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Old 07-15-2013, 05:10 PM
15 posts, read 12,988 times
Reputation: 30


I've been reading this forum as a lurker the last 6 months, and have found a lot of the opinions and insight incredibly helpful. So, I thought I'd pose this question/situation to the board, and get your thoughts.............

First things first, I'm a native East Texan, having grown up in the Mt. Pleasant/Pittsburg area. I currently live in Austin (with my beautiful wife), and recently have begun entertaining the idea of getting closer to home. And, Tyler just seems like a natural fit. I miss the "authentic south" and the piney woods, and the warmth of the people. My background is in business, and for the better part of my adult life, I've been a serial entrepreneur. I love building and I love improving my surroundings. I am NOT an opportunist, and have no interest in a quick buck. Anything I do, I do right, and I do well, and I do high-quality.

I'm putting together a 2-3 year plan for moving to Tyler with my family. This would include relocating my current company, which is a sizable luxury goods company. More than just relocating though, I want to come to Tyler and give back. So, I wanted to find out for those who live in Tyler or recently have lived there.... What does Tyler "need"? What is it missing? What do you wish it had? What have you seen in other cities that you know would work in Tyler if someone would just build it, make it, start it? It can be anything. I have the funds and the expertise, or the ability to bring in the expertise, to do almost anything imaginable.

I took a visit out there recently with my wife and there seemed to be a lack of the following:

* Quality high-end restaurants
* Breakfast eateries
* Gastro Pubs / Brewhouses
* Quality sports bars
* Wine bars
* Coffee bars
* Local chic/hip clothing boutiques (especially for ladies)

If you're not familiar with a gastro pub or a brewhouse, it's essentially a quaint, high-quality pub that specializes in really good food (not bar food, and doesn't have to be expensive) and offers 50-125 beers on tap and in bottle (lots of microbrews, foreign beers, etc). Examples would be Meddlesome Moth in Dallas, and Pinthouse Pizza, Black Star, and Hopfields in Austin. Hopdoddy's would also be a great example of the merging of high-quality food and an excellent beer selection, in hip environment.

Also, there doesn't seem to be a district or area filled with quaint boutiques, sidewalk cafes, restaurants, creative retail shops, wine bars, etc. In other words, there wasn't anything to draw people to the city center. To my eye, it seems that everything is confined to strip malls, and not overly attractive strip malls at that. I'm not a fan of strip malls in general. I like restored old buildings or new buildings that are architecturally appealing.

What ideas/thoughts do y'all have? What would/wouldn't work? Would you want an area with wide sidewalks, covered in shade trees, and dotted with outdoor cafes, cute/hip local clothing stores, restaurants, etc? Would people even visit and shop? If you had a magic wand and could add anything to Tyler, what would it be? Are there any businesses that are greatly needed, but either don't exist, or don't exist in great quantity?

Thank you for your thoughts and insight. I'm in the preliminary stages of fact-finding/idea building. But, your ideas could result in tens of millions of economic development in Tyler in highly desired, high need areas.
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Old 07-16-2013, 07:50 PM
2,621 posts, read 3,548,535 times
Reputation: 1502
Man, what a thread. Where to start. Not boasting but probably since Tyler information is my life long hobby, with an exception of a 20-25 years "stint" in Houston, but family still here to visit and keep up with Tyler those years I'm close to an "expert on Tyler" now, lol.
Again, where to start, first, I like your ideas, Tyler has a little of the "things" you talk about, the "districts" would be very small compared to Austin. First, have you read up on the "talking stage" of things to come for Tyler? Most have been brought up on the threads here.

One thing you should maybe know. the city would give you tax abatements that all cities would with just a few like maybe 50 high paying jobs promised. Of course most any city would do that. Tyler prefers to have the lowest city property tax rate, you've maybe heard me say, of .20 per hundred evaluation. But not sales tax money and very little property tax money for economic development.

Two threads below, Major New Development. and other Maybe, will explain in detail some of what I comments on above.

Tyler, as you know, just went "wet" beer/wine by and large 72-28 vote. Liquor later. Sales taxes from that will save the city for a year, then, I think they will be in trouble, sles taxes are not nearly back to where they were pre-recession, the average receipts in Texas are much higher than prior recessions

Important, Tyler is really not growing now, last couple of years like many Texas cities,Tyler has lost thousands of manufacturing jobs. The healthcare field had "carried " Tyler for years, which has now slowed down to "flat" at best, new laws, retirees are not retiring here as before or to other areas in the numbers they once did. The term, is Retiring In Place, you've probably heard.

Now, before the bad recession, Tyler was being considerd for a huge development on the West Loop across from the Hollywood Theaters, a developer out of Arizonia, was to build something like The Villages of Plano, not the exact name 7 years ago, a complete mixuse development somewhat like you talked, homes, townhomes, retail with the living quarters above, pedestrian areas, with parks, patios for the restuarants.

Next to the Cascades across Bellwood Lake was to be a 16-22 story condo facing the lake with a park. These had gone thru all the zoning approvals etc. Behind it yet another developer had plans for 5, 16-22 story condos with at a least 4Star Hotel with a large conference center. All fell apart with the recession. None of this is being talked about with the exception of a 250 room Marriot with 27,000 sq ft conference center near Loop 49 on S. Broadway talked about on here. You see the plans for the largest development in 30 years, on a recent thread, should start in the next few months. Just trying to show you all the things planned/hoped for that I know about.

There is no big money to pour into downtown Tyler, a few things have been done, with a promise for a few more, not real major, and a promise to do something to the Tyler Theater, at this time untold as to what.

Now, what the Tom Mullins Economice Development has said for years, Tyler losses more that 20,000 convention vistors each year. The city by citizen vote in 1995 can not spend money on one, or any other direct job maker, yes the tax abatements, not much more.

The upscale shops, which I have heard about, don't shop, lol, are on OLd Bullard Road in a small development just West of "the mall". Just recently the talk has been that alot upper end folks are spending there maney in Dallas, DFW The talk this week was how can we change that trend.

In the last month an upscale sports/piano bar is being carefully planned on Old Jacksonville Highway where much more upsale stuff is going in. They hope to get acts from DFW and New Orleans can't remember the name but something new to Tyler.

A brewhouse, I don't get out much, but BJ's seems to be popular. But that is not what your talking about, most likely. I'm getting tired. I'm sure I have other ideas. And I bet or hope others will respond.

Tyler does have thousands of folks with lots of money. More than 38,000 people attend events at The Cowen Center on the UT Tyler Campus each year. Last year three performances by The Blue Man Group were sold out, so they came back this year for three more performances. so there is money to be spent here. You can contact me directly if you questions, I will try to answer, this is such a wide open thread, that even I am overwhelmed, lol. We need you !!

Two older threads will explain more what I refer to above.

Major New Delvelopment and the other intitled Maybe.

Last edited by Mark Senior; 07-16-2013 at 08:01 PM..
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Old 07-17-2013, 04:59 PM
33 posts, read 58,382 times
Reputation: 28
Interesting questions. Mark has probably given the business owner's view of Tyler. Mine would strictly be from the viewpoint of a long time resident (born and raised here).

Quality high end restaurants - there are two or three (Bernard's and possibly Currents) that might be considered "high end". From my observations, it seems Tyler is more into casual dining. If they want "fancy" dining they go to Dallas.
Breakfast eateries - IHOP, The Diner and The Egg and I come to mind. Don't know that there would be support for anymore.
Gastro pubs/Brewhouses - Since Tyler has come out of the "dark" ages and we can now drink within the city limits, I think something like this would do well. Location would be important for success.
Quality sports bars - is there such a thing? Sorry.
Wine Bars - I suppose there is one here already, KE Winery, or something like that. They sell their own label of wine and offer tastings daily, sometimes with live entertainment.
Coffee Bars - This has been tried I think. There were a couple of coffee bars downtown. One went out of business and the other seemed to be doing really well until it suddenly closed due to the owners desire to retire. We have the ever present Starbucks and a small coffee house, Cafe Tazza, in an upscale shopping area behind the mall. It was doing well but recently changed owners so I don't know the current status. I've often wondered if a Cafe du Monde type place would succeed, especially with outside dining.
Chic/Hip Clothing Boutiques - Again I think the folks that would frequent this kind of place would go to Dallas to shop at Neiman's, Nordstrum's or the upscale markets there. There are a few small shops such as Bridgettes, Harley's for men, Mary B's. I don't shop there but those stores have been around quite some time so I suppose someone is spending money with them.

There was some talk a few years ago about making a part of the downtown area west of the plaza into an Arts District. It's an area where many of the car dealerships were located until they moved out to the Loop area. Some of those empty buildings have been torn down now. Downtown is not vibrant at all despite it being a rather attractive area. Nothing much happens down there after 5:00 other than some restaurant business. It seems the "brickstreet" and azalea districts would be a drawing point for some small cafes, etc. I don't know that it has been tried and failed or if a concept like that would attract enough business to succeed. Lunchtime downtown seems busy. I wonder if a taco or food truck type business would succeed.

As for businesses Tyler needs. IMO we need a large grocery store chain to come to town - H.E.B. or a nice, new Kroger's would give our local Brookshire's some competition and offer citizens a chance to shop somewhere besides Brookshire's or Wal Mart. Brookshire's would never allow it though.

A Water Park would be nice. A new modern bowling alley. Currently there is just one in town and the leagues monopolize it. Can't think of much else to say.
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Old 07-31-2013, 11:50 PM
Location: Bel Aire, KS
506 posts, read 1,270,666 times
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Biggest Mexican restaurant apparently closed down according to my brother. It was probably one of the few restaurants in the area that served alcohol at night so it was packed. Have no idea why that restaurant suddenly closed down. I grew up on and off in Tyler so can tell you they do need new places. Problem is restaurants aren't exactly profitable with a narrow profit margin.
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Old 08-01-2013, 07:19 AM
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Hi, when were you last in Tyler? Alcohol being served at night, do you mean after midnite or 1 am, because beer, wine, hard stuff, has been served for well over 20 years in restaurants, bars, clubs. Just recently beer and wine sales were approved for sell in food stores, etc.

You were speaking of El Charo, probably, not the biggest in Tyler, by any measure, but it was open for 69 years. I don't know if they sold alcohol or not, had not been there in 30 years?
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Old 09-24-2013, 05:25 PM
Location: Connecticut
274 posts, read 443,942 times
Reputation: 272
I just started looking at Tyler as a possible relocation area. FWIW the first retail shops I Googled were Cabalas, Bass Pro Shops, Gander Mountain and Tractor Supply Co. I prefer outdoor activities that I can actively participate in. I really like the restaurant at Cabalas with their wild game items. I have always thought a more upscale version of this with wines, microbrew beers and a larger selection of wild game dishes would be really interesting.
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Old 09-25-2013, 11:17 AM
2,621 posts, read 3,548,535 times
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Tyler has Gander Mountain and Tractir Supply Co. Cabalas, Bass Pro Shops are in the DFW area 1 1/2 to 2 hour Drive. What else is important to you in a possible relocation? Are you retired?
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Old 09-25-2013, 06:15 PM
Location: Connecticut
274 posts, read 443,942 times
Reputation: 272
Originally Posted by Mark Senior View Post
Tyler has Gander Mountain and Tractir Supply Co. Cabalas, Bass Pro Shops are in the DFW area 1 1/2 to 2 hour Drive. What else is important to you in a possible relocation? Are you retired?
I like fishing, boating, hunting, target shooting (not shooting the department store) archery, bicycling, hiking, backpacking, nature photography, and similar activities. It looks like there are plenty of areas around Tyler for those activities. Stores like Gander Mountain are good to find the gear for those activities.

I am looking at moving to a state (maybe Texas) where it is still possible to find affordable land suitable for a small farm. I enjoy gardening and raising some livestock so a store like Tractor Supply Company is a good place to find the things I would need for that. I see several posts here about a bicycling group in Tyler which is a definite plus for me. It means I could meet people with similar interests. The only person I'm likely to meet riding a bicycle where I live now is God (after I get run over).

The Texas State Fair is one of my bucket list items so I would definitely go there at least once. I also try to visit the local museums at least once. I am single but I don't do the bar scene. I will go out for an occasional beer but I don't hang around a bar all night hoping to meet someone. I am a computer/network/electronic tech but I can live off my military pension if necessary.
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