Sarah Haston, Lebanon economic developer director, said the city met with 17 different business groups last week in Las Vegas during RECon, the annual global conference sponsored by the International Council of Shopping Centers.
“The appointments included fast casual restaurants, grocery, hotels, sit-down restaurants, furniture stores and more. It was a really great convention,” Haston said.
Haston said the city met with about 30 different prospects last year, but success from that convention and a more focused approach decreased the number this year.
“Last year, we were just wanting to meet with anybody we could. This year, we knew what we wanted to attract and areas we wanted to focus on,” she said.
Haston said some of the focus included big-box retail, diverse and healthy dining options, clothing outlets, furniture stores and more.
Haston said the partnership with Retail Strategies helped the city during this year’s convention, as well. She said the group had more than 200 appointments, which helped draw more eyes to Lebanon.
“Bojangles and Dairy Queen came out of meetings last year, so I’m excited about some of the meetings we had this year and the possibilities. We have some groups coming to Lebanon in the next few weeks to look at property,” Haston said.
Haston also discussed several businesses under construction or set to begin in the city.
She said Panera, which will be on South Cumberland Street, does not have an official opening date, but construction on the building is moving along nicely.
She highlighted Bojangles and Cook Out and said construction on the two businesses is set to begin in the near future. Bojangles, already under construction will be on South Hartmann Drive across from Chili’s, while Cook Out will be at the intersection of Legends Drive and South Cumberland Street.
Haston also said there are possibilities for the future of the building that housed Applebee’s, which closed last week. She said business in Lebanon is booming.
“There are some big things that will be announced in the next year. Some of the things are businesses that people have said they wanted to see here, so I’m excited for them,” Haston said.