Dec. 30—Gainesville businesses are growing into the new year, building on the momentum of ribbon cuttings, expansions and plenty of vendor markets sprouting up during 2022.
Some of these are long-standing businesses that continue to grow, but many are new ventures that have opened within the past year or two.
"We have been booming with ribbon cuttings which is amazing," said Jennifer Shumate, the executive director of the Gainesville Area Chamber of Commerce (GACOC). "We have had 64 new members join the Chamber from Dec. 1, 2021, to Dec. 1, 2022, which is up over 33 percent of the same time frame the previous year. It has been a great year for Gainesville as a community and for the [GACOC]."
These businesses have included a wide variety of services. There have been bigger companies like T-Mobile and Wing Stop opening Gainesville locations, small downtown shops just getting started and everything in-between.
According to a report from ERSI on Nov. 11 of this year shared on the Gainesville Economic Development Corporation (GEDC) website, Gainesville has 972 businesses.
"This, to me, is about giving back to my family... I'm doing this for you guys, because of everything you've done for me," said Carrie Strom, the owner of Sweet Jayne's Bakery before the opening of its new location in June. "I've done it all on my own, and the reason I've been able to do this so quickly is because of the support that I've received."
"I grew up in Gainesville... and I'd like to see Gainesville grow in the right direction," said Charlie Howe in November. Howe and his wife Rachel are the owners of The Man Upstairs, which opened earlier this year, and The Ritz, which opened last year. "I think it's important to give back to where you came from, and we need to build up some pride in this town."
"Downtown, we've seen more of a shift towards shopping locally," said the owner of Cahoots Handbags Paige Davidson in early November. "We see more people taking advantage of our local shops. We've also seen more traffic coming into Gainesville, day trippers from Dallas and Fort Worth, people who are headed to Winstar and will stop by Gainesville and shop downtown or they'll come in for a girl's weekend at one of the bed and breakfasts here... eat lunch and head to one of the wineries in the area. It's exciting to see that growth."
Bursting all over?
Gainesville is not just growing from the standpoint of small businesses downtown. There is also continued opportunity for other businesses.
The GEDC website lists a variety of location advantages for businesses coming to Gainesville (gainesvilletxedc.com/site-selection-toolbox/location-advantages), including the proximity and availability of both Interstate 35 and US 82, the BNSF railroad, the Gainesville Municipal Airport and the Gateway Industrial Park on the site of the old Camp Howze army base.
The website also touts Gainesville as having a strong workforce with 22 percent being in manufacturing. This is credited in part to North Central Texas College's customized career and technical education programs.
There are also many opportunities for continued growth in the future, which the City Council is encouraging. At a meeting Tuesday evening, the council approved a Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone (TIRZ) in the northwest part of Gainesville — a development that may well bring 300 new jobs to the city.