Press Release

Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development Partners to Host 4th Annual Tennessee Retail Academy

TN Economic and community development retail academy


CONTACT: Madeline Farr
Retail Strategies

NASHVILLE, TN (August 21, 2019) – For the fourth year in a row, Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development (TNECD) has partnered with Retail Strategies to offer Retail Academy to cities across the state. The Tennessee Retail Academy empowers communities with data, education and tools to market themselves to retail real estate professionals. Retail Academy is made possible to cities that are awarded a grant through TNECD and USDA.  

We are excited to build on an extremely successful program for our Tennessee communities. Using the tools Retail Academy provides to participants, they can create a retail recruitment strategy and strengthen the local economy by creating new jobs and broadening the local tax base.


“We look forward to working with the Retail Strategies team to amplify our message of opportunity to bring new business to our community. Our goal is to provide growth in the city for new businesses, while at the same time strengthening the foundation of our existing local retailers. This year we were able to broaden the education by offering more advanced education involving strategies for downtowns, and digging deeper into real estate specific curriculum,” continued Carlton.

Since the Retail Academy and TNECD partnership began a total of 88 communities have been through the program. The estimated economic impact for 2019 has created 74 new businesses, 1,016 jobs, $4M in new local tax revenue, and a total of $14.2M in total tax local and state revenue.

“We’re in charge of economic development in the rural areas in the great state of Tennessee, and a lot of rural communities feel frustrated that retail is going to larger cities in the state,” said Jim Tracy, USDA State Director for Tennessee.  “I want them to realize they have an opportunity to recruit retail to their community and it is doable; and through Retail Academy they see that they really can. Anything we can do to improve the economic status of rural communities is what we’re trying to do, and retail is part of that.”

The grants awarded by TNECD and USDA fully funded communities’ participation in the Retail Academy. Developed by Retail Strategies, Retail Academy, educates communities on best practices to attract new retailer and restaurant businesses while providing resources to support and grow existing local businesses.

Retail Strategies is a national firm, and we applaud the progressive and impactful focus the State of Tennessee Department of Community and Economic Development has placed on investing in retail as a catalyst for economic development in rural communities.  This program is designed to demystify the retail recruitment process so communities can approach prospects with confidence.


President of Retail Strategies, Lacy Beasley, said “TNECD and USDA maintain a long-term vision and annual investment allowing the communities to advance from Retail Academy 101 to 201 and 301.  Each level builds on the previous year. We are honored to be a participant in the successful recruitment efforts the communities of Tennessee have implemented bringing over a thousand jobs and fourteen million dollars of new tax revenue.  For every dollar invested, an estimated thirteen dollars in impact has benefited local, rural Tennessee communities.”

About the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development

The Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development’s mission is to develop strategies that help make Tennessee the No. 1 location in the Southeast for high quality jobs. To grow and strengthen Tennessee, the department seeks to attract new corporate investment to the state and works with Tennessee companies to facilitate expansion and economic growth.

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About Retail Academy

Retail Academy is a program developed from a leading national retail advisory firm, Retail Strategies. The program assists communities in strengthening their retail landscape. Communities will be trained and equipped with the tools and education necessary to attract new retailers to their markets, while providing support to their existing local businesses. In 2016 Tennessee Development Districts won a National Innovation Awardat the 49th Annual National Association of Development Organizations Conference in San Antonio for launching Retail Academy.

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