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Town hosts ‘Buy in Farragut’ planning meeting

More than 20 Farragut businessmen and women gathered to discuss the Town’s “Buy in Farragut” campaign, which was launched five years ago to encourage holiday shoppers to buy their gifts in Farragut stores.

“We want to get bigger and better each year,” Town Administrator David Smoak told meeting attendees Friday, July 23.

“Help us look at what you think works best and what doesn’t,” Town Parks and Leisure Services Director Sue Stuhl said.

First up on the list of changes was the name of the campaign.

“Shop Farragut” topped the ideas bandied about; many of the attendees felt “Shop Farragut” seemed a little friendlier than “Buy in Farragut,” and would appeal to customers who may not live in Town limits.

Dale Thompson, owner of bathjunkie, said the campaign’s fifth year would be a good time to launch the new name.

“You can say it’s now bigger and better: more stores, more retail,” he said.

Meeting attendees also largely supported the decision to regulate the special event signs businesses are allowed — so long as there was a “grandfather” clause that would allow them a few years to transition.

“We need a template … with something in common so people can see them and immediately know what they’re about,” Thompson said.

David Purvis, co-owner of Farragut Wine & Spirits, said there should be a sign template that allows some variation, but that all signs should have the name of the campaign and should be a certain size.

“And we need a couple of years to get the signs consistent and recognizable,” Purvis added.

Pamela Treacy, co-owner of Campbell Station Wine & Spirits, advocated making the “Light up Farragut” initiative — in which businesses are encouraged to decorate with lights or Christmas furnishings — part of the “Buy in Farragut” campaign.

The Town began “Light up Farragut” years before “Buy in Farragut” was initiated, but “we get very little participation,” Stuhl said.

Treacy said participation likely would increase if the two programs were rolled into one.

Stuhl asked attendees if “Buy in Farragut” was conducive to actual holiday events in Farragut’s various stores.

Phil Dangel, co-owner of The Shrimp Dock, said a men’s shopping night, a free gift-wrap day or even a breakfast with Santa event would go over well if all of Farragut’s businesses teamed up to offer them on the same days.

That seemed a little too labor-intensive to get together by this December, but Thompson said it would be a great idea for next year.

He advocated promoting one area of Farragut (such as the Dixie Lee area, Turkey Creek area, etc.) each week in “Buy in Farragut” advertising and promotions.

One of the largest changes many meeting attendees advocated was the creation of a discount card, similar to a Kroger or Ingles card, which could be used at any participating Farragut business.

“There’s hardly a woman I know who doesn’t have one of those cards,” Dangel said.

Each store could have its own benefit that is recognized with the card, Treacy said. In other words, every business would not necessarily have the same benefit — say a 10 percent discount — but every business would have something.

“I think that could work,” Dangel said.

Purvis said participating businesses could post a sign or poster on their door so customers would know if the card were accepted at that business or not.

The card could be used year-round, not just during the holidays, Purvis added; and that needs to be a discussion all its own.

“We’re talking about driving the brand and bringing recognition to the brand here,” he said.


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