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EDC backs incentives for Tractor Supply

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Posted: Thursday, April 18, 2019 9:01 am

The Tractor Supply Company is on a roll in Bandera having opened a store here to big crowds and favorable reviews and having won the Bandera Economic Development Corp. backing for $37,500 in financial assistance over three years to help hire and train employees and assist in other local operations.

The EDC approved the incentives for the Brentwood, Tennessee-based rural lifestyle retailing giant at its Wednesday, April 10, board meeting as part of a performance agreement.

That agreement, which still needs to be reviewed in a public hearing and obtain Bandera City Council’s approval, requires the store to keep at least five full-time and five part-time employees on the payroll, to assure that 75 percent of those employees reside in Bandera County and that they get training and to meet revenue projections that would generate enough sales tax funds for the EDC to pay for almost all of the incentives promised the retailer.

Tom McEachin, who sits on the EDC board and also is a city council member, proposed the incentive package that finally won EDC approval.

He thought the package was a good move for the city because it helps bring a community-oriented company to town that will generate revenues and tax proceeds that will benefit the city a long while into the future.

It even contains a safety net that invalidates the incentive payment if Tractor Supply does not meet the revenue – and consequently the tax proceeds – targets it has set for the store.

Those targets foresee Tractor Supply generating about $12,000 a year in sales tax revenues for the EDC, based on the percentage of the sales tax revenues the EDC receives from the city.  That total is $500 a year less than the amount the EDC has committed to the store over the three-year lifetime of the agreement.

“I feel this company understands Bandera and has a history of being involved in the community, so I think the people will enjoy having them in town,” said McEachin.

His proposal, which died the first time it was recommended because no other board members would second it, was restated after it received further analysis and eventually won support from three other board members, Patricia Moore, Cindy Beckham and Cindy Harrington.

Beckham said she preferred that the EDC extend the incentive for only a year at a time rather than for three-years but felt the assistance could help Tractor Supply add more employees to their local payroll.   Overall, the proposal was “pretty reasonable” given the financial safeguards in the deal, Beckham said.

Board member Laura Devenport, however, opposed the agreement and said she senses the community is badly split on whether a big-box retailer like Tractor Supply is good for Bandera.

She also recalled that the city already had agreed to spend more than $200,000 to reimburse the developer of the tract off of Highway 173 South that includes the Tractor Supply for needed sewer upgrades and said the new incentives could send a message to other big-box retailers that they need to come to Bandera as well.

“I’m not sure that’s what we wanted,” said Devenport.  “I thought the money could be used in other areas for companies that could be more deserving.”

Officials said the money the city has allocated towards sewer system improvements benefitted the developer, not Tractor Supply, and company officials said they were not advised about that request for assistance until after it had been put into motion.

The improvements paid for by that allocation have become part of the city’s sewer infrastructure.

Tractor Supply officials said in a news release that they were excited to be part of the Bandera community, were appreciative of the support the company had received from City Council and the public and looked forward to a long-term relationship with Bandera.

The company initially had sought $50,000 in incentives from the EDC, but a Tractor Supply representative on hand for the vote on incentives last week did not object to the reduced amount of assistance.

Documents produced by the company as part of the performance agreement request said it had invested about $3.5 million in the new store and forecast about $3 million in net sales the first year, rising for nine years after that.

The store at 220 Highway 173 South just east of the Medina River has been crowded with shoppers since its soft opening in late March.

Tractor Supply held an official grand opening last weekend, and store Manager Veronica Shortt said she keeps hearing how happy people are that the store is now in Bandera.

“People tell me all the time ‘we really needed this’,” said Shortt.

The store currently employs six full-time and six part-time workers.  The manager said she hopes those numbers will grow, but he did not anticipate immediate changes.

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1 comment:

  • ATP posted at 12:25 pm on Wed, May 15, 2019.

    ATP Posts: 33

    1. Why would a "retailing giant" need money to train employees. Any decent company is going to provide job training to it's workers.

    2. Other big box stores do NOT need to come to Bandera. We're full.

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