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Several local communities to get "Retail 101" grants from state

Image via Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development

The Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development has announced 30 recipients of the Retail Academy Grant. The grant is designed to provide funding to communities to participate in two retail training programs.

Local recipients of the grants include Athens, Decatur, Dunlap, Jasper, Spring City, Tracy City and Whitwell.

The Retail Academy Grant fully pays for participation in the Retail Academy program in September of 2018. The goal is to provide cities and towns with the resources and education necessary to grow their retail, which will lead to higher sales tax and property tax collections for the communities. The Retail Academy, developed by leading national retail advisory firm Retail Strategies, educates communities on best practices to attract new retailers while providing resources to support and grow existing local businesses.

“We are excited to expand what has already been a successful program that equips communities with resources to grow existing businesses and attract new retail opportunities,” Assistant Commissioner of Community and Rural Development Amy New said. “With these tools, communities can tailor retail recruitment to meet local needs by creating jobs, strengthening the local economy and broadening the local tax base.”

The selected communities for Retail Academy 101 include:

  • Alamo
  • Bolivar
  • Decatur
  • Dunlap
  • Dyersburg
  • Greeneville
  • Henderson
  • Humboldt
  • Jasper
  • Loudon
  • McMinnville
  • Mosheim
  • Portland
  • Pulaski
  • Somerville
  • White Bluff

The selected communities for Retail Academy 201 include:

  • Athens
  • Erin
  • Erwin
  • Jamestown
  • Lexington
  • Maynardville
  • McKenzie
  • Mountain City
  • Ripley
  • Spring City
  • Tracy City
  • Tullahoma
  • Waynesboro
  • Whitwell

The Retail Academy 101 program is an introduction to retail recruitment for local leaders, and the Retail Academy 201 program offers advanced retail site selection training to communities who have completed the 101 program. TNECD supported communities completing the Retail Academy in 2016 with a pilot round in west Tennessee and with distressed communities from across the state in 2017. Since those academies, new retail establishments have opened in 41 percent of the participating communities with an estimated annual economic impact of $1.7 million in new local tax revenue.

To learn more about the Retail Academy and the Retail Academy grants, go here.

Each application was supported by the community’s senator and representative in the Tennessee General Assembly.

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