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City officials dive into ‘Retail Strategies’

Posted on Wednesday, February 28, 2024 at 7:50 am

The City of Shelbyville is experiencing fast-paced growth, but millions in potential revenue are spent outside of the city’s designated trade area.

City manager Scott Collins, City Recorder Lisa Smith, and City Planner Tom Batchelor traveled to Birmingham, Ala., for the Retail Strategies Retail Academy, an intensive one-day educational course.

“They cram so much information into the training,” Collins said. “They ask you to critique it and grade it and I told them this needs to be longer.

“Retail Strategies has a ton of people it works with. It was so exciting. It was hard to take it all in.”

Collins, Batchelor, and Smith are meeting weekly to discuss retail possibilities. They were given a handbook filled with detailed graphs, maps, and potential candidates for retail recruitment as well as a drive packed with even more information.

“The biggest thing we learned is Shelbyville is rich in opportunities for retail development,” Collins said. “Companies are expanding now. We are very confident as we moved forward.

“We don’t need to lose our motivation and enthusiasm. We have an opportunity right now. We need to take maximum advantage of it. What is exciting about it is we can bring other staff members to the table who have so much to offer.”

The program helps cities develop plans for retail growth by equipping community leaders with essential skills for enhancing retail recruitment efforts.

“This is one part of $25,000 the City Council approved for economic development,” Collins said. “This is going to help us move forward in recruiting and initiating contact with retail prospects. Retail Strategies will help guide us in how to approach these retail prospects that have been identified.”

Collins said by participating in the Retail Academy program, the city is taking a proactive step towards creating a thriving retail environment.

“We have some key components like Walmart, Kroger, and Chick-Fil-A,” Collins said. “Everything centers around Walmart. Retail Strategies was impressed with what we already have in Shelbyville.

“The detail in the handbook is phenomenal. They have outlined who we need to recruit. We just need to fill in some gaps.”

The market guide for Shelbyville is based on a “custom trade area” developed by the Academy centered on those within a 15-minute ride, 10-minute ride and 5-minute ride to downtown. It also included the population in a 3-mile, 5-mile and 10-mile radius surrounding Shelbyville.

According to the market guide in this “custom trade area”, the area loses annually $116,868,437 in money spent out the area at food and beverage stores, $67,677,991 at gasoline stations, $64,449,337 at general merchandise stores, $45,209, 194 at food service and drinking places, $29,247,028 at clothing and cloth accessories stores and $18,694,594 in furniture and home furnishing stores.

“We are losing big time with food markets,” Collins said. “With all of the grocery stores we have here, that really shocked me.”

The participants learned tactics for developing and expanding retail in Shelbyville. Under the guidance of retail real estate industry experts, the program will provide valuable education to local leaders.

“Becoming more educated in retail recruitment is a significant step forward for our community, and we anticipate its positive impact on Shelbyville,” Shelbyville Mayor Randy Carroll said. “We’ve see what Retail Strategies has been able to do for other communities in this region of Tennessee, so implementing a similar strategy for Shelbyville is a great way to start the year.”