Economic 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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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.


 

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Why doesn’t College Station have a Waffle House?

By Jennifer Prochazka, Economic Development Manager

On Monday, I received an email asking a simple question: Why has the City of College Station not reached out to Waffle House or made plans to build one in our community?

Since Waffle House is the mecca of waffle aficionados across much of America, the question is reasonable — and it’s one we hear a lot.

So why don’t we have a Waffle House?

Restaurants such as Waffle House are planned and built by private businesses. We proactively recruit many companies, including restaurants, and we’ve pursued Waffle House for several years. Unfortunately, its management has repeatedly said it has no plans to expand to College Station anytime soon.

The role of the city’s Economic Development department is to identify commercially zoned property with good visibility and access that companies such as Waffle House would find attractive. We then help that business navigate our development and permitting processes.

I’m a big fan of waffles and would love to see a Waffle House in College Station. If you have an influential contact who could change the company’s decision and bring a location here, you’d be a local hero.

Get to work!

 


About the Blogger

Jennifer Prochazka has been the city’s economic development manager since 2016 and has been with the City of College Station since 2000. She previously worked in Planning & Development Services. Since 2015, Jennifer also has been an adjunct economic development specialist with the Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service. She is a 2001 graduate of Texas A&M (Environmental Design) and earned a master’s in Urban Planning from A&M in 2002.


 

Photo Copyright: dehooks/123RF Stock Photo

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