Andrew Moreau, November 21, 2021
Across Arkansas, it’s not uncommon for amateur anglers to hire guides who know the best fishing spots and supply all the materials needed to land a big catch.
Rural leaders in the state are doing much the same thing to attract retail businesses to their communities. The small cities are turning more and more to a Birmingham, Ala.-based firm to build marketing plans that are the bait they need to reel in retailers
The effort is gaining traction and has helped Newport persuade Cobblestone to build a 54-room hotel. Harrison attracted a Planet Fitness to fill an abandoned discount store. Paragould lured a Freddy Frozen Custard & Steakburger outlet to the site of a former funeral home.
On Nov. 2, the Arkansas Economic Development Commission coordinated a daylong Retail Academy session including city and economic development officials representing Corning, Mena, Prescott and Warren.
“We’re small-town America and we don’t have the financial or personnel resources to develop an economic development plan for our community,” said Mena Mayor Seth Smith. “This gave us a lot of information about what would be a good fit for our community and who we should approach. Before this, we didn’t know who to really call.”
“This gave us a lot of information about what would be a good fit for our community and who we should approach. Before this, we didn’t know who to really call.”Mena Mayor Seth Smith