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EDC proposes business data base


Farragut’s Economic Develop-ment Committee began discussing how to compile a business database at its meeting Wednesday, Feb. 3.

“We can use that going forward,” David Purvis, owner of Farragut Wine and Spirits, said.

Currently, the Town has no database of businesses in Town limits because it has no business license or requirement for tenants entering existing buildings to “check in.”

“We need to start one-on-one, but we don’t know who they are,” Purvis said.

The Farragut West Knox Chamber of Commerce, committee members said, also does not have an inclusive list of Farragut businesses.


The Chamber operates in and out of Farragut Town limits and only compiles a directory of Chamber members.

But Purvis said that list could be used as a starting point.

“I would think we need to bring [Chamber president and CEO] Bettye [Sisco] to the table and find some way to work together,” Purvis said.

“It’s very disjointed,” EDC committee chair Jim Holladay agreed.

Interim Town Administrator Gary Palmer said he had been investigating a business license for Town businesses, one that would require business owners to register.

A business license fee would be considered a tax, so Palmer said, if the Town enacted a business license, it would not have a fee.

“It becomes an enforcement issue … getting people in the door will always be a problem,” Palmer said.

Nancy Howard, a stay-at-home mom, said the Town should attach a value to the license, perhaps listing businesses in a directory, creating a communication database or providing informational packets.

“You would have, over some time, a huge response,” developer R. Knick Myers said.

During subcommittee reports, several committee members advocated sending surveys to business owners and residents to compile information.

Town Parks and Leisure Services Director Sue Stuhl cautioned the group that other committees, including the Community Center and Recycle committees, also were planning to compile surveys.

“This could be overwhelming to residents and businesses,” Stuhl said.

“It’s the perfect storm of surveys coming,” Palmer joked.

“We’re in danger of over-surveying the same group,” Holladay said.

Committee members then advocated compiling information face-to-face, “establishing dialogue” rather than mailing surveys.

Palmer pointed out Farragut Mayor Ralph McGill had set out to visit every business in Town limits to “overwhelming positive response.”

“Trying to separate this from the bureaucracy is the right way to go,” Palmer said, adding one-on-one encounters would not be “one more thing they have to fill out.”

Bill Johns, Bluewater Consulting LLC, said personal contact also would decrease the amount of bad information for which paper surveys are notorious.

 

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