Jackson city officials are brainstorming ways to attract "big box" retailers to fill the shoes of those that are leaving.
Sam's Club plans to leave its north Jackson home and move to Madison next year. Haverty's Furniture has also announced it's closing its store of County Line Road too. Haverty's said it was unable to come to a lease agreement with property owners.
At Wednesday's economic development committee meeting, city officials said they learned both retailers were closing from the media.
Ward 1 Councilman Quentin Whitwell said he understands business decisions have to be made, but would've liked if the businesses had contacted the city first.
"We would like to try to see if we could help them," Whitwell said.
Mayor Harvey Johnson agreed.
"These business decisions do not include us. As a councilman was saying today, we're being left out of that. If we were notified earlier enough perhaps there would be something we could do in terms of incentives," Johnson said.
City leaders are concerned a sizable amount of tax dollars and jobs are leaving. Now, they're trying to find way to fill the city's surplus of available retail space.
"We have to go research companies, we have to go talk to companies, we have to really find out what is complementary with these companies interest and our interests," said Ward 2 Councilman Chokwe Lumumba.
There's also concern that Sam's Club moving to Madison could prevent the city from bringing in another wholesaler like Costco to occupy its building because it's a competitor.
"If they just leave the city of Jackson sitting there with a dilapidated empty property, we're going to have real problems with that," Whitwell said.
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