Skip to Main Content


TNECD Retail Academy Grant

The Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development is offering a grant opportunity to communities across the State with a population of less than 25,000 to help the selected communities increase revenues from retail. This grant will fully fund qualified cities to complete the Retail Academy program on August 13 – 14, 2020 in Franklin. The goal is to provide these cities with the resources and education necessary to enhance their retail landscape and improve their economy as a whole. Retail Academy will educate communities on best practices to attract new retailers while providing resources support to existing local businesses. Retail Academy will empower these cities to increase their local sales and property tax collections as well as increase the overall quality of life. This grant application applies to one of three programs offered: Retail Academy 101 (101), Retail Academy 201 (201) and Retail Academy 301 (301).  The programs are described below. 

Applications for the Retail Academy are due Friday, April 24, 2020.

Retail Academy 101 ($10,000 Value)

Retail Academy 101 is a program developed from a leading national retail advisory firm, Retail Strategies. The program assists communities in strengthening their retail landscape. Communities will be trained and equipped with the tools and education necessary to attract new retailers to their markets, while providing support to their existing local businesses.

Cities Eligibile

Adamsville Etowah Milan Soddy-Daisy
Algood Fairview Millersville South Fulton
Bean Station Fayetteville Millington Thompson's Station
Burns Forest Hills Monterey Tusculum
Camden Gatlinburg Mount Juliet Waverly
Centerville Greenbrier Munford Westmoreland
Church Hill Greenfield Newbern White House
Clifton Harrogate Oliver Springs Whiteville
Collegedale Jonesborough Plainview  
Coopertown Lenoir City Red Bank  
Crossville Louisville Rogersville  
Dayton Lynchburg Savannah  
Decherd Madisonville Sevierville  
Dyer Manchester Sewanee  
Estill Springs Medina Signal Mountain  

Example Demographics

Peer Analysis
Mobile Tracking Data
GAP Analysis
Trade Area
Demographics Overview
Deal Making

Retail Recruitment Tools

Expert analysis
Customized Retail Marketing Guide
Aerial Map with Retailers Plotted
Elevator Pitch


Real Estate Industry Expert Speakers

Current Industry Trends
Site Selection 101
Retail Recruitment & Marketing
Public/Private Partnerships



Retail Brokers
Neighboring Communities


ICSC Overview

Regional Conference 


Retail Academy 201 ($5,000 Value)

Retail Academy 201 will cater to specific property marketing. It will also include a refresher course for all those who have already been through 101. Communities must go through Retail Academy 101 before they qualify for 201. (Communities who have already been through 101 and would like to repeat the course with updated demographic data can with approval from TNECD. Please contact us before submitting an application.) For those applying for 201, this does not include a new set of demographic data and marketing materials. The deliverables will be property specific.

Those communities that have learned about the retail real estate process and have realistic prospects to target from 101 will be interested in this program. Property marketing is the logical next step to maximize the exposure for communities and your sites. Retail Strategies will work with the community to identify the top three properties to market at conferences and in outreach efforts. We will develop the site-specific marketing flyers and teach community leaders how to talk about the properties when prospecting. The site-specific property marketing education and creation of materials will be coordinated in advance of the fall Retail Academy event.


Cities Eligibile

Atoka Huntsville Pikeville
Bells * Jasper Roane County
Bolivar Jellico Rutledge
Caryville Lafayette Selmer
Chapel Hill Linden Smithville
Clinton Livingston Sneedville
Collinwood Lobelville South Pittsburg
Decatur Loudon Sweetwater
Dickson Mosheim Tazewell
Halls Mount Carmel Tiptonville
Elizabethton Mount Pleasant Trenton*
Hartsville/Trousdale County New Tazwell Unicoi
Henderson Newport Union City
Hohenwald Oakland  White Bluff
Humboldt Oneida Winchester
Huntingdon Paris Woodbury
Parker Crossroads*    

*Pilot Program Communities can apply for 101 again or 201. Please talk to TNECD before submitting an application for 101.

Retail Academy 301 ($7,500 Value)

Retail Academy 301 will focus on downtown retail development. It will also include all new data research and marketing materials from the 101 course conducted. Communities must go through Retail Academy 101 and 201 before they qualify for 301. The course will use Facebook surveys to crowdsource local consumers’ opinions to help local leaders and retail real estate professionals understand what people want in their downtowns. The insights collected from local shoppers help local leaders and retail real estate professionals’ lease, manage, and market a retail property more efficiently.

Cities Eligibile

Alamo Maynardville
Brownsville McMinnville
Carthage Parsons
Covington Pegram
Dunlap Pleasant View
Dyersburg Somerville
Erin Sparta
Erwin Spencer
Gainesboro Trenton
Greeneville Tullahoma
Jefferson City Wartburg
Kingston Springs Whitwell

Retail Academy Event

All applicants should plan to attend Retail Academy in Franklin on August 13 - 14. 

The proposed agenda:

Thursday, August 13, 2020  
Arrive at hotel

1:00 PM CST

Retail Academy Event begins with concurrent sessions for 101, 201 and 301
 6:30 PM CST – 8:30 PM CST  Networking Reception with Retailors


Friday, August 14, 2020

8:00 AM CST Retail Academy Day 2 Begins
12:00 PM CST Retail Academy Concludes

Please save the date.

Communities will be responsible for covering hotel costs the evening of August 13th. There is hotel block information on the Retail Academy website.

Q1 (June – August (2020)

  • Attend ICSC TNKY Idea Exchange in July, (Louisville, KY) if budget allows
  • Attend Retail Academy in Franklin on August 13 - 14
  • Call local property owners / leasing agents and get site flyers; share with them your plans for retail recruitment so you can work in tandem with them
  • Create Property Catalog (this will evolve over time as properties are listed and sold)
  • Start contacting retailers from your retail prospect list
  • Provide relevant market data to local/downtown retailers

Q2 (September – December 2020)

  • Utilize “Peer Analysis” to identify retail concepts to add to your prospect list
  • Attend ICSC Southeastern Conference in October (Atlanta), if budget allows
  • Host workshop with local brokerage community and property owners to collaborate together and strengthen relationships
  • Continue to follow up with prospective retailers

Q3 (January – March 2021)

  • Have a call (or meeting) with property owners and local brokers to touch base and exchange updates
  • Follow up with interested retailers from the conference
  • Continue to follow up with prospective retailers

Q4 (April – May 2021)

  • Distribute survey to local retailers (“Mom & Pops”) to find out how the data is benefiting them
  • Continue to follow up with prospective retailers
  • Have a call (or meeting) with property owners and local brokers to touch base and exchange updates

Grant Details

Applications for the Retail Academy are due Friday, April 24, 2020.

The Academy is a two-day course that will provide training and materials directly related to your community and its retail prospects. Participants of the 201 and 301 program should also attend the course and should bring the data that was provided during the 101 training they attended.

2-3 community members who can devote time over the coming year to retail development and recruitment are required to attend the entire session. TNECD will approve the attendees; they should be from local government, chambers of commerce, real estate or other similar fields who are committed to working with retailers and property owners for the next year or more.

Each community will be required to submit a quarterly report and attend quarterly webinars for a year after the training to show compliance with the requirements listed above and to identify areas where additional training or assistance is needed.

Retail development is a long-term economic development strategy and will require a concerted effort over several years. This Academy will provide helpful tools, training and resources that will assist in your retail development efforts.