At 5:30 on Monday June 20th we packed our small conference room with members from State and local tourism, the department of education, hospitality, the arts center, downtown events and revitalization, and of course your team here at the chamber. For those of you who are unaware, the chamber works with the department of tourism and economic development. With all the new information and statistics we have been presented, a stronger more cohesive working relationship with tourism is in the best interest of our members and our community. The purpose of this gathering was strategic planning and collaboration to increase revenue from tourism. Sara “lastname” was our first speaker. She congratulated our town on climbing in the tourism rankings in the state of Tennessee. One of the factors in determining this ranking is specific to hospitality tax revenue reported. She elaborated on the wide array of resources and tools available through the state and how we can utilize them. She ended her presentation by highlighting that the discovery of unique local flavor is exactly what travelers are seeking such as locally owned eateries and locally owned shops. So if your grandmother or aunt has a hidden vault of family dishes it may be the time to get fitted for that apron. Have a niche concept for a consumer products that are uniquely local? Could be the time to take a stronger look at the viability of your concept as an actual brick and mortar business.
One of my primary focuses after being re-elected in 2012 was to find ways to spur organic economic growth in our community. I believe strongly that developing an economy starts at the level of spending and finding a way for our community to retain a higher percentage of that spending.
The math doesn’t lie; 45% of purchases made at locally owned businesses stay in the community. An additional 9% of that expense stays in our state. That 45% compares to around only 12% with large corporate stores.
Don’t get me wrong. We need both, but I was always puzzled at the effort to simply recruit large corporate stores rather than focusing our efforts on growing the metrics in our economy to support not only the local businesses we currently have, but potentially a company looking to move in or an entrepreneur looking to get a start.
To me, it just makes sense to build a strong economy on a foundation of passionate local business owners. If you do that you are able to focus on the quality of economic growth and the quality of life that comes with organic growth.
At the end of the day, we live in a analytical world. If you build a strong economy folks will want to be a part of that. The numbers are what they are, and it’s difficult to convince a business or business leader to open or move a business into an environment that does not support their effort.
This focus is starting to pay off. As the Chairman and five year member of the Tourism and Community Development Commission, I have played a critical role in shifting the focus on this organic economic development.
We have done this by creating a strategy that focuses on strengthening our current tax structures, primarily sales tax. We are doing this with programs like “Eat, Shop, Stay Manchester”, digital marketing, interstate billboard campaigns and by recruiting events to our community. We are still working on efforts to recruit even more events, invest into facilities and also notify the business community of potential surges in customers as a result of events.
Read the rest @: vote-french-2016 | Manchester’s Economy is Growing, FAST!
On June twenty first, two thousand two the landscape of our small town would be forever altered. On this day some of the most electrifying entertainers in the world would lead over 70,000 tourists into our city limits. This day marked the first official Bonnaroo festival. As with anything different, this event would create a whirlwind of emotions, commentary, and controversy worthy of a Hollywood plot.
Fiddlestyx ,Antiques & Art, has been doing business in Manchester since August 2011, first as Patch Manor & Friends on Ramsey Street, then reopening as Fiddlestyx in January 2015 at 121 East Main Street. Proprietors, Tom and Chloe Leet, have renovated the inside and outside of what used to be “The Brew.”