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Farragut EDC talks ‘Buy in Farragut’ pros, cons

Farragut’s Economic Development Committee discussed changes to the Town’s annual “Buy in Farragut” campaign, which encourages holiday shoppers to spend their money at Farragut businesses.

“This will be our fifth year. It started with the suggestion of an alderman and some other people in the community,” Farragut Parks and Leisure Services Director Sue Stuhl said.

“We’ve grown it a little bit. … It’s grown now to [start] the Saturday before Thanksgiving and to [end on] New Year’s Day,” she added. During the campaign, the Town also allows participating businesses to erect special event signs.

The “Buy in Farragut” campaign encourages shoppers to buy their gifts in Farragut, emphasizing the fact that all sales tax dollars go to support Town projects, parks and roads.

“When you shop in Farragut, you help the Town and build roads and parks and other amenities,” Stuhl said.

However, Pamela Treacy, owner of Campbell Station Wine & Spirits, felt that focusing on Farragut was too stringent.

“I don’t want to alienate the Hardin Valley shoppers by putting ‘Buy in Farragut’ in my [special event] sign,’” Treacy said.

Her sign encourages people to “shop locally,” she added.

But Stuhl said that phrase — if used for the campaign as a whole — was tricky.

“‘Buy local’ really means buying at local, independent retailers. It does not mean buying in your Town.

“That leaves out the big box retailers that are in Farragut. I think we do need to be careful about that,” Stuhl said.

David Purvis, Farragut Wine & Spirits owner, said Farragut needed to be included in the name of the shopping event.

“You’ve got to have Farragut’s name in it. You have to have something in it that correlates to why you want them to shop here … it generates tax dollars for the community,” Purvis said.

“Our external message should be ‘Shop Farragut,’ but our internal message can be ‘Buy in Farragut,’” he added.

Treacy also took issue with some of the advertisements that run in local media outlets, including farragutpress.

“We could be advertising all over the place; we could be in the Maryville paper and all kinds of things,” she said.

But Stuhl said, “The Town has to be the first and biggest supporter of the campaign we’re trying to start.”

In other words, the Town has to buy in Farragut if it is to expect anyone else to.

Stuhl also mentioned problems Farragut has with business owners who want to keep up “Buy in Farragut” special event signs for longer than is permitted.

Purvis suggested placing a moratorium on a business’s four yearly permitted special event signs during the two weeks before and after the “Buy in Farragut” campaign.

“That way you’re not going to get … what looks like a permanent sign,” he said.

He also said the signs should be constructed around a template so they’re not quite so chaotic-looking.

“The Town should do this to promote loyalty to the community and the businesses in the community,” Purvis said.

No discussed changes to the “Buy in Farragut” campaign were final, or even unanimously recommended, by the EDC. Any changes would have to be approved by Farragut’s Board of Mayor and Aldermen.


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