Centre for Commerce to hold annual meeting

Published 9:09 pm Friday, February 2, 2018

By Adam Dodson | The Selma Times-Journal

The Selma and Dallas County Centre for Commerce will hold its annual meeting Thursday, Feb. 15 to plan out its desire for future growth as well as recognizing board and staff members.

Tickets for the reception and dinner are on sale now at the Centre and are $40 per person. The reception begins at 6 p.m., and dinner will be served at 7 p.m.

Officials from Selma and Valley Grande will be present for the event, which will also consist of investors interested in revitalizing areas in Dallas County.

Among the discussions at their annual get-together will be options of how to give the economy a boost and create interest in the area.

According to Wayne Vardaman, executive director of the Selma and Dallas County Economic Development Authority, much of the talk will be centered around bringing in retail to the area.

Vardaman believes that the Dallas County area needs to heighten its standard of living.

However, this cannot happen without a thought-out process.

“We want to focus on attracting retail to the area. We want to directly establish a retail presence here, which will indirectly increase jobs,” Vardaman said.

“We need to increase the quality of life to attract even more retailers.”

While the upcoming meeting provides an opportunity for different parties to get on the same page, the process is one that will take some time. As of right now, it would be a three-year process to bring in interested retailers.

The three years is part of a plan the EDA has shown interest in with NextSite, a Birmingham consulting group, which would see the parties enter a deal with $25,000 the first year that would likely be extended for the second and third year, totaling $75,000.

The first step of this process involved research and analysis of the retail potential.

The EDA board previously voted unanimously to contract with NextSite.

The guest speaker will be Doug Neil of Daniel Community Advisors, a NextSite strategic partner.

Much of the talk may be focused on how to improve the economy in Dallas County, but the achievements of the individuals that make up the Chamber for Commerce will be honored as well.

“We try not to focus on the negatives too much at this meeting,” Vardaman said. “We use the time to recognize our board members and staff and to talk about where we are and where we are going.”

The meeting will take place in the Selma Convention Center.