Gallatin Means Business


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True Success. Amazing Opportunities.

That’s the short story on economic development in Gallatin over the last year. However, the long story is rich in details.

Existing industry grows. New industry moves to Gallatin. The national Business View Magazine does an 8 page spread on Gallatin’s success. Reader’s Digest names Gallatin as one of the Top Ten Nicest Places in America. The city wins numerous national awards for its brand print and logo. New commercial development is coming out of the ground, creating exciting prospects for shopping and dining. New apartments and single-family homes are being built all over the city.

There is so much economic activity that it is hard to know where to begin.

“A couple of years ago when my board wanted to find an item to give prospective businesses – an item that signified Gallatin – I asked 25 people what that item should be and I got 25 different answers,” said James Fenton, Executive Director of the Gallatin Economic Development Agency. “I also asked numerous successful business leaders outside of Gallatin what they thought about our city. They told me they didn’t really know much about Gallatin and thought it was far away from Nashville.”

Fenton said this lack of identity was not a crisis but a perfect scenario.

“People didn’t think anything bad about us – they just didn’t know us,” Fenton explained.

The city then launched a year of research to determine the honest, compelling story that would sell Gallatin to outsiders but ring true with people who live and work here. Surveys and interviews with hundreds of people generated pages of data the city is now using to both improve its image and underline its assets. As a byproduct, the city now has a logo – something it has never had before.

A community committee selected the city’s new logo that pays homage to the miles of shoreline and the surrounding expanse of hills and pastures. The logo includes the line, “True Grit. Amazing Grace.” This phrase speaks to the hard work and determination of the community, as well as its welcoming nature. The phrase can also be adapted to fit the various city departments as well as various community partners.

Economic Development has chosen the adaptation of “True Success. Amazing Opportunities.” Here’s why:

Gallatin is the employment hub of the region. In the last few years, Gallatin has announced 3,500 new primary jobs. Nearly 18,000 people drive into Gallatin for work every day with only 10,000 leaving the city each day, bound for jobs elsewhere.

Gallatin’s population is booming – up nearly 50% in just 15 years. In 2000, the population count was 23,230. At the end of 2015, it was 34,473. If the trend continues, it will surpass 40,000 in 2020.

There are four Tennessee Colleges of Applied Technology within a 30-minute driving distance. Welch College has opened its new residential campus in Gallatin. In addition, Volunteer State Community College – ranked in the top 18% of community colleges in the nation – has launched a mechatronics degree. All these programs support the skills training necessary for today’s manufacturing workforce.

The city and state have invested millions of dollars in road infrastructure – widening Airport Road to three lanes and widening 109 South from Airport Road to the new bridge with construction expected to begin in the next year for five lanes all the way to I-40. The extension of Albert Gallatin Avenue to SR 109 North may begin construction in 2018.

All these factors – steady population growth, investment in infrastructure, steady housing growth, new commercial development, and a cohesive message about quality of place - combine to make Gallatin a prime location for continued new primary jobs and overall strong economic development.

Axem Distributing, which wholesales and manufactures firearms parts, moved its corporate headquarters and plant to Gallatin from California and Kentucky. Bennett Tool & Die moved its entire operation from Nashville to Gallatin. Western Reflections expanded its plant in Gallatin and added new jobs. Gap Inc. announced 500 new jobs as well as moving part of its on-line fulfillment efforts here. RC Tenn in Gallatin makes ALL the tees for the Cracker Barrel peg games. And, “Gallatin, TN” is now stamped on firearms made at Beretta USA’s sole manufacturing facility.

“Gallatin is definitely making an impact in the national world of economic development,” Fenton said. “While that’s exciting, the key for Gallatin is to do exactly what it is doing – be genuine. Exhibit the true grit and amazing grace which leads to true success and amazing opportunities.”