May 12–TUPELO — The Tupelo Regional Airport has property it leases to tenants near the airport, but it needs a little help to get the word out to more prospective clients.
Enter the Community Development Foundation, the economic development organization for Tupelo and Lee County that has a track record of success in doing just that.
“We know you have a desire to market available property for rent or sell,” said David Rumbarger, the CDF’s president and CEO. “We want to present it the best way possible.”
He told the board that they must first identify the property available and to spend time and due diligence on providing information to prospective clients.
Key information site selectors might review include environmental assessments, cultural heritage findings and infrastructure accessibility.
“It could be 5,000 square feet or it could be 30 acres they’re looking for,” Rumbarger said. “You can’t outguess a tenant; it’s a ‘what-if’ for the property.”
Armed with the right information, Rumbarger said CDF can present the information to a prospective tenant anywhere.
Jim Newman, one of the airport board’s members, asked for guidance from the CDF.
“I wanted him to talk to us to give us an idea of what the process is in trying to secure a potential company and the kind of information they’re looking for,” Newman said. “The CDF specializes in that — we don’t. We’re not in the business and don’t want to be.”
The CDF has worked with the airport before, including helping bring Universal Asset Management five years ago. But Newman says it was time to renew their relationship, as the airport can be an economic engine for jobs.
He said the last international client to land in Lee County — German auto parts supplier Grammer — was aware of the airport’s difficulties with air service before it committed to the area two years ago, but wasn’t swayed by the issue.
“They’re based in Amberg, Germany, so they have to fly to Munich and drive and hour and a half, two hours, so it’s no big deal for them to have to drive from Memphis to Tupelo,” Rumbarger said.
However, that’s not necessarily the case with other potential clients who might be looking at air service and connectivity. So it’s important to emphasize what the airport and the area have to offer to capture their interest, he said.
“They’re looking at the services available, what we have, what we can do for them,” Rumbarger said. “So you have to know what you have and what you can offer. People are looking at market opportunities and want to move quickly. Clients are demanding and they can afford to be.”
Newman said the airport board’s next step is to meet again with CDF officials to determine what exactly the airport has to offer and what it can do to make any improvements to make its available property more marketable.
“We’re going to make that happen as soon as possible,” he said.
Copyright 2016 – Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal, Tupelo