Attracting New Retail Business is a Challenge for Rural West Texas Towns 8/15/12
CBS 7 Reporter
August 15, 2012
Andrews, TX - Getting people to rural West Texas towns is easy with a booming economy, but getting new business to follow is the hard part.
Like most West Texas towns, the city of Andrews is growing.
"I just moved here last week,” explains Laurel Weaver. “It’s a nice a small town that we like."
But for people who have lived in Andrews their whole life it's not so small anymore.
According to the 2010 census, the countywide population is near 16,000, a number that city officials say is not accurate in 2012.
"We could probably safely say our day time population is anywhere between 20,000 and 30,000," says Andrews Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Julia Wallace.
But proving that to retailers is not so easy.
"We know that because we live here and we see the traffic and we see the people at the restaurants but you can't really convince retailers of that," Wallace says. "When we start talking to different retail people about coming to Andrews, they look at our population and our proximity to Midland and Odessa. They know that we're part of that market and were pretty well served by that market. It’s hard to convince them to come in and invest money in the community."
An investment that some residents say would be well worth it.
"I would really like to have a Wal-Mart here instead of having to drive to Odessa or Midland,” says Rosa Garza. “We waste a lot of gas money and it would be much better having one here for us."
For others, that drive is part of Andrews' small-town charm.
"I like that its just a half hour, a little bit of a distance so it's not right on top of us a half hour drive isn't bad," says Weaver.
The Andrews Chamber of Commerce says people have expressed the desire to see new retailers for years, specifically grocery stores and restaurants to accommodate the growth.
The chamber of commerce and the economic development corporation partnered up several years ago to conduct a retail study... Showing that residents often choose to spend money outside of the city.
They have also attended several retail conferences to present those results.