“Let’s give them something to talk about

A little mystery to figure out

Let’s give them something to talk about

How about ....”

... what’s going to happen next (with apologies to Bonny Raitt and songwriter Shirley Eikhard who assured us in 1991 that love is the conversation point).

But in El Campo there’s lots to talk about – new businesses, a new tourism destination coming, apartments, the possibility of a rail-fed warehouse and the jobs it might bring coming soon – and pushing everything forward to a Shop LOCAL! campaign credited with increasing sales taxes.

With all these efforts, “The future ain’t what it used to be,” to borrow the phrase from Mr. Yogi Berra.

It’s hard to pinpoint where the effort started.

Was it a hard-working City Development Chief wrangling with corporations to have them relocate here?

Or how about the hiring of retail recruitment firm Retail Strategies Inc.?

Or maybe it was the entrepreneurial spirit of several residents willing to risk all to bring us more choices in shopping, dining and the like.

It’s all pretty dern impressive if you ask me.

El Campo seems to be in the midst of reinventing itself from a somewhat sleepy ag community to one strong in all branches of the economy – industrial/commercial, retail, ag and tourism – while still making sure it’s a downright tolerable place to live.

Almost sounds like the place I’ve read about in the late 1940s and throughout the 1950s in the old pages of the Citizen and the News – that would be the El Campo Citizen and the El Campo News.

I wasn’t around then – in El Campo or anywhere else for that matter – but from what I’ve read this town was a kind of business and cultural hub then.

There were multiple grocery and dry goods stores, assorted specialty stores, three to four movie theaters, a whole wad of restaurants, cafes, bars, pool and dance halls to keep folks busy.

And, from the sounds of it there were plenty of places to find a job from oil and ag to assorted small industries.

And something called the Green Castle – I’m not entirely sure what that was, but it sounds mighty impressive – as well as some sort of cafe near St. Philip’s with a talking crow as a mascot for the lunch gang.

Now that’s different.

Fact is El Campo sure did sound like it had a whole lot more to offer then business-wise than it does right now. People spent their whole Saturday’s shopping downtown, for example. You just didn’t zip up the road to Houston, Rosenberg or Victoria as people so often do now. That mindset is changing as transformations take place almost every month now, however, and it sure is interesting to watch.

It may not be long before we recapture those halcyon days and quite frankly surpass them.

Now that’s exciting.

Jobs are coming. Families too and more places to live are on the way as well.

Makes you wonder what’s next and one thing’s for certain – people are talking.

– Shannon Crabtree is editor & publisher of the El Campo Leader-News.

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