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by Jimmy Settle

Clarksville’s retail economy took two big steps forward last year when our first and long-anticipated Publix store was announced and when Dick’s Sporting Goods opened at the mall.

The reasons we want these retail giants are simple: more local revenue, a better quality of life, and less temptation to take Clarksville retail dollars to Nashville.

The top reasons retailers choose locations are equally simple, but sometimes surprising: income demographics and population density.

Publix chose the former Hilldale site of Gateway Medical Center in part because Hilldale is in one of the more densely populated areas of Clarksville.

“We’re one of the last communities in Middle Tennessee to get a Publix,” said Wayne Wilkinson, with the commercial real estate firm, NAI Clarksville. He and others stressed that part of the reason is that we are so spread out.

As our population and income grow, we become more attractive. Whether other well-known retailers and restaurant chains will follow is the big question, and many say the city is turning that corner.

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