VOL. 129 | NO. 173 | Friday, September 05, 2014
What Does Local Really Mean?
SHAWN MASSEY | Special to The Daily News
I make my living helping retail entrepreneurs, franchisees, national restaurants and retailers find the best home for their business in the Mid-South.
Over the past 11 years, I had the opportunity to work with several national branded franchise quick service restaurants, sometimes known in the industry as a “QSR” concept. Many of these franchises are owned by local Mid-South entrepreneurs.
After opening one particular location, I posted the opening on my Facebook page as I try to do with all my clients or any new retailer/restaurant investing in Memphis or in the Mid-South. I was blasted by a few people telling everyone (on my page) to avoid the restaurant as it is a national chain and to shop local.
I held back my comments beyond explaining that it is a franchise, the ownership group is from Memphis, and they provide jobs to 25 local people in an economy at that time when unemployment in the city was 11 percent.
In addition, they took a blighted vacant building and invested hundreds of thousands of dollars to renovate the building using a Memphis-area contractor and increased the property value and tax revenues to the city.
This restaurant group simply chose to purchase a successful national branded franchise that would help ensure a better chance of success. It just got me thinking, what does LOCAL really mean?
We have so many great national, regional and local restaurants/retailers that do business in Memphis and the Mid-South that instead of giving them a hard time doing business here, we should all be appreciative that they are choosing to invest in Memphis!
We could not support the continued economic development of our city based solely on businesses that are originally based or have been developed in Memphis. In addition, the presence of national and regional businesses in our community will not only improve our economic development situation but provide choices and jobs to all our residents in our community.
There is no great shopping street or district I know of in North America that does not have some national or regional presence. The only exception, maybe Granville Island in Vancouver.
So what does LOCAL really mean? In my opinion, it is those national, regional and local businesses (including retail stores and restaurants) that choose to employ local people, rent/own buildings in our cities and provide economic opportunity in our community that should be considered local.
Their presence will not keep you from shopping our locally developed businesses, but probably provide additional traffic to those local businesses who to choose to locate near the regional and national tenants.
I am thankful that communities around the globe have embraced FedEx knowing that it is based in Memphis. What if in the 1950s other communities had felt in a similar fashion about Holiday Inn, a national branded franchise based out of Memphis?
I know those smaller communities in the Mid-South are welcoming those national and regional retailers into their community as a way to improve the quality of life of their towns and to further economic development. Memphis should do the same as we need more economic development and opportunity.
I would say it is more important to our community long-term to shop at all of our stores/restaurants with a physical presence in Memphis or any of the Mid-South community, whether they are national, regional or local, than to order online, which is the real threat to our LOCAL retail industry.
Shawn Massey, CCIM, CRX, CLS, is a partner with The Shopping Center Group, a third-party retail real estate advisory firm in their Memphis office, an adjunct professor in the graduate real estate program at the University of Memphis and a co-founder and chairman of the board for the Memphis Business Academy charter schools (K-12) in the Frayser area of Memphis.