letters to the editor

Points of clarification

To the person who wrote in the Letter to the Editor that large businesses like Costco come to Farragut due to the $100k income families. I have no idea where you got your information, but I know firsthand that the truth is Costco was heavily recruited by the [Farragut Business Alliance]. Costco wanted to be more centrally located in Knoxville for greater exposure, but due to the hard work, financial and marketing expenditures and the concerted efforts of the FBA, Mayor and Town Administrator, Costco chose to locate in Farragut.

I know this because my husband was one of the FBA representatives that participated in the ongoing recruitment, so I saw and heard the struggles they had to overcome to get Costco here. The same goes for many other chain restaurants and stores that you now enjoy. You say you do not want your tax dollars to go to FBA for marketing or advertising, which means you are basically saying you do not want businesses in Farragut.

Currently, less than 2 percent of the town of Farragut’s budget is re-invested back into economic development activities (including the FBA). Without investment in marketing and advertising, businesses would not come here. Commercial recruitment is not a “Field of Dreams.” You don’t just “build it and they will come.” It is a highly competitive environment requiring long-term commitments. The bottom line is that you should be thanking the FBA, not criticizing them.

Along that same line, you seem to mistakenly believe that all of the Sales Tax dollars collected by Farragut businesses are spent by Farragut residents (or “your” tax dollars). In reality, an informal survey of some of the big box retailers — and even some of the small businesses — would educate you that only 20-30 percetn of their sales come from Farragut residents (and some of the biggest big boxes are less than that!). We are reliant upon attracting folks from outside of Farragut to support the numerous benefits our residents enjoy, which means we must market to them.

You say you support small businesses, but it does not appear so from your letter with support of large corporations like Kroger, Ingles and Costco. People forget that small businesses are the backbone of Farragut and every other city in the United States. Without their hard work, sacrifices (financial, physical and family time) you would not have your dry cleaners, family restaurants, dog groomers, hair stylists, manicurists, florists, private workout facilities and trainers, tutors, accountants, upholsterers, garden centers, gift shops … and the list goes on and on.

A recent example of how large corporations hurt small businesses is how quickly wine in grocery stores affected the small, locally-owned wine and spirits stores in the area. Most are feeling a 30 percent loss of business. The dollar amount might be minimal to large corporations, but it is devastating to a small business. Imagine losing 30 percent of your paycheck or retirement?

Apparently, you are not a small business owner, because if you were then you would know that these small businesses need the support and assistance that the FBA offers. The FBA helps with marketing, navigating compliance issues, liaisoning with the Town officials and staff, networking with other businesses (which is essential to a small business’s growth), basic business education issues, and many other critical tasks. It gives small business owners a chance to converse with other small business owners and provide them the support to solve issues and avoid potential obstacles. Without funding, the FBA would cease to exist, leaving a huge gap for small and large businesses alike.

The FBA has worked hard to build good relationships bet-ween townspeople and businesses by creating town activities, most of which actually cost the FBA money, such as Red, White & Blues; Farragut Food Festival, Art in the Park and Light the Park. These activities are a chance for businesses to showcase themselves and expose the townspeople to what wonderful opportunities we have in Farragut. Now, due to a lot of irresponsible misinformation and the resulting outcries from a small group of people, one of these activities has been lost because it cannot be afforded. So, many small businesses have lost a terrific opportunity to let people know what they have to offer and to showcase how special they are. Once again, I am sure the ones complaining (such as the writer of the Letter to the Editor) do not own, nor have ever owned, a small business, or they would certainly see how important these activities have been to the growth of Farragut; thus how important the FBA is to Farragut.

Yes, I am a small business owner and am proud of it. We have worked many years to build our business with long hours, neglect of family, the frequent lack of a paycheck, and many, many other sacrifices. In the past, when I, or others, have openly supported something or dared to disagree with a select, uninformed few, I have received threats and even lost business. But, I do feel that I must now speak up. However, once again, I do not see people making threats to certain large corporations when they support a political candidate through large donations and people disagree with their choice of candidate to support. I guess it is just easier to push the small guys around than the large guys, since the big guys are actually in a position to afford to sue over less than what’s been done to, and said about FBA and local small businesses as of late.

Please support small businesses. Shop local and give the FBA some credit for what they do for Farragut and its small retailers.

Robin Purvis