Rural can provide great shopping experience at a good value

An article in today’s The New York Times, “But Will It Make You Happy?“, provides a lot of ideas on rural tourism and rural retail, even though that isn’t even the main point of the article. Spending less and spending smarter, however, are components that fit in line with rural tourism and rural retail. The author writes about Wal-Mart and other retailers responding to the recession and less consumer spending by focusing less on selling stuff and more on selling experiences. That is what rural retail should be great at… selling experiences. Yes, stuff is part of that, but rural businesses can provide a nice cheap excursion, great customer service and some unique stuff. Whether by choice or necessity, consumers are seeking more value and a better, more fulfilling shopping experience. Rural areas like Centerville, Bon Aqua, Lyles and the rest of Hickman County can offer that experience… we just need to work to keep it and to continually improve it.

Now, some people who have lived in Hickman County a while might long for shopping malls and lifestyle centers and power centers that follow population density. No doubt that is a shopping experience, but the same one you’d find in Nashville or Jackson or Atlanta or Dallas or any other city. The funny thing is there are people who would love to go to a real hardware store like the one on Hwy 46 in Bon Aqua or Prince’s in Centerville or shop at a real farm and feed store like the Co-op or the Bliss’s place off the square. Or, they’d love to go into Centerville Marketplace where Korie knows the person who supplies her stuff and if she doesn’t have what you want, she can send you to Remember When a few stores down. There are still lots more shops and restaurants, no two the same – all with a unique personality.

About Daryl Phillips, CEcD

I am a professional economic developer. I presently work for communities and companies in developing and implementing workforce and economic development solutions as CEO of Phillips Economic Development Solutions (Phi EDS). Prior to September 2017, I was the economic development professional who served a community team of elected officials, business people, community leaders and dedicated stakeholders for economic development in Cheatham County, Tennessee (pop. 39,880) and its four towns. During my five-year tenure, I served the team as Cheatham County grew over 1,700 jobs, turned around population declines at the start of this decade into healthy population growth, increased tourism expenditures 20.3% and local tax revenue from tourism 25.4%, grew sales tax revenue 36%, focused on developing the local workforce and was recognized by SmartAsset as having the 9th highest Incoming Investment Index of all the 95 counties in Tennessee. I am a member of International Economic Development Council, Southern Economic Development Council, Tennessee Economic Development Council and International Council of Shopping Centers. I have earned the designation of Certified Economic Developer (CEcD) from International Economic Development Council (IEDC), the Economic Development Finance Professional (EDFP) certification from National Development Council and hold a Master of Business Administration from Tennessee Technological University.
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