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Some Cali businesses interested in PA

Floyd Batiste, executive director of the Port Arthur Economic Development Corporation, may had not netted any businesses yet, but he definitely had some bites on his recent trip to Southern California.

Batiste and staff went to California in November to see if they could lure some businesses to relocate to Port Arthur where it’s cheaper to do business with less regulations than in California, he said.

They met with several decision-makers. In the end, Traveler’s Choice, a luggage company; Cal Tech Precision, an aerospace company; and Red Chamber Company who deals in seafood products, stressed some interest in coming to Texas.

The businesses were presented with an introductory letter why they should choose Port Arthur, Texas. Batiste said their goal is to recruit 10 businesses to come here.

Dallas Smith, a PAEDC director, asked what’s stopping the businesses from coming to Texas if they are interested.

Batiste said it takes a while to undo they ways one is accustomed to. A new law passed, however, may be working in Texas’ favor.

Proposition 9 will raise California’s minimum wage to $15. Already, workers making $15 are now asking for $18, those making $18 are asking for $21, etc.

“You can’t pass that cost on to the consumers,” Batiste said. “They need some relief.”

He cited as an example dot com businesses formerly in California moving to Austin, Texas.

“I think we’re on the right track. We’re doing it the old-fashioned way by sending out letters that explain why it’s cheaper to do business in Texas,” he said.

In other EDC business, the board passed spending $14,203 for six months starting in January 2017 for three billboards within Port Arthur to support Port Arthur Small Business Day.

The three boards will be located at Gulfway Drive and Sixth Avenue, Highway 69 and Regional Drive and Twin City Highway and Hogaboom Road.

RaNoda McClain-Lee, marketing manager/business recruitment, said this is a marketing campaign to target local businesses and to lure people to shop locally.

Batiste said the measuring stick for the billboards success rate will be looking at the monthly sales tax statistics.

Lastly, the board approved the application project of a letter of intent from Good Times next to the Baymont Hotel on Highway 73.

Owner Tony Nguyen wrote to the EDC they purchased the old Twin City Kia building at 7500 N. Twin City Highway. They plan to turn it into a seafood restaurant called Reel Cajun.

The total project for Reel Cajun is $1.7 million that will be financed by Community Bank of Texas. The total amount they are requesting from the PAEDC is $105,500.

David Ball: 409-721-2427