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FBA seeks ways to fill Farragut’s retail space


Recruiting businesses to vacant spaces within Town limits was at the forefront of discussion for Farragut Business Alliance, Tuesday, June 16.

“We’re hoping certain businesses come here, but hope is not a method,” Interim Town Administrator Gary Palmer said.

“I think Farragut probably developed this way: people came here; I don’t think there was a whole lot of active recruitment.

“Now we’re at a point where we have a lot of great retail areas left,” Palmer said.

To fill vacant and developable areas, Town and organizations such as the Business Alliance should actively recruit businesses, he added.


One method, Palmer said, would be to track and quantify results from the Town’s economic development survey (at www.townoffarragut.org), in which citizens can identify which businesses they would like to see in the Town.

“Those can be somehow categorized and saved for a long period of time,” Knick Myers, Myers Bros. Holdings co-founder, said.

“Then we can go to a store and say, ‘Hey, listen, we’ve got 5,000 responses that want your store in our community,’” David Purvis, Farragut Wine and Spirits owner, said.

Another method could be posting the Town’s vacant and available spaces on the Town’s Web site, so possible developers could easily see what was available.

“It would be easy to do, almost nothing to maintain,” Palmer said.

Myers warned the Alliance not to “pigeonhole itself.”

“Nobody wants to go to a location with a lot of vacant space,” he added.

Pamela Treacy, commercial realtor and Campbell Station Wine and Spirits owner, urged Palmer simply to link to Multiple Listing Service listings, which are updated when properties sell.

In other business, the Business Alliance discussed its role in the establishment of a future Economic Development Council.

“I would like to see this organization independent of the Town,” Myers said.

“Having the Town’s help is very important, but I would like to see it be an independent entity,” he added.

Purvis said he viewed the FBA “as a more fluid organization” than a Town-chartered committee likely would be.

According to Palmer, founding an Economic Development Council has been on the Town’s work program for more than two years. The group has yet to be chartered, and members likely would have required background [checks].

“You would have some at-large members, but someone who is involved in banking, someone who has certain degrees, certain abilities they can bring to the table to ensure we don’t get a packed board,” Palmer said.

Treacy asked that the Council be created with a mix of small-business owners, franchisees and large business representatives.

The Alliance’s next meeting is scheduled for 8 a.m., Monday, July 20, at Town Hall.

 

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