They accepted the award at the 49th Annual National Association of Development Organizations Conference in San Antonio, Texas.
Thirteen rural communities in West Tennessee participated in Retail Academy this past June, with financial assistance from SWTDD, NWTDD, West Tennessee Industrial Association, USDA Rural Development, and Tennessee Economic and Community Development (TECD).
Each of these communities received custom market data, marketing materials, a retail prospect list, an annual membership to International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC). Additionally, the Retail Academy workshop educated and prepared them on the Retail Industry, and how to implement a recruitment strategy.
All of the participating communities attended the ICSC Tennessee/Kentucky Deal Making Conference in Nashville this past August, where they pitched their markets to retailers, developers, and tenant rep brokers.
Since the Pilot Program was so successful in West Tennessee, TECD is planning to provide financial assistance to the Tier 4 Distressed Communities statewide in FY2017. The Governor’s Rural Development Task Force released their final report this month, which stated that they are requesting $300,000 from the Community Development Block Grant fund to accomplish this goal. They will partner with USDA Rural Development for additional funds to assist more communities who want to participate in Retail Academy.
“It is truly an honor to work with such forward-thinking people who understand that retail development is the main source of economic development in Rural America. West Tennessee has been a catalyst in this arena, and I look forward to seeing the fruit of their labor in months and years to come.”
~ Laura Hudson, Vice President of Retail Academy