Entrepreneurs see potential in McNairy County economy
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SELMER, Tenn. — in just 18 months, McNairy County has seen 45 new businesses open their doors. Saturday the McNairy Regional Alliance celebrated 5 of those opening up with ribbon cuttings throughout the downtown area. “We have really needed businesses back in the county,” owner of Sew Southern Holly Stackhouse said. To get to that point, it takes a passion, seeing a potential, and a little community pride. “I love going through my town and seeing people going from store to store to store,” Russell Ingle, Director of Chamber Programs said. Green ribbons on storefronts represent 5 grand openings in downtown Selmer. “If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself,” Selmer Mayor John Smith said. County leaders said the process has been a community effort. “We’re really proud of the people that have stepped up and invested their money and time and talent into growing McNairy County’s economy,” Ted Moore, Executive Director of the McNairy Regional Alliance said. Whether you’re “Sew Southern” or have a “Southern Sole”, new business owners are up for a new challenge. “This is a brand new endeavor,” owner of Southern Sole Sallie Bodiford said. Some of these entrepreneurs are just out of college like Kenzi Smith, putting her business degree to use by starting up a boutique. “I thought it’d be a good idea to give people something to do here,” Smith said. Others are making strides to start a family tradition. “I want to make it a generational thing, and someday give something for my kids to want to do someday,” Bodiford explained. These entrepreneurs say these new shops make it more attractive to go downtown. in 2009, McNairy’s County’s unemployment rate reached 16%. In the last 6 years, it’s decreased to 9%. The county was also most recently recognized as having the highest improvement in their unemployment rate in the state of Tennessee.