FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Michelle Moultrie
BIRMINGHAM, AL (August 11, 2020) – The Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development (TNECD) has partnered with Retail Strategies, LLC to offer Retail Academy to 29 communities from across Tennessee.
The Retail Academy program is designed to educate city leaders on retail and business recruitment, real estate, and small business support. Retail Academy is made possible to cities that are awarded a grant through TNECD and USDA. For the first time ever, the event will be held virtually August 13-14.
As communities continue to combat the coronavirus pandemic, retail and small businesses will need additional support, and communities will be called on to help those businesses. We are pleased to provide the Retail Academy program for Tennessee communities. This program can help communities identify where their sales tax revenues have fallen and develop strategies to help their retail businesses recover. Over the last four years, we have seen our communities successfully implement retail recruitment strategies, and I’m confident this can help our communities as they retail world experiences vast changes from COVID-19.SAMMIE ARNOLD, ASSISTANT COMMISSIONER OF COMMUNITY AND RURAL DEVELOPMENT, TNECD
Eighty-eight Tennessee communities have gone through the program since the Retail Academy and TNECD partnership began. Since the Retail Academy program started, the expected economic impact has created 112 new businesses, approximately 1,634 jobs, $5M in local tax revenue, and $17.4M in state tax revenue.
The grants awarded by TNECD and USDA fully funded communities’ participation in Retail Academy. Developed by Retail Strategies, Retail Academy educates communities on best practices to attract new retail and restaurants while providing resources to support and grow existing local businesses.
“We are honored to continue this program with TNECD and the USDA and recognize the importance of city leaders focusing on growing the business base in their communities, as well as focusing on helping small businesses that have been affected by the pandemic,” said Lacy Beasley, president of Retail Strategies. “When we started this program in 2015, it was designed for rural communities to invest in retail as a catalyst for economic development throughout the state. We couldn’t be more excited to be the partner for so many communities across the state of Tennessee through this event.”
The Retail 101 course is an introduction to retail recruitment. Eight communities will complete the introductory program: Centerville, Fayetteville, Harrogate, Medina, Rogersville, Sewanee, Unicoi, Waverly, and White House.
The Retail Academy 201 course is a deep dive into real estate and potential commercial development within each community. Atoka, Bells, Hartsville, Humboldt, Paris, Roane County, Sweetwater, and Union City will participate in the intermediate course.
Retail Academy 301 focuses on downtown and small business support. Participating communities are Alamo, Brownsville, Covington, Dunlap, Dyersburg, Gainesboro, Greeneville, Lewisburg, and Sparta.
New this year, TNECD is launching a Distressed Community Pilot Initiative in partnership with Retail Strategies. The pilot initiative will allow communities who have been through all three phases of the Retail Academy program to continue engagement with Retail Strategies’ team of professional retail consultants for further, in-depth, retail recruitment services. Jamestown, Tracy City, and Waynesboro make up the small community initiative; Ripley was chosen for the medium-sized initiative; and Cocke County was awarded funds for the county initiative in commercial development.
About the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development
The Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development’s mission is to develop strategies that help make Tennessee the No. 1 location in the Southeast for high quality jobs. To grow and strengthen Tennessee, the department seeks to attract new corporate investment to the state and works with Tennessee companies to facilitate expansion and economic growth.
About Retail Academy
Retail Academy is a program developed from a leading national retail advisory firm, Retail Strategies. The program assists communities in strengthening their retail landscape. Communities will be trained and equipped with the tools and education necessary to attract new retailers to their markets, while providing support to their existing local businesses. In 2016 Tennessee Development Districts won a National Innovation Award at the 49th Annual National Association of Development Organizations Conference in San Antonio for launching Retail Academy.
RETAIL ACADEMY 2020 PARTICIPANTS