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FBA seeks to initiate ‘affinity’ card in Farragut

Farragut Business Alliance members, from left, Pamela Treacy of Campbell Station Wine & Spirits chats with BB&T bankers Carla Lyle and Ginny McLain-Tate during an afterhours meeting of the business group held at The Shrimp Dock in Farragut Tuesday, Nov. 9.- Heather Mays/farragutpress
Farragut businesses seem to be interested in an affinity card, if attendees of the Farragut Business Alliance’s latest meeting, Tuesday, Nov. 9, are any indication.

“We want to give people an incentive to shop in Farragut,” David Purvis, president of the FBA and owner of Farragut Wine & Spirits, said.

The affinity card would be similar to a Kroger card, but without a credit card stripe. Shoppers would simply show the card and receive a discount or other deal at participating businesses.

Those businesses would choose their own incentive for cardholders.

“It’s a little simpler than a Kroger card,” Purvis said.

“Everyone can do something different ... we all have different margins and need to make a profit,” he told a group that included retail, restaurant and liquor store owners.

A show of hands indicated that almost every one of the 20 or so people in The Shrimp Dock, where the meeting was held, would support a card.

But Purvis cautioned meeting attendees that the card would be used year-round, and that dozens of people could come in every day looking for discounts.

“You can’t just give money away. You have to make a profit,” Purvis said. He asked again for a show of hands for who would support a card that is used year-round.

The same smattering of hands went up.

Margaret Johns, a community activist, said the trade-off for year-round discounts would be increased traffic.

“Hopefully, we’ll grow this collectively,” Purvis agreed.

Jack Elliott of Elliott’s Boots, who is opening a new location in Farragut, said he thought the branding of “Shop Farragut” was a great idea, but questioned the target audience.

“I can’t imagine anyone in Farragut not shopping in Farragut. So what is the target?” he asked.

Purvis said the cards would be given to “Farragut community” residents, which would include areas surrounding Farragut’s actual town limits. The cards could be used at any business in Farragut’s 16-square mile boundaries — from big box stores to independently owned businesses.

He also said that encouraging Farragut residents to shop in Town was only the first goal of the project — creating a wider traffic base was second.

Purvis also asked if attendees would be willing to put money into the program, reminding them the FBA is a non-dues paying, entirely volunteer organization.

“There is a cost to doing this beyond marketing, which is the biggest cost,” Purvis said.

There would be a cost to producing the cards, handing out forms for businesses, producing posters to identify participating stores, for distributing the cards, for compiling a database and for maintaining a website list of participating businesses.

Most of the attendees indicated they would be willing to fund the project in some way.

Purvis said the funds also would come from its “funding partner,” the town of Farragut, and could be raised from the FBA’s yearly events, including Taste of Farragut and Red, White & Blues.

On another note, Purvis announced two new events planned for next year: an event during the Dogwood Arts Festival, and an Oktoberfest event.

He also announced the Business Alliance would soon have a website that would include a list of all member businesses, which could be searched by name and category (i.e. “The Shrimp Dock” or “restaurant”), and a community calendar of events.

For more information, e-mail the Business Alliance at


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