In August of 2014, my wife and I relocated to the city of Palestine. We didn't have family or friends in the immediate area to draw us here. We just liked the community.
Also, our kids lived in Texas – Houston, Austin, and other spots. Palestine was centrally located in the state to the different places they lived.
When we came to Texas to visit out kids, we would drive through Palestine. We liked what we saw and didn't want to live in a big city. So we decided to move here.
Another plus, we thought, was that Palestine or nearby Tyler didn't have a local flag business. We thought the city would be a good location to relocate our flag and flagpole business, which started in 1996 in Saginaw, Mich.
We purchased a home in Palestine and brought our business with us. Once we were settled, I began to call on the local businesses, chamber of commerce, visitors' center, car dealerships, banks, newspaper, real estate, churches, hospital, schools, city and county government – any place that had a flagpole outside of its facility. I introduced myself and left a price list for USA and Texas flags.
From August 2014 until Dec. 31, 2018, our total sales here, to just four customers – one of which is no longer in business – came to $1,847.
During the same period, our sales in New Braunfels, Texas, (Population: 57,000) were $32,000. That's more than 60 times the business in a city about three times as large as Palestine.
As I look around Anderson County and see all the empty commercial buildings that once were thriving successful businesses, I am beginning to see a pattern.
If the people and leaders of this community don't support the businesses that are here, those businesses will either go out of business or do as I did. I sold my business at the end of last year.
The new owner is a resident of New Braunfels. From now on, the sales taxes the new owner collects will benefit Comal County and the city of New Braunfels – not this community.
I feel sorry for any new small business that tries to become established in this town.