STAFF WRITER

Kelly Lapczynski

 

The Tullahoma Area Economic Development Corporation (TAEDC) voted Tuesday morning to renew its contract with national retail consultant Retail Strategies LLC for a third year of service.

“We have it in the budget and the (city) administration is very favorably so inclined,” said TAEDC Executive Director Thom Robinson.

Birmingham, Alabama-based Retail Strategies is behind much of the recent retail growth in Tullahoma, including the introduction of Buffalo Wild Wings, Ollie’s Bargain Outlet, ALDI and the recently announced Planet Fitness to the city’s retail landscape.

The Retail Strategies website claims that the Planet Fitness franchisee “would’ve never looked at Tullahoma without us.” In an interview concerning the health club’s entry into the Tullahoma market, franchisee Chris Cavolo confirmed that statement, saying he spent three years looking for a suitable site in Tullahoma after Retail Strategies first “pointed out what a great market it is.”

Where and when retailers decide to open stores is a lengthy analytics-based process, but Retail Strategies works on behalf of Tullahoma to make sure the city is presented to retailers for consideration.

TAEDC Chairman Lynn Sebourn commented on the value of the Retail Strategies services.

“We have been extremely impressed with the level of services that the company has provided over the last several years,” he said.  “Their expertise and knowledge of the retail industry has given us access to developers and companies that we would not otherwise have.”

Robinson echoed Sebourn’s praise.

“Having the Retail Strategies team working with us has been like having four extra staff people at a fraction of the cost,” he said. “In addition to reaching out to numerous property owners and brokers who represent sites in the local area to assist and help them market their sites, the company is constantly identifying and contacting regional and national retailers on our community’s behalf.”

“Our team works with their team to maintain a continuing prospect list of potential retailers whose requirements might fit with our community,” he said.  “We are beginning to see the visible fruits of our joint efforts over the past several years.”

Making the motion to approve the contract, board member David Bond said, “I think we’re getting our money’s worth there.”

The contract for the coming year is valued at $28,000 for services rendered.

The estimated economic impact of Planet Fitness alone, according to Retail Strategies, is between $10,000 and $40,000 in sales and use tax.

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