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Town aims to spur economic growth

The Farmville Town Council approved a memorandum of understanding with the Virginia Growth Alliance (VGA) during its Wednesday, Feb. 10 meeting that will allow the town to continue an agreement with Retail Strategies – the group that recently helped bring Starbucks, Hardee’s and Little Caesars to Farmville within the past three years.

The agreement is necessary after Prince Edward County decided to discontinue its relationship with the VGA which has the contract to work with Retail Strategies. Beth Moore, the Virginia portfolio director for Retail Strategies, presented the Town Council with an overview of the company’s strategy and how they could aid Farmville in continuing to bring retail growth to the area during the board’s Wednesday, Feb. 3, work session.

Mayor David Whitus had a list of prospects for Moore to go after.

“I’ve already circled on my list of prospects businesses we want next,” Whitus said during the worksession. “Publix is at the top of the list. We hear more about a grocery store than anything else. A Krispy Kreme doughnuts, an Olive Garden. We can keep going down our dream wish list.”

Moore said the relationship works best when the company and town works together to solve community needs.

“We do have a lot of things in the hopper and a lot of other interest beyond what I have mentioned,” Moore said at the end of her presentation. “Farmville is a wonderful, beautiful community that we really don’t want to lose traction on.”

Moore said it generally takes an average of 18 to 36 months to cement a deal on a new business coming to the area.

The cost to the town for the company’s services is $10,000 for the first year of the three-year contract and $13,333.33 for the final two years of the deal. Town Manager Dr. Scott Davis said the cost of the contract is worth it considering the meals taxes brought in by the businesses the company brings to the town.

“There are some businesses that the (Retail Strategies) payment for the year could be made with two months of meals tax,” Davis said.

Whitus said having a relationship with a company like Retail Strategies is the way attracting business to communities is done today.

“We can’t go out and knock on doors,” Whitus said. “It’s all pretty much done through operations like this. They have somebody helping them to identify properties and put deals together.”