Economic and Community Development

Small Business Saturday focuses on entrepreneurship

By Jay Socol, Public Communications Director

When our family’s business closed its doors in 1987, it ended more than six decades of serving families in our small, West Texas town — and families in many of the towns around it.

So, maybe it’s in my DNA to shop and dine at mom-and-pop establishments — even when online or big-brand storefronts might save me a few bucks.

That’s what Small Business Saturday (Nov. 24) is all about. While we appreciate all the businesses that operate in College Station, Small Business Saturday allows us to place additional focus on the entrepreneurs who took tremendous personal risks to invest here and compete in an incredibly tough retail, dining and services landscape.

If you happen to own one of these small businesses, let us hear from you in the days leading up to Small Business Saturday by tweeting at us (@CityofCS) with your business name and what it offers. Be sure to include the hashtag #ShopSmallCS.

Including small businesses, like the one my family operated for 60+ years, in your shopping and dining habits is a great way to support our community. And there’s no better time to start than after Black Friday (Nov. 23) and before Cyber Monday (Nov. 26).

Thank you, small businesses, for investing in us. Let’s all commit to investing more in you.

 


About the Blogger

Jay Socol (@jaysocol) is in his 10th year as College Station’s public communications director. A 1991 graduate of Texas A&M. Jay has also been communications director for the Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service, public information officer for the City of Bryan, and news director at several Bryan-College Station area radio stations. A native of Breckenridge, he also serves as president of the Texas Association of Municipal Information Officers.


 

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Is This A Thing? Live from The Stella Hotel

By Jay Socol, Public Communications Director

This episode of “Is This a Thing?” was taped Sept. 17 in front of a live audience and featured College Station Economic Development Director Natalie Ruiz, Bryan Economic Development Manager Todd McDaniel, and Brazos Valley Economic Development Corporation Chair-Elect Bobby Gutierrez.

Total run time: 50:31

  • 00:00 — Message to live audience.
  • 01:05 — Show open and introductions.
  • 03:06 — Ruiz on whether or not the time of year affects the ability to succeed at economic development.
  • 05:15 — McDaniel on how Bryan is prepared to tackle the redevelopment of Texas Avenue between Villa Maria Road and downtown.
  • 08:56 — Gutierrez on what the EDC’s role is in complementing the work performed by College Station and Bryan.
  • 12:28 — Ruiz on the importance of sales tax revenues and how online and brick-and-mortar retailers are joining forces.
  • 16:30 — McDaniel on the changes we can expect in the proximity of the future super park development at the former Bryan Golf Course site.
  • 20:35 — Gutierrez offers to answer the question McDaniel was asked about the super park area.
  • 24:33 — McDaniel on what BCS needs to attract more jobs and industry.
  • 26:00 — Ruiz adds to the perspective.
  • 26:51 — Gutierrez chimes in on the same topic.
  • 29:12 — Gutierrez answers an audience question: What types of industry are you trying to recruit?
  • 31:14 — Ruiz answers an audience question: What’s being done about the ever-emerging multifamily developments?
  • 33:08 — Gutierrez answers from a Bryan Planning & Zoning Commission perspective.
  • 35:01 — McDaniel adds perspective from a City of Bryan standpoint.
  • 36:35 — Audience question: Gutierrez talks about addressing growth and needs in surrounding communities.
  • 39:36 — Audience question: How do nonprofits fit into your planning and economic development work?
  • 41:07 — Gutierrez addresses how nonprofits fit into that work.
  • 44:03 — Audience question: Plans for Highway 6?
  • 45:33 — Natalie adds the College Station perspective on Highway 6.
  • 46:54 — Gutierrez gives Bryan P&Z perspective on development along major corridors.
  • 49:48 — Show wrap-up.

 

 


About the Blogger

Jay Socol (@jaysocol) is in his 10th year as College Station’s public communications director. A 1991 graduate of Texas A&M. Jay has also been communications director for the Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service, public information officer for the City of Bryan, and news director at several Bryan-College Station area radio stations. A native of Breckenridge, he also serves as president of the Texas Association of Municipal Information Officers.


 

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SeeClickFix remains a valuable reporting tool

By Julie Caler, Code Enforcement Supervisor

See. Click. Fix.

It’s as easy as that for citizens to report code enforcement, public works, and other non-emergency issues to the City of College Station.

The online application allows anyone with internet access to report and easily track updates to their concerns.  It empowers you and your local government to take care of and improve our neighborhoods in a tangible and meaningful way.

SeeClickFix can be accessed through desktop computers, smartphones or other mobile devices. Better yet, it’s simple to use and creates a higher level of accountability through timely communication between you and your city.

How do you use it?

The most popular way to use SeeClickFix is with a smartphone or tablet. Mobile devices make it easy to take and submit photos, which help city staff quickly identify problems and determine how to resolve them as efficiently as possible. Go to your device’s app store for a free download. The system can also be accessed through the city’s mobile-friendly website.

Pinning or entering an exact address will help staff locate and resolve the issue in a timelier manner.  Remember, pictures say a thousand words so whenever possible, please provide a picture of your concern.  If you have specific questions, call Code Enforcement at 979-764-6363, and we will be happy to answer your questions.

In addition, problems phoned into Code Enforcement are entered into SeeClickFix, which allows us to count the numbers and types of reported cases accurately.

How does it work?

SeeClickFix incorporates code enforcement, public works, parks and even outside agencies such as the Texas Department of Transportation to address the issues you report. While code enforcement is the clearinghouse for SeeClickFix, we ensure the proper agency addresses your specific issue.

Sometimes we receive updates, and sometimes we don’t.  But we can always provide you with direct contact information if you have specific questions for that agency.

SeeClickFix is not a social media site but an online reporting work order system. That means posting personal information or vulgar or inappropriate language will cause your post to be flagged and removed.

Who responds and how?

The type of concern reported determines who responds. While most issues are directed to code enforcement, not all issues are code related. Most potholes, street lights/sign issues are sent to either Public Works or TxDOT, depending on the location. Issues concerning parks are sent to the Parks and Recreation Department and so on.

Each agency has procedures for responding to concerns on SCF, and while we may get updates from some agencies, we don’t get updates from them all.

Code Enforcement will respond to issues that are possible code violations. An officer will investigate, and if a violation is found, the officer will proceed with a code case in our tracking system.

Some cases take longer than others to resolve, such as junk vehicles or weeds and grass, but a typical case is resolved within 10 days.

SeeClickFix isn’t 911

SeeClickFix isn’t monitored 24/7, so don’t report public safety concerns such as suspicious persons, robberies, threats to life, etc. on. Always call 911 when a real emergency exists.

SeeClickFix has proven to be a valuable tool for our citizens and has helped the city become more efficient and effective at resolving everyday issues. We hope you will continue to use it when you see something that needs to be addressed.

Just go to seeclickfix.com/college-station to report an issue.

Keep seeing and clicking, and we’ll keep fixing!

 


0000018EPAbout the Blogger

Code Enforcement Supervisor Julie Caler has been with the City of College Station for almost two decades.


 

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Is This A Thing? Krispy Kreme, Lululemon and Spice World

By Jay Socol, Public Communications Director

Episode 8 of “Is This A Thing?” finds College Station Economic Development Director Natalie Ruiz talking about the status of some restaurants and businesses you’ve been hearing about for a while, plus new trends that are showing interest in College Station, such as “entertainment uses.”

Total run time: 32:22

  • 00:00 — Open.
  • 00:57 — University Town Center: Lots of interest, looking for an anchor.
  • 02:34 — Chimney Hill: Republic/Primrose Path, drive-thru Starbucks, hotel, restaurant.
  • 05:18 — Century Square: Lululemon, Clean Juice and more on the way.
  • 08:38 — Northgate: Stunning number of new beds, commercial demands, food trucks.
  • 13:05 — Texas Avenue activity
  • 13:43 — Harvey Road update: Krispy Kreme IS A THING.
  • 15:12 — What does old Toys R Us location lend itself to?
  • 16:44 — Jones Crossing + H-E-B.
  • 17:47 — City View Southwest at SH40/Barron Road.
  • 19:24 — CapRock + Tower Point: What’s working, what’s coming?
  • 20:52 — The Yard (sounds kinda cool).
  • 21:39 — Gringo’s is STILL A THING + Walk-Ons and Starbucks.
  • 22:56 — Highway-6: Stella Restaurant, BV Autoplex, At Home (opening soon!).
  • 24:14 — More interest in entertainment, such as bowling/games, rock climbing.
  • 26:40 — What it was learned at the largest retail conference in the U.S.
  • 31:10 — Next time + show close.

 

 


About the Blogger

Jay Socol (@jaysocol) is in his ninth year as College Station’s public communications director. A 1991 graduate of Texas A&M. Jay has also been communications director for the Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service, public information officer for the City of Bryan, and news director at several Bryan-College Station area radio stations. A native of Breckenridge, he also serves as president of the Texas Association of Municipal Information Officers.


 

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Podcast: Jones Crossing H-E-B built for technology – and pizza

By Jay Socol, Public Communications Director

H-E-B‘s newest store in College Station is set to open Sept. 12, and there will be striking differences when compared to locations at Holleman Drive and at Tower Point.

In this edition of the podcast, H-E-B Area Community Coordinator Diane Besosa talks about everything from app-based shopping/checkout to the restaurant that will be located inside.

Total run time: 23:30

  • 00:00 — The Name Game, what exactly Diane does for H-E-B.
  • 02:25 — A typical day for an H-E-B area coordinator is …
  • 03:30 — What’s the strategy for the new store?
  • 04:53 — There really is a difference in the way each store location is stocked.
  • 05:17 — Let’s talk about how the Jones Crossing store will be unique.
  • 05:41 — Coming: A new app, HEB60, that puts the shopping/payment power in your hand.
  • 08:03 — Full-service restaurant to be located in-store: SoFlo
  • 09:20 — This store will have full buildout for curbside service.
  • 10:32 — Next-level floral presence + delivery.
  • 14:48 — Anxious ahead of opening? State of the store right now?
  • 19:02 — How do BCS shoppers behave differently than in other parts of Houston market?

 

 


About the Blogger

Jay Socol (@jaysocol) is in his ninth year as College Station’s public communications director. A 1991 graduate of Texas A&M. Jay has also been communications director for the Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service, public information officer for the City of Bryan, and news director at several Bryan-College Station area radio stations. A native of Breckenridge, he also serves as president of the Texas Association of Municipal Information Officers.


 

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Podcast: Is This A Thing? How the At Home deal was sealed (Episode 7)

By Jay Socol, Public Communications Director

Home decor superstore At Home has announced it will occupy the property that was formerly Gander Mountain on Earl Rudder Freeway in College Station. That’s great news for consumers, but also for those in the economic development business since empty box stores along a major highway is not the image you prefer.

On this edition of Is This A Thing?, College Station’s Economic Development Director Natalie Ruiz and Oldham Goodwin Group EVP Clint Oldham talk about how the At Home deal came about, how fragile this deal – and all eco-devo deals, to be honest – really was, and how retail attitudes are no longer cowering from The Amazon Effect.

Total run time: 15:46

  • 00:00 – Show Open
  • 01:20 — Conversation started last summer when Gander Mountain was rumored to close.
  • 02:28 — What happened when CS initially reached out to At Home.
  • 03:40 — Some expansion of this facility will need to happen.
  • 04:30 — When Oldham Goodwin engaged Gander Mountain ownership.
  • 05:25 — Among the challenges of that property.
  • 07:07 — Among the positives of this location.
  • 08:33 — The effectiveness of a CS-OGG partnership to make the deal happen.
  • 09:35 — What people don’t see: How close deals are to NOT happening.
  • 10:50 — Other areas in College Station where OGG is working.
  • 11:30 — Could’ve announced this sooner, but didn’t want to jinx the deal!
  • 12:38 — Conditions this year feel different regarding which retailers are ready to expand.
  • 13:33 — Amazon Effect not as smothering; brick and mortar still matter.
  • 14:30 — Guesses on when At Home will be ready to open? (Spoiler: Nope)

 

Related Links:

 


About the Blogger

Jay Socol (@jaysocol) is in his ninth year as College Station’s public communications director. A 1991 graduate of Texas A&M. Jay has also been communications director for the Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service, public information officer for the City of Bryan, and news director at several Bryan-College Station area radio stations. A native of Breckenridge, he also serves as president of the Texas Association of Municipal Information Officers.


 

If you found value in this blog post, please share it with your social network and friends!