This year has been full of economic challenges for local businesses but the community’s resilience and loyalty to shop local will help this holiday season and in the coming year.
Local leaders have a positive outlook for the weeks and months ahead based on what has happened in recent months.
Mike Malone, president and CEO of the local Chamber of Commerce, says one thing that helped the town make it through as well as it has is that citizens of Texarkana have rediscovered the local business scene and what Texarkana business owners make available right here.
“Thinking back, as the months progressed through the pandemic, people stayed closer to home, looked more local for their needs,” he said. “It made them rediscover how important it is to shop local. They have sources nearby to get what they need right here in town.”
Texarkana’s downtown in particular is in the process of reawakening and this has opened up business opportunities there.
“The importance of Texarkana’s downtown, always an historical and cultural high point, the heart of our city, has now come back around as an important center of business,” he said. “I think there will be more downtown and more local shopping in general this holiday season. As we get into 2021, we at the Chamber see those trends continuing. More people will take advantage of our local resources for business and shopping.”
Texarkana, Arkansas, Mayor Allen Brown says he’s aware of the rough time some of the businesses on his side of town have had.
“Especially our restaurants, bars, hotels, they have had a rough time of it, more so earlier this year, when all this got started,” he said. “They’ve done OK all things considered, but I have heard from some in those sectors that are struggling, both financially and in an informational capacity.
“There are resources available to help them, but one of the toughest challenges has been making sure that information, and through it, the resources, were available to help them out. This city’s administration has tried to be an information resource to help make that part happen. Our city manager, Dr. Kenny Haskin, has steered what information he has their way. Going forward as we get through this, I want us to be a resource going forward, to help out our local businesses, to help them through this.”
Looking forward to the coming new year, Brown says 2021 looks like a considerably brighter one.
“I feel good about 2021,” he said. “I think we’ve laid a good foundation with various decisions, such as REDI and the industrial area they have been preparing, dubbed ‘Operation Success.'”
With more than 1,300 acres of coming industrial development, it is set to serve as a home for incoming enterprises.
Brown describes Operation Success as being “shovel ready” in the coming year.
In addition, Brown sees the Arkansas-side finances as being in a strong position in the coming year.
“We are investing our capital into city resources, like police, fire, infrastructure and all these are set to go,” said Brown. “Revenue is trending in the right direction and we are set for success in 2021.”