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Small West Tennessee towns see wave of new businesses. What’s coming and what’s next?

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Small West Tennessee towns see wave of new businesses. What’s coming and what’s next?

Omer Yusuf

Memphis Commercial Appeal

Captain D’s and Chick-fil-A are soon coming to Oakland in Fayette County, according to officials there — just one of the many signs the town has become more desirable to national chains.

The same applies to Arlington as Whataburger and Starbucks — among others — will soon call the Shelby County suburb home.

And this could be just the beginning for not only for Oakland and Arlington but also other West Tennessee towns that have been overlooked in the past.

The reason those areas are drawing more interest is partly due to the ongoing excitement and enthusiasm surrounding Ford’s BlueOval City in Stanton. While the project will bring thousands of new jobs to the region, it also means more interest from potential national or regional retailers, fast food establishments and businesses.

Oakland, Tenn. Mayor Mike Brown outside of their city hall on Wednesday, March 2, 2022.

“We’re seeing a lot of small businesses, restaurants, coming in,” Oakland Mayor Mike Brown said. “We had Captain D’s announce, Chick-fil-A, we’re starting to get things attracted by growth that are coming in.”

The anticipated population growth in the counties surrounding BlueOval City is expected to amplify this interest throughout West Tennessee for years to come.

Oakland is already changing

Oakland’s estimated population is about 10,500, according to Brown. That’s rapid growth considering the town had fewer than 1,000 people just a little more than two decades ago.

Oakland Town Manager Jay Johnson said that’s partly why the town’s growth is not all tied directly  to BlueOval City.

Brown said in the past it was usually “just mom-and-pop businesses” giving Oakland a look but now it’s also regional and national chains, particularly since Ford and SK On announced BlueOval City.

“Things like that are part of the growth process,” he said. “It helps us. It motivates us to keep doing the things we were trying to do.”

Johnson also confirmed Scooter’s Coffee, a coffee shop chain, plans to eventually open a location in Oakland, and he said as Oakland adds more rooftops, more businesses will follow.

Scooter's Coffee is planning to open a location in Oakland, town officials said.

Businesses show more interest in West Tennessee post-BlueOval City

Shawn Massey of The Shopping Center Group drove 400 miles throughout West Tennessee recently looking for possible locations for retailers and businesses. He noticed the uptick in interest from retailers and businesses, especially in towns within 30 miles of BlueOval City.

Full Commercial Appeal Article Here

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