(NASHVILLE) – Today, State Senator Ken Yager (R-Kingston) announced that four communities in Senate District 12 – LaFollette/Jacksboro, Wartburg, Jamestown, and Spring City – will receive Retail Academy Grants from the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development (TNECD). The goal is to provide these cities with the resources and education necessary to enhance their retail landscape and improve their economy as a whole through the Retail Academy program that will take place on July 22, 2019, in Nashville.

“The Retail Academy is a great opportunity for these communities to learn best practices to attract new retailers and how to provide resources to support existing local businesses,” said Senator Yager. “This program will help boost the local economies and ultimately increase the overall quality of life for citizens of these communities.”

TNECD offered these grant opportunities to communities across the state with a population of less than 25,000 to help the selected communities increase revenue from retail. This grant application applies to one of three programs offered: Retail Academy 101 (101), Retail Academy 201 (201) and Retail Academy 301 (301). The courses build on each other, and 101 must be complete before qualifying for 201. Similarly, 201 must be completed before qualifying for 301.

LaFollette/Jacksboro will receive a grant to complete Retail Academy 101, a $10,000 value. Retail Academy 101 is a program developed from a leading national retail advisory firm, Retail Strategies. The program assists communities in strengthening their overall retail landscape. 

Wartburg will receive a grant to complete Retail Academy 201, a $5,000 value. This course will cater to specific property marketing. Retail Strategies will work with communities to identify the top three properties to market at conferences and in outreach efforts. 

Jamestown and Spring City will each receive a grant to complete Retail Academy 301, a $7,500 value. This program will focus on downtown retail development. It will use Facebook surveys to crowdsource local consumers’ opinions to help local leaders and retail real estate professionals understand what people want in their downtown areas. The insights collected from local shoppers help local leaders and retail real estate professionals lease, manage, and market a retail property more efficiently.

“Tennessee ECD is doing a great job to help rural communities spur economic development. I was glad to support the applications for this program, and I look forward to seeing the benefits that will result from the opportunity,” added Yager.

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