FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA) — The City of Fayetteville is pushing for the best of the best retailers, restaurants, and hotels to come to its city.
A new job position is dedicated to recruiting these businesses.
Chung Tan is the new Business Development Manager for the city’s Department of Economic Vitality.
The new position is all about staying ahead when it comes to bringing in both mom-and-pop shops and chain stores.
“It could be an E-commerce person working out of the home and trying to sell products online….to as big as a big chain restaurant or retailer looking at 20,000 or a 30,000 square feet retail store,” Tan said.
But it’s also about helping current business owners expand or visit new ideas on how to bring customers in the doors, like Juice Palm, which Tan helped expand to Dickson Street.
“First Omar wanted to do one first, and then after that he decided to do two, and then go up north and do another one,” Tan said.
Growth is what Lama Thinley has witnessed over the past ten years owning the Himalayan Mountain Shop on the Fayetteville square.
He’s excited by how it’s transforming the area, while also keeping its small town feel.
“Many customers come in to us from Oklahoma, and Dallas, and here, too,” Thinley said. “I opened my shop then many shops opened, too.”
Now it’s up to Tan to make sure the cream of the crop are coming to northwest Arkansas.
“Instead of hoping, we wanted to be proactive — go out and see if we could convince them to come to Fayetteville,” says Devin Howland, Director of Economic Vitality.
Tan adds, “we have more than 20 projects that Devin passed over to me and said now it’s yours.”
She couldn’t say much about the projects, but says a survey will likely be sent out asking for input about what retailers people would like to see open in Fayetteville.
Tan is an Economic Development Finance Professional.
It’s a title that only 10 to 14 people hold in the state because of it’s rigorous training.
“This is intense classes that we attend. You must have at least four years in practical training as an economic developer, before they even allow you to sit for the test. The passing rate is 28 to 30 percent,” Tan said.