Minding Your Business: Let’s work to support younger generations in Kingsport |

It may be hot this week yet again and inflation may be staying up, along with gas prices, but at least we can celebrate June 22, the official start of summer. Below are a few business news tidbits for the week as we drift off into summer 2022.

• According to the American Automobile Association, the Tennessee gas price average (as of Monday) is $4.59, down 5 cents from last week’s average. Kingsport’s and Bristol’s Monday average was $4.57. A year ago, the average was $2.84.

• According to the Northeast Tennessee Association of Realtors, the $500,000 and above market continues to boom. Last month there were 101 sales, which is slightly more than twice the number sold in May last year. And sales have increased every month since the first of the year. NETAR says inventory is increasing. A mid-June check of local listings shows 155 listings in the $500,000 to $1 million price range and 41 listings for $1 million and above.

• New Peoples Bank will host an open house on Tuesday, June 28, at noon at 1999 East Stone Drive (Suite 200), Kingsport.

Notes from the field

I have mentioned in previous columns the desire so many of our online readers have expressed — for Kingsport to add things for younger generations to do in the Model City.

Growing up in Kingsport, I remember so many of my peers saying there was little to do in town (which I believe is a worldwide gripe among young people in any small town). But it did seem true at times. Entertainment, adventure and arts and culture options could certainly help bring younger kids to various businesses throughout town while keeping them from turning to other undesirable ways to spend their time. But I think it all goes a step beyond that.

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We need those sort of options for teens and kids, but to have teens and kids, you need young families. And to obtain young families, you need to have jobs and opportunities that keep those young people and their kids in Kingsport.

It’s no secret that workforce development has been a top focus for school systems across the state and the country, including our regional school systems. That focus is partially designed to offer a workforce from which companies can find employees in Northeast Tennessee. We need these companies to offer well-paying, attractive jobs. But we also need to retain people who have those skills and know-how to fill those jobs.

The Tri-Cities could use more young people and families. We need those opportunities to support and obtain them while also offering go-and-do options and entertainment.

Kingsport has long offered a lower cost of living, a low crime rate and a successful school system — all things no one wants to see change. It’s important we retain what makes Kingsport Kingsport while also obtaining these young people once they graduate.

We could start by supporting these younger generations and considering them in business and industry as well as community life. We need churches to offer outreach and groups where younger people can find community and connect with one another rather than remaining siloed week to week at Sunday service. I would bet there are more young people hungry for community than you might think. We need companies to consider ways they can support adding younger age groups to their workforce and keep them through growth opportunities as well. And we need to illustrate through events, job opportunities and various activities that these students who attend our nearby colleges can find and sustain a good, viable, full life in our region. (I’m thinking a robust downtown can also only support the growth of younger generations in the region).

We also need to illustrate to our young Kingsport natives as well that there is no shame — and actually a lot to be said and found — in returning to your hometown to live after college. What better way to do so than to offer a quality of life that is both stable and steady (for which Kingsport has long been known) and also full of opportunity, growth and life.

I believe supporting younger generations in Kingsport is the start. And connecting them with things to do and places to find good, viable jobs — along with a community ready to welcome them into Kingsport — is a fine place to start.

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