The Commerce Journal

July 31, 2013

CEDC director talks about role in developing industry

By Joseph Hamrick
The Commerce Journal

COMMERCE — Commerce Economic Development Corporation Executive Director Bonnie Hunter said although she was hired as a Type A director, she is remaining neutral in the recent Type A and Type B corporation discussion.

“I am neutral in this,” she said. “I was hired in this position. Right now the EDC is a Type A corporation and so I’m hired to do a job for them.”

Hunter said though it is not her primary job to go out and recruit retail or restaurants, she has helped answer questions from businesses that would be considered Type B.

“In this position of trying to recruit industry to Commerce, I also deal with restaurants that may call or retail; people that have questions, they’ll contact me,” she said. “If they’re looking for a piece of property, I do everything in my power to help them or to put them into contact with a specific property owner if that’s what they’re looking for.”

Hunter said even as a Type A director, she is able to work with Type B corporations.

“We can still help with infrastrcucture, we can work on marketing for them, we can work on job training for them,” she said. “We’ve always been able to do those things.”

According to Hunter, the land the CEDC has purchased over the years has had industrial development in mind, which is not prime real estate for retail or restaurants.

“The land that we own, the land that the EDC owns is not prime property for restaurants or retail,” she said. “They’re not going to want to put a restaurant out there in front of Hydro. We don’t own property out here along the main strip that is conducive for those type of [businesses].”

The CEDC is also a part of the Northeast Texas Economic Alliance, which is a conglomerate of EDC’s that recruit businesses from out of state.

Hunter said that alliance has been beneficial for Commerce to be partnered with.

With the United States on its way out of the Great Recession, Hunter said Commerce will soon follow suit.

“It’s definitely challenging right now, but when you think about the economic times, we’re on the uphill,” she said. “Things are starting to improve in all areas economically. I’m hoping that some of these efforts will start to generate some jobs in our community.”

The most recent acquisition made by the CEDC is the 26,500 sq. ft. Chogie Manufacturing building off Highway 11.

Hunter said the building is in good shape and will be a big asset for her to use when recruiting businesses to Commerce.

“We’re just hoping to drum up business,” she said. “Hopefully, somebody will be interested in Commerce. We’re excited.”

Hunter said no matter what happens with the Type A or B discussion, bringing in jobs will take the entire community banding together.

“It’s going to take a community effort, whatever we do,” she said. “Whether it’s to bring in manufacturing or to bring in retail and restaurants. We all want the same things.”