Four Farragut business representatives voiced their support of Shop Farragut/Farragut Business Alliance and its executive director Steve Krempasky during Farragut Board of Mayor and Aldermen’s citizens comments portion of its meeting Thursday, April 27.
During a BOMA workshop, which occurred before the regular meeting, FBA chair Candace Viox, Water Into Wine bistro & lounge owner, described what FBA does for the community and its role.
While no action was taken, Vice Mayor Louise Povlin said she wanted to see the funding defined between community events and Shop Farragut events.
“We couldn’t do what we do for our small businesses without Steve, and that’s why I reached out to several of our small business partners in the area,” Viox said. “The events are vital to our marketing.
“A lot of our mom and pops, the jewelry makers, the people who make candles in their basements, the bakers that make cookies, they don’t have large budgets,” she added. “They can’t afford to go to Rossini Festival and spend $1,000 for a weekend at an event.”
However, Viox said they can come to a Shop Farragut event and “be able to reach people from our neighborhood: the Hardin Valley and the Choto areas.
“I just want to make sure Farragut Business Alliance continues to get funding because our businesses need it,” she added.
“I’m here to advocate for Steve Krempasky and the Faragut Business Alliance,” said Cheri Inveld, co-owner of Euphoric Cheese Shop and soon-to-open Sparrow Wine Bar. “Steve was one of the first people affiliated with the Town to come welcome us to the community when we were under construction, approximately two-and-a-half years ago.
“It was this sense of community and friendship that attracted us to locate our business here in Farragut in the first place,” she added.
Additionally, “the events of the Farragut Business Alliance are a great way for Farragut citizens to gather, connect and make memories,” Inveld said. “I’m afraid if Steve’s position goes away, so will some of these opportunities that strengthen our community.”
Krempasky “is the one who asked me to come and be part of the board of Farragut Business Alliance,” said Debby Funk, owner of Embroidery Boutique by Designs for You and Funky’s Meat Snacks. “He always supports my businesses and what I do, but I wanted to state I’m on the side of the business that a lot of my business is not in Farragut.
“My actual business is in Farragut, but I bring a lot of outside businesses to Farragut,” she added. “So, when we have these events and things, I personally feel that we should not be alienating outside businesses because, for me, it helps my business to be able to have these outside companies come to these events and support us.
“I hope what you heard me say, what I’m trying to do is delineate out Shop Farragut and our community events,” Vice Mayor Louise Povlin said. “Our community events are of value, but …they’re not necessarily tied to just Farragut.
“In my mind it’s a funding issue,” she added. “It shouldn’t matter to you what bucket it comes from, (but) to me it matters because I’m approving a budget and it has to make sense.”
With the Shop Farragut funds, “we have to show some value of that, separate from the community events, which also have value but in a different way,” Povlin said.
Michelle Austin, JCPenney general manager, also publically supported FBA, but as a large business representative.
“This is my fifth JCPenney’s that I’ve been in,” she said. “Steve greeted me, probably in the first six months of my coming to that store, and I knew at that moment that he felt all the businesses were part of the community, whether we’re large or small, and I appreciated that.”
As part of a corporate business, Austin said she tries to get back to the grass roots and be part of community events.
“I appreciate FBA because I feel like it really helps all the businesses feel (like they are part of the community) whether they are big or small,” she said.
Being involved in the community, “We have been big supporters of Steve and Shop Farragut when it comes to these events because it’s a way for us to meet potential customers,” The Knox Fox Real Estate Group co-owner Eric Whitener said of himself and wife, Teri Jo Fox. “It’s a way for us to grow our business and grow our brand in a way we wouldn’t be able to do otherwise.
“I’d never be able to have an event in my parking lot because it doesn’t have the ability; I don’t have the budget,” he added. “So, being able to piggy back on these (FBA) things is an important thing for us.
“Another thing for us to consider, too, is what it means to the community — the ability to bring people together and bring businesses. ... I do think these are good opportunities for businesses who want to come to Farragut to get the exposure they need.”