TEXARKANA — Despite looming recession threats, local economic leaders expressed confidence in the Texarkana region’s resilience in a difficult financial climate, as well as in the Twin Cities’ ability to attract new industries.
AR-TX REDI President and CEO Rob Sitterley said his office hasn’t seen a decline in investment interest in the region.
“In many communities our size, that would certainly be the case. However, we do things differently in Texarkana, USA, which makes our region incredibly competitive regardless of economic trends,” he said. he declares. “Our economic development marketing and outreach efforts over the past two years have made our region more visible than ever before.”
Several companies from various industries around the world are still contacting AR-TX REDI about possible investment in the region, Sitterley said.
“We have a lot to promote and be proud of in our region, and the rest of the country and the world is quickly getting the message,” he said.
The region’s location is another feather in Texarkana’s hat in terms of economic interest, according to Sitterley.
“When it comes to businesses in our region’s target industries – advanced manufacturing, defense, logistics and distribution, medical services – Texarkana is in our very own ‘Goldilocks Zone.’ Our region has world-class road and rail transportation, and our central location allows us to be close to suppliers and consumers across the country,” he said.
In addition, the region’s low cost of living also attracts new businesses.
“Our cost of living and doing business is among the lowest in the country, and we’re home to two of the best public university systems in the country, as well as a cutting-edge manufacturing school at our top-ranked community college, which expertly train the next generation of talent,” he said.
Denis Washington, acting president of the Texarkana USA Chamber of Commerce, echoed that sentiment. He said the current economic climate should not deter new businesses from targeting the region.
“Companies already want to come to our area because it’s a low-cost market,” he said. “It’s already significantly less than in metro areas. The most important key is finding the workforce and whether a company will bring that workforce with them or hire locally in Texarkana.”
Rail space and the airport are also attracting industry, according to Washington.
Despite the benefits to the region, inflation and rising cost of goods have caused some companies to be timid about growth. Sitterley said his organization prepared for this hurdle with multiple incentives.
“The affordability of our region demonstrates tremendous value for business, especially at a time when commodity costs have risen as they have. REDI and our economic development partners at the local government and state include the costs associated with building a facility, and we have a series of incentives to offset a lot of that expense,” he said.
Eligible projects will have the opportunity to receive cash grants for training new employees, reduced utility rates, local and state tax abatements and credits, and free land, he said. .
“The bottom line is that there will always be businesses that are a perfect fit for our community. In a case where businesses are scaling back their expansion plans aimed at a larger, more expensive community, Texarkana might now be the perfect fit,” did he declare. .
Both Washington and Sitterley said they have seen these kinds of economic conditions before and are confident Texarkana can weather the storm.
“Well, just in my past experience as a commercial banker for 35 years in Texarkana, we’ve seen these circumstances happen before, and Texarkana keeps spinning,” Washington said. “It hasn’t deterred us from doing business in retail or car dealerships. Texarkana, Nacogdoches and Paris have shown to be quite resilient during tough times. Other markets are struggling, but we continue right away.”
Sitterley said his previous job in Florida, shortly after the 2008 recession, prepared him to be effective during tumultuous times. He said in this role he was relentless in seeking new business opportunities for the region.
“REDI and its partners pursue opportunities with the same level of relentlessness, along with innovative strategies that continue to bring economic success to the region,” he said. “Regardless of an expanding or contracting economy, there will always be opportunities for those who pursue them with strategy and focus.”