Those that have driven down Buddy Riley Boulevard in the Magnolia Town Center lately have probably seen a big white and red sign proclaiming 'Coming Soon - Tractor Supply.'
Paul Mendes, City Administrator, expects construction to begin by the end of this month. This is the second large national retailer to build within the city limits, with the first being Walgreen's on FM 1488, which opened last fall.
Tana Ross, Magnolia's newly hired economic development coordinator, believes this is just the beginning for Magnolia. She discussed how a commitment by TxDOT to improve area thouroughfares will have a wide impact on the city. She feels new homes and businesses will follow close behind.
"Our population will be exploding," she said. "Magnolia truly is at the crossroads of progress."
Only two months into her job, Ross has been bombarded with calls and emails from people interested in Magnolia – developers, entrepreneurs and national retailers.
The city is ready for them.
Over the past two years, the city has developed a comprehensive plan to guide its inevitable growth, while maintaining the rural charm of the town. It has annexed heavily and expanded its extraterritorial jurisdiction in order to be poised for progress.
Officials say they have prepared by working to develop its infrastructure, so that city services will be able to expand ahead of the population.
The 4A Economic Development Board has worked hard to reach out to interested businesses and provide them with information to help them decide if they want to locate here.
Then the businesses contact the city to proceed with the next steps in the process.
"Businesses are coming in," said Ross.
Statewide grocery chain Arlen's Market, which is family-owned and headquartered in Seabrook, will be opening on the present site of Food Basket on FM 1488 in July.
"They have high-quality items and an upscale deli and they say they try to treat their employees like friends," said Ross. "Their philosophy goes with the great community spirit that Magnolia has."
Ross, who has worked with Magnolia since 2008 through the economic development office, stressed that the city is not just about business, but also wants to provide a high quality of life for the residents.
The 4B Community Development Board promotes city events and works to engage organizations that will cultivate community involvement. Over the next year, five such events are planned: three on the Stroll, led by the Magnolia Stroll Committee and two at the Depot, headed by the Magnolia Historical Society. She emphasized that all events promoted by the city are free and family-friendly.
Ross said that the city already has that schedule lined up through May of 2014. The events include: Stroll thru the Renaissance, Sept. 28, Hometown Christmas, Dec. 14, Mardi Gras on the Stroll, March 1, Depot Day, April 19 and Corks & Canvas on the Stroll, May 2.
In addition, there will be a Fourth of July Celebration in Unity Park this year and the Magnolia Chamber of Commerce will sponsor a Christmas parade (held the same day as Hometown Christmas) and barbeque cook-off in the spring.
Ross mentioned that the Love Bug Festival, originally scheduled for earlier this month, had to be cancelled due to a problem with the event vendor, but the city hopes to reinstate it next year.
The city also regularly hosts a breakfast or luncheon for realtors and developers. The next one is a luncheon on July 25 at City Hall. Call 281-356-2266 for information.