June 31, 2023
Public-private partnership creates perfect space for 150 new downtown jobs
Rhea Economic and Tourism Council, Inc. spearheads effort between EdFinancial Services, Inc. and SimplyBank for sale of 8,300-square-foot former Community National Bank branch at 1271 Market Street in downtown Dayton
DAYTON, Tenn. -- New jobs and major economic development for downtown Dayton drove discussions between Rhea Economic and Tourism Council, Inc. (RETC), EdFinancial Services, Inc. and SimplyBank over the sale of the 8,300-square-foot former Community National Bank building at 1271 Market Street.
The Market Street property -- owned by SimplyBank since the unification with its sister bank Community National Bank in March 2021 -- was a linchpin in the bid to see EdFinancial Services, Inc., house 150 new jobs in the city.
And John Bamber, executive director at RETC, knew EdFinancial was too good an opportunity for Dayton to miss.
“Anytime we are approached by someone who wants to create new, high-quality jobs in Rhea County, we look for ways to say yes,” Bamber said. “My office knew the property at 1271 Market Street would be tough to get off-market, but we also knew SimplyBank leadership would understand the impact 150 jobs would have on Dayton, so I started making phone calls.”
Initially, the bank’s answer on the question of 1271 Market Street was no, said Alex Green, directing marketing and communications officer.
“Our intentions for the Market Street property were set: after Community National and SimplyBank united in 2021, the building was converted into an operations center and that would be its function going forward,” Green said.
But Bamber persisted, and together with EdFinancial leaders, painted a picture for SimplyBank decisionmakers highlighting the long-term benefits 150 new jobs would create inside county lines -- if EdFinancial could find a home in the city.
It was a simple and effective pitch: work together and everyone -- especially the community -- would benefit.
“Rhea County has been SimplyBank’s home for more than 130 years, and doing right by this community is deeply important to us,” Green said. “Thanks to forward-thinking resource management by our ownership and leadership, the bank can place our Market Street teams at other locations right here in Dayton. Paired with EdFinancial’s investment, that means not only are existing high-quality downtown jobs preserved, 150 more are being created. SimplyBank is proud to reach this agreement with EdFinancial Services for 1271 Market Street and we look forward to seeing it bring them the same success it has brought our bank since 1986.”
Elected officials in Rhea County applaud EdFinancial’s decision to locate a new office in historic downtown Dayton and said the teamwork demonstrated between public and private partners behind the scenes characterizes why Rhea County is a great place to live and a desirable place to work.
“Working together for the benefit of all is great leadership,” said Jim Vincent, Rhea County Executive. “Our economic development team, led by John Bamber and RETC, has done a tremendous job over the last several years selling investors on what we have here in Rhea County: great people, great infrastructure and great corporate citizens like SimplyBank who truly support this community and share our vision for long-term growth and prosperity. We are celebrating EdFinancial Services’ decision to locate an office here and are grateful to all parties who worked for months to bring this together.”
Hurley Marsh, mayor of Dayton, called the development of 150 new downtown jobs a key indicator of what’s right in the community.
“Over the last few years, the City of Dayton has prioritized building strong, reliable relationships with the people who live, work and raise families in this community,” Marsh said. “When we work together, we can accomplish things none of us can accomplish alone. I appreciate the leaders at SimplyBank for sharing our vision and supporting the City, County and RETC by coming to the table and striking a deal to help find EdFinancial a home for its Rhea County work force. EdFinancial Service’s investment in Dayton will be transformative for downtown, and we are excited to welcome them to town.”
EdFinancial Services is currently moving into its new Market Street office and plans to be fully up and running by September. The company is also currently hiring for the Dayton office.
Run by Rhea County native and former local banker Tony Hollin, EdFinancial Services has grown its employee count by more than 200 percent over the last two years in order to serve borrowers of U.S. Department of Education-issued student loans.
And right now, student loan counselors like EdFinancial are braced for call volume to tick up in September as student loan borrowers across the country resume payments for the first time since 2020.
“These borrowers are about to go through a big change with having their student loan bills due again. We can help with that. That’s what we do,” Hollin said. “We help people find a plan that is affordable for their situation.”
To find out more about SimplyBank, visit www.simply.bank.
For more information about Rhea Economic and Community Development, visit www.rheaecd.com.
SimplyBank is a premier provider of community banking and financial services headquartered in
East Tennessee. Deeply-rooted with more than 130 years of community banking experience, SimplyBank operates across eight East Tennessee and North Georgia counties, offering retail, consumer and business banking solutions at 14 offices, including full-service branch locations in: Benton, Tenn.; Chattanooga, Tenn.; Cleveland, Tenn.; Dayton, Tenn.; Decatur, Tenn.; Flintstone, Ga.; Harriman, Tenn.; Ringgold, Ga.; Rockwood, Tenn.; Rossville, Ga.; Soddy-Daisy, Tenn.; Spring City, Tenn.; and south Dayton, Tenn. SimplyBank offers customers around-the-clock options at its convenient ATM locations and via the SimplyBank mobile banking application and online banking. Member FDIC and Equal Housing Lender. For more information, visit www.simply.bank.
About Rhea Economic and Tourism Council, Inc.
RETC serves Rhea County and its three municipalities, providing leadership in Economic, Tourism, Workforce, and Community Development. Based out of the Rhea County Welcome Center, RETC leverages strong partnerships throughout Rhea County, including local governments, Chambers of Commerce and MainStreet Dayton. Additionally, they work alongside the Thrive Regional Partnership, the Greater Chattanooga Economic Partnership, the Southeast Development District, TNECD, the Tennessee ThreeStar Program, and countless others in order to better serve the local community. From grant writing, to business retention, expansion, and property development to growing tourism throughout the area, RETC serve the community in numerous manners.