• 48°

Bridge City’s amazing turn around

BRIDGE CITY — Evelyn Brandon, assistant director with the Bridge City Chamber of Commerce makes it her business is to know what’s going on in the city.

In spite of being devastated by Hurricane Ike, the city is not only bringing back former businesses, but bringing in new ones as well. She is also receiving inquiries from people interested in moving to Bridge City.

“We’re down, but not out. Just look at Bridge City,” Brandon said.

Some of the new businesses that have opened in Bridge City include Chicken Express, Senor Toro, Kim Wah Chinese buffet, Walgreen’s Pharmacy, Trend’s — a new gift shop, and La Quinta Inns and Suites.

Mike Nortman is a managing partner of the Sonic Drive-In in Bridge City. His business partner, Gary McCarty, is opening a Chicken Express on Texas Ave. He opened one in Lumberton and this will be his second. A third is scheduled to be built on Nall St. in Port Neches at either the end of 2009 or early 2010.

Nortman said Chicken Express features fried chicken and chicken tenders — hand-tossed and breaded. The restaurant will also serve iced tea by the gallon and sides such as cole slaw and mashed potatoes.

The projected completion date is Feb. 1, 2009, weather permitting. Construction was put on hold for 30 days after the storm, but after McCarty saw the Bridge City community coming back, particularly 80 percent of students reporting back to school the first day, he decided to continue with his plans.

Mike Doubt, assistant manager of Walgreen’s at Texas Ave. and Roundbunch Rd. said when Hurricane Ike hit, they wanted to open more than ever.

“Our managers were more determined to open. They were pushing construction to end and we opened up two weeks later. We wanted to open because there was no other place to go except to Orange and other places. We’ve been planning to come here for two years,” Doubt said.

Walgreen’s construction began April 2007 and opened for business on Nov. 21. The store received 16 inches of water inside and they had to replace sheet rock, but fortunately for them, they didn’t have any stock on the shelves at the time.

“We’re glad to be finally opened and the community response has been great,” he said.

Brandon said some of the businesses returning or who have returned to town include:

• McDonald’s

• Florida Tans

• Dairy Queen

• Gary’s Coffee Shop

• Taco Bell

dball@panews.com