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Retail Development Scrutinized

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Though not renewing a contract with a retail development company, the Giles County Economic Development Commission does not plan to ignore retail development.

What the next step or steps are will be considered.

“We will decide that a future meeting, “ David Hamilton, Giles County Economic Development Director said, after the Nov. 16 meeting of the EDC.

On Nov. 16, a recommendation to end a three-year $100,000 contract with Retail Strategies, based in Birmingham, Ala., was made by .

Hamilton said the matter had been discussed by the EDC Executive Committee and said the motion was based on that discussion.

After coming to Pulaski to work for the EDC, Hamilton had urged the hiring of Retail Strategies.

“Retail Strategies is the most respected retail recruitment firm in the southeast U.S.,” he said, after the meeting.

“They represent many communities in Tennessee and the southeast U.S. TVA contracted with Retail Strategies to present their Retail Academy.

“I met Retail Strategies at TVA’s Retail Academy, and I have known the President of the company for 15 years. They have a strong reputation in the retail community.”

The company really tried, Hamilton said, but “there just isn’t a lot to promote.”

There are not a lot of sites suitable for development, he said.

“There needs to be $100,000 in sales taxes and revenues,” County Executive Graham Stowe said, referring to the size of the contract.

Later, he said he realized other factors also influenced the determination of benefits.

“There are other ways to do this,” said Pulaski City Manager Terry Harrison said, other than hiring a company like Retail Strategies.

Nothing will happen, if we don’t do anything, Pulaski Mayor Pat Ford said.

“It’s our information,” he said, suggesting contacting Retail Strategies to see about an agreement.

The impact of Industrial, commercial and population growth in North Alabama on retail development in border counties like Giles should also be considered, former Elkton Mayor Carolyn Thompson said.

Referring also to Lincoln County, Tenn., “what happens over there could spill over to our folks here,” she said.

Thompson is chairman of the EDC’s Workforce Development Committee.

Attracting more business to the county’s four exits and looking for ways to induce more development to the U.S. Highway 64 Bypass also were mentioned.

In other business:

• A transload facility in the Giles County is attracting a lot of interest, Hamilton said.

Patriot Rail has asked the City of Pulaski about buying land that could be built up in the 100-year flood plain for two more railroad spurs and warehouses.

The Industrial Development Board recently approved accepting 42 acres from the city, which would be sold to the rail facility with the proceeds going to the city.

• The latest jobless rate for Giles County, at the time of the EDC meeting was 2.9 percent, down from 3.4 percent, Hamilton said.

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