The Tullahoma Area Economic Development Corporation (TAEDC) voted Tuesday morning to renew its contract with national retail consultant firm Retail Strategies for a fourth term of service.
Working closely with city leaders and area developers, Birmingham, Alabama-based Retail Strategies LLC has been behind much of the retail growth in Tullahoma over the last several years, including the introduction of Buffalo Wild Wings, Ollie’s Bargain Outlet, ALDI, Planet Fitness and Publix Super Market to the city’s retail landscape.
The company is charged with identifying regional and national retailers whose location requirements might fit the area, contacting those retailers on the city’s behalf and professionally presenting the City of Tullahoma to them for consideration.
“We continue to enjoy our association with Retail Strategies as we work together to build and enjoy our strong retail base,” said TAEDC Executive Director Thom Robinson. “They provide us, with their access to companies, with contacts and exposure that we would otherwise find very difficult to achieve.”
In addition to that, Board Chairman Lynn Sebourn said, “they generate all sorts of very nice marketing materials and they are on the phone with [city leaders] every single month giving updates about specific properties and who they're talking to about them.”
The company also reaches out to numerous area property owners and brokers to help them market their local sites, added Community Coordinator Winston Brooks.
The renewed three-year contract will lock in the city’s current rate of $30,000 for services rendered, according to Robinson. The funds for the contract are included annually in the city’s budget and the cost is offset by increased sales tax revenues brought in by the businesses the company attracts.
“If you look at the sales tax trends, it's been going up now for at least seven or eight years,” said Brooks.
That statement is in line with information City Administrator Jennifer Moody presented to the Tullahoma Board of Mayor and Alderman during her April 22 budget preparation presentation. At that meeting, Moody noted the city has consistently seen an increase in sales tax collections since 2013, with figures growing by nearly $2 million in six years.
Moody largely credited those increased revenues to the addition of new major retailers like Publix to the city.
When setting expectations for the FY20 budget year, Moody noted that sales tax revenues are currently 4.2% above 2018 figures and could potentially exceed the city’s property tax revenues, which have historically been the city’s largest source of general revenue.
Voting to approve the contract renewal, board member David Bond said, “To me, it’s a no-brainer.”
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