The Northwest Arkansas Economic Development District (NWAEDD) was recently awarded a Rural Business Development Grant from USDA-Rural Development.  Through this grant, NWAEDD will partner with Retail Strategies, LLC to offer the Retail Academy course to six communities across Northwest Arkansas.  Developed by Retail Strategies, Retail Academy educates communities on best practices to attract new retail and restaurants while providing resources to support and grow existing local businesses. The event will kick-off virtually on October 6th, 2020, and the course work will take place over the next year.  The six communities that will be participating include:  Elkins, Eureka Springs, Harrison, Marshall, Mountain Home, and Pea Ridge.

Joe Willis, Executive Director for NWAEDD, said “We are constantly looking for new opportunities for our members, and we couldn’t be more excited about the possibilities this partnership will bring to our region.”  Willis went on to say that “The Retail Academy program is exactly the kind of resource our rural communities need to help jump start economic growth.”

NWAEDD has been very pleased to collaborate with the USDA-Rural Development to make this a reality for the region.  David L. Branscum, the USDA-Rural Development State Director of Arkansas  said “Under the leadership of President Trump and Agriculture Secretary Perdue, USDA is a strong partner to rural communities, because we know that when rural America thrives, all of America thrives.”

“Retail Academy’s mission is to empower and educate community leaders, so they are able to approach retail and real estate professionals in a smart way,” said Matt Petro, chief development officer at Retail Strategies. “We are excited to partner with NWAEDD to bring Retail Academy to their region, providing them with the tools their communities need to begin a comprehensive retail recruitment strategy.”

About Retail Academy

Retail Academy is a program developed from the leading national retail advisory firm, Retail Strategies. The program assists communities in strengthening their retail landscape. Communities will be trained and equipped with the tools and education necessary to attract new retailers to their markets, while providing support to their existing local businesses.