With several major developments underway or proposed, Lakeland wants to lure more big-name retailers and restaurants.
On Thursday, Nov. 4, the Board of Commissioners unanimously approved hiring Birmingham, Alabama-based Retail Strategies to help entice national retailers to the city.
The retail recruiter question arose on Oct. 28 when the Lakeland Economic Development Commission recommended the hire to the BOC after hearing presentations from several recruiters.
Addressing the BOC last week, EDC Chairman Steve Laster noted the importance of bringing in a recruiter now that things are progressing with the Memphis Regional Megasite a short distance east in Haywood County.
Retail Strategies will provide the city with monthly research and analysis.
“They’re very in tune to what’s going on in our region, and we were very impressed overall with their philosophy and strategy to really try to help us build out from a retail standpoint what Lakeland could potentially look like,” City Manager Shane Horn said.
Part of the three-year, $140,000 agreement calls for Retail Strategies to contact 30 retailers, brokers and developers about Lakeland. The city, which will partner with the Lakeland Area Chamber of Commerce on the first-year $50,000 cost, can withdraw from the agreement at any time.
“I think one thing that Retail Strategies will help us with is to put us on the map and market us to regional and national brands that have a hard time understanding Lakeland,” Commissioner Wesley Wright said.