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Downtown development group wants to bring more businesses to Tucker

Business Tucker

Downtown development group wants to bring more businesses to Tucker

FILE PHOTO USED FOR ILLUSTRATION PURPOSES. Staff members draw draft beers for customers during Tucktoberfest 2020 at Tucker Brewing Company on September 19. Tucker Brewing Company is one of the many businesses located in Tucker, GA. Photo by Dean Hesse.

Tucker, GA — Opportunities abound for businesses in Tucker to start up, relocate, and expand according to economic development experts who spoke at Monday’s Downtown Development Authority (DDA) meeting.

John VanBrunt, economic development field representative at Georgia Department of Community Affairs, said a state revolving loan program assists cities in the revitalization of downtown areas by providing below-market rate financing.

DDA wants downtown businesses to take advantage of the state’s Downtown Development Revolving Loan Fund to enhance Main Street, in addition to alleyway and streetscapes projects.

The loan is applicable for up to $250,000 from DCA, at 3 percent simple interest for 15 years. Funds can be used for real estate acquisition, development, redevelopment, new construction, or equipment.

Wild Heaven Beer took advantage of a DCA revolving loan in 2018 when Avondale Estates revamped the town’s main street area.

With the aid of NextSite, a commercial development recruiter, DDA is gaining information about consumers who pass through the city – specifically, at Lawrenceville Highway and Jimmy Carter Boulevard where it becomes Mountain Industrial Boulevard, as well as Hugh Howell Road at Mountain Industrial Boulevard.

By studying traffic patterns, NextSite CEO Chuck Branch said he can track 60 places a consumer visited before and after passing specific locations in the corridor. It’s called a consumer traffic pattern.

“It allows us to start seeing where they are stopping before and after this major intersection,” said Branch. “This data can be used to pinpoint their social media campaigns. More importantly, we can now quantify the number customers and what zip codes their coming through.”

DDA asked Branch to create data about the average person driving through Tucker, like income and age, to identify what drives people to stop and spend money.

Branch said fast-casual dining like Zoes Kitchen and bargain retail stores like Old Navy and ULTA are good options for the city.

He added, “I grew up in a community similar to Tucker. I live in a community that’s similar to Tucker. I know that at the end of the day Tucker wants to grow, but grow smart … I can assure you we will not be involved in anything that denigrates the city of Tucker.”

In other news:

– DDA unanimously approved the proposal for $7,849 for Center of Economic Development research study with Georgia Tech.

– Tucker received $4.1 million in CARES Act funding, and small businesses can begin applying for funds later this month. Assistant City Manager John McHenry said the city is mailing 20,000 postcards this week to kick off communication. “We are excited that we have this opportunity all these dollars to spend here in Tucker, and we definitely want to make sure we get this information out to our businesses. Council is particularly interested in helping small businesses and for keeping people employed,” said McHenry, noting the money must be spent by the end of December.

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