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Farragut Business Alliance discusses ‘business friendly’ Farragut

Farragut Business Alliance discussed how to make the process of opening a business in Town limits easier at its monthly meeting, Tuesday, May 19.

“This is the biggest challenge we face,” Farragut Mayor Ralph McGill said.

Shrimp Dock owner Phil Dangel said the phrase he hears most from entrepreneurs seeking empty spaces near his business is, “I hear Farragut is impossible to work with.

“That perception is there for people outside Farragut,” Dangel added.

“They have the mindset that it’s not worth the hassle,” Bath Junkie owner Dale Thompson said.

Myers Bros. Holdings co-founder Knick Myers agreed, saying commercial real estate agents, who aren’t paid until business owners close on a property or open their business, often perpetuate that perception.

In other areas, Myers said, the time from planning to an opening date may be as little as 60 days, but in Farragut it could be longer (so agents aren’t paid as quickly).

“The town of Farragut is heavily regulated,” Interim Town Administrator Gary Palmer said.

“We need to remember there’s always two sides to every story,” McGill said.

Leisure Services Director Sue Stuhl agreed, saying a reason many people choose to live in Farragut was the Town’s stringent regulations against “clutter.”

“Most of us don’t have a problem with what the ordinances are, it’s just getting through them,” Thompson said.

Vice Mayor Dot LaMarche asked if the Town had a manual for business owners similar to its Development Manual, which outlines the process for creating a development in Farragut. Palmer answered in the negative.

“It’s very complicated. I don’t think there’s any way to have one checklist,” Myers said, mentioning Farragut business owners must deal with several different utility companies for different services, something often unknown on the front end.

Myers suggested the Town think about assigning or hiring a staff member as an “advocate” to business owners, someone whose sole job would be walking entrepreneurs through opening a business.

“The staff is very knowledgeable … [but needs] an advocate. Obviously that’s more work for staff … but ultimately, it may streamline the work for the staff,” Myers said.

Myers compared the advocate position to the Town’s staff/developer meetings, in which Town staff, developers and engineers sit down to discuss each development while it is still in the planning stages.

“Those have worked great. … It’s extremely helpful; everyone is on the same page,” Myers said.

“We need to fix those problems but we need to know what they are … know the reality behind the perception,” McGill said.

The Alliance also discussed a business survey recently placed on the Town’s Web site,, in which residents can answer survey questions about which businesses they would like to see come to Farragut.

“We want to get residents engaged in what they want this Town to look like,” Farragut Wine & Spirits owner David Purvis said.

“Ultimately, we have limited real estate,” he added.


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