create bridges logo

Celebrating REtail, Accommodations, Tourism and Entertainment by

Building Rural Innovations and Developing Growth Economies



SRDC has secured funding from Walmart Giving to strengthen retail, accommodations, tourism, and entertainment industries which often make up a large portion of the jobs and businesses that drive rural economies. The SRDC will collaborate on this initiative with three of its Southern Region Land Grant University (LGU) partners: University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture Cooperative Extension Service, University of Kentucky, and Oklahoma State University.

The initiative, Create Bridges: Celebrating Retail, Accommodations, Tourism, and Entertainment by Building Rural Innovations and Developing Growth Economies, is built upon the SRDC-led Stronger Economies Together (SET) initiative, a collaborative effort across 32 states that helps rural counties work together to develop and implement an economic development plan for their multi-county region. Built in partnership with USDA Rural Development, the nation’s four Regional Rural Development Centers, and LGU partners, SET will serve as a building block for this new initiative.

Data & Resources

Phase Two Materials

Project Team

Alison Davis

Dr. Alison Davis

University of Kentucky
Stacey McCullough

Dr. Stacey McCullough

University of Arkansas System
Dave Shideler

Saras Siems

Oklahoma State University
Rachel Welborn

Rachel Welborn

Southern Rural Development Center


University of Kentucky CEDIK Logo


University of Arkansas Division of Ag Logo


Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Logo


walmart logo Project funded by Walmart