Economic Growth Steady for Shelby County

by Jessica Cervantez

The economic outlook in one East Texas county appears to be very strong. Shelby County is riding a wave of rapid and continual economic growth which will bring money in from all over East Texas while providing new jobs.

Two new retail stores in center is big news to the county. The new Wal-mart Supercenter is set to be complete in January of 2005. And the newest business, Wulf Outdoor Sports store was filled with customers during it's grand opening.

Fred Wulf, of Wulf Outdoor Sports, said, "The store should bring people in not only for us, but it should give other opportunities to other Shelby County businesses, to tap on some of these folks that come to town."

And the county welcomes the economic growth.

Pam Phelps, of the Shelby County Chamber of Commerce, said, "It's been very steady. We have never seen a huge boom, but we have never had a huge bust either."

And city officials believe the placement of the new Wal-mart has a lot to do with more businesses wanting to head to Center.

Center City Manager Chad Nehring said, "A lot of it is going to spin off of Wal-mart's choice to finally develop the site that they picked for a supercenter. That is going to probably double the floor space for major retail employers in the area."

More businesses means more jobs, and less unemployment.

Robin Bradberry, of Workforce Solutions, said, "I think we will see a drop, we were running about 8% in June, we're down to about 7.3% in July, so we're very confident that those will be going down."

So while customers are loading up on their hunting gear, by the time the season is wrapping up, will be about the time to begin shopping at the new Wal-mart Supercenter.