New Lufkin businesses could bring more than jobs to local economy

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - On the surface, they're the newest businesses that East Texans want to check out.

However, Carl's Jr. and Orange Leaf are actually an economic stimulant.

"The more things that we can get here that are unique and that give us a variety, that creates a better argument for people to come to Lufkin, spend the day, and spend their money," Angelina County Economic Development Director Jim Wehmeier said.

Wehmeier said the new hot spots make Lufkin a more attractive place for big industries.

"Our mission is to create the manufacturing jobs that are going to export product, import wealth into the community, create what we call primary jobs, which are slightly higher paying jobs with full benefits," Wehmeier said.

More than 680 jobs were created in Lufkin within the past year, now Carl's Jr. brings 50 more, all local.

"Because we employ local folks, all the money that comes into this restaurant, the money that these folks make, their dispersing it back into the local communities," Carl's Jr. General Manager Tony Yarbrough said. "They're spending it in our local restaurants, our other stores."

Across town, ten part-time employees are now working at Orange Leaf.

"I've been here my whole life and you know this is such a great place to be at, to work, to come to," Orange Leaf General Manager Kristen Alamo said. "We're adding jobs and that's great news in this economy that we're able to offer entry-level positions for people."

Wehmeier said East Texans are still feeling recession, but the economy is turning the corner, and a burger spot and self-serve frozen yogurt are great places to start.

Wehmeier said companies poured more than $131 million into the local community within the past year.

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