if this should succeed and become a successful organization … it would make sense that the Town would want to come to this group,” Purvis said.

“The long-term goal is to create a forum where businesses in the community can talk about what’s good, what’s bad, what’s happening in the business community … and how we can participate, how we can continue to grow,” he added.

For more information about Farragut Business Alliance, e-mail Purvis at david@farragut-wines.com

 

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