The Altus Southwest Area Economic Development Corporation, or EDC met Thursday for a regular monthly session.
Chairman Jim Gover, board members Marty Clinton, Kendal Hurst, Chris Riffle, Kevin Martin, Jason Winters, Jed Winters, Steve Allison, Mayor Jack Smiley and City Manager Janice Cain attended.
The board approved changes to the minutes from the April 20 session, the finance and treasurer’s report, and payment of monthly payables and claims from April 12 through May 11 in the amount of $56,214.
According to Winters, the EDC contributed $8,000 to the Rock and Rumble Car Show that took place May 5-6 in addition to donations given by local businesses and individuals.
“The EDC does a lot in the background on these community events, and there is still this persistent perception that we don’t do much,” Gover said. “Going forward we want to let people know exactly what it is we’re doing.”
“If people don’t know who you are or why you do what you do, you’re irrelevant,” Riffle said.”We need to make sure people know that.”
Members of the EDC are working with property owners to attract other retail opportunities to fill retail space open now or that will become available in the coming months.
The EDC gains membership in the Great Plains Country Association through a $5,000 tourism promotion grant and receives a two-page travel guide spread, access to two travel shows and participation in a brochure co-operative.
“This is a very appealing place for folks in the Dallas metroplex to get away for a while,” EDC Director Brian Bush said. “We market Altus as a family getaway or a weekend with the girls or guys through our brochures — Base Camp Altus and Destination Charm — to get people eating in our restaurants, staying in our hotels and shopping in our stores.”
Bush said he hopes to market the Altus Plaza shopping center at a retail convention in Las Vegas later this month because it will losing JC Penney, Factory Connection and Zales.
“We want to show other retailers that this is not an Altus problem,” Bush said. “All three stores closing in that area are national brands that have national problems.”
Marketing materials created by a local graphic designer have been used in travel shows to market Altus as a tourist destination.
In addition to attracting retailers to Altus, the Bush said he has plans to branch out and seek industrial companies and manufacturers.
Though he said he would not turn away a larger company, Bush said he believes medium-sized companies will provide job opportunities without causing the economy to rely on one corporation.
“We have focused a lot on retail and restaurants, and we won’t give that up, but we want to shift our focus to industry and manufacturing,” Bush said.
Reach Katrina Goforth at 580-482-1221, ext. 2077.