For the past five years, Texas has seen consistent year-over-year growth in the number of new business applications. The question now becomes how can The Falls translate Texas being a good place to do business into more success for the city?
"Everything affects economic development. We could put all the money we wanted into recruiting a company here, and if the company said I don't think this is the right place for my employees, they're going to go somewhere else," explained President of the Wichita Falls Chamber of Commerce Henry Florsheim.
The business climate has changed dramatically. Gone are the days of throwing money at projects and the highest bidder winning, and people moving to where the jobs are. Now, companies go where there is a good business climate, where they can find workers and have opportunities to make money.
"The only way to be successful long term is to make your community as great a place as you possibly can, because when you do that companies will start showing up without you having to recruit," Florsheim said.
Wichita Falls can improve their "product" or brand by continuing to develop downtown, creating more venues for children and young adults, and improving schools. A number of entrepreneurial opportunities were recruited to the Falls last year, including lone star milk that moved from Windthorst.
As for what to expect in 2015, Florsheim said...
"You've already seen some new restaurants and retail coming in at the start of this year, and I think we'll continue to see that, up that Midwestern, Lawrence Road corridor, because that's where the people are."
Florsheim thinks the addition of a Burlington Coat Factory is huge for Wichita Falls. Every time we get a big company like Burlington to make Texoma home, it's less of reason for residents to take their money to places like Dallas.