City of Commerce (TX) – Economic Development Strategic Plan

ChallengeCommerce is in an enviable economic development position having many of the necessary ingredients for long-term success: home to Texas A&M University-Commerce, proximate to the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex, and host to a significant industrial base, including Tyco Healthcare, Zurn Pex, Alliance Carpet Cushion, and Hydro Aluminum Metal Products. The community also enjoys an authentic downtown, nearby recreation opportunities at area lakes, and an attractive gateway to the community along Highway 50 from Interstate 30. And, a booming population on the western side of Hunt County indicates that growth from the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex will ultimately begin to affect Commerce. At the same time, Commerce also faces numerous challenges, including a shortage of adequate housing options, a lack of retail and entertainment options, an aging infrastructure, an insufficient supply of available industrial sites, and a limited tax base. These challenges will be compounded as pending suburbanization spreads eastward from the Metroplex placing additional strains on city services.

ApproachRecognizing these challenges and opportunities, a coalition of the City of Commerce, the Commerce Economic Development Corporation, Texas A&M University-Commerce, Commerce ISD, the Commerce Chamber, and the Commerce Leadership Institute, hired TIP Strategies, Inc. to assist in crafting a response. The findings and recommendations for the plan were based on the review of existing economic and demographic data, site tours, stakeholder interviews, community visioning session with the city council, focus group meetings, and workshops with the project steering committee.

OutcomeTIP identified several opportunities for New Braunfels to develop a long-term strategy to attract and retain talent. These strategies include increasing access to higher education; leveraging the area’s robust tourism marketing for talent attraction; engaging young professionals in the community; reconnecting with former residents; and harnessing the community’s dedication to volunteering. While TIP’s research did not reveal a vast generation gap in New Braunfels, it did provide insight into what matters to workers and residents as New Braunfels continues to grow. Armed with this knowledge, area leaders can make more informed decisions about education and training, city planning, economic development, and talent management. Ultimately, this will better position New Braunfels to keep current talent and attract future talent that area employers need to help the community remain competitive and vibrant.

TIP Contact Tom Stellman

Photo credit Discontenthearts

Photo credit Matthew Rutledge

Photo credit Discontenthearts