Taking Care of Business: Business booming at the conference center

By Kristen Tribe | Published Saturday, May 26, 2018
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Decatur Conference Center

Decatur Conference Center. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

“How many times are we eating dinner at the conference center this month?” It’s become a running joke at my house because almost every local banquet, fundraiser or holiday party is held at the Decatur Conference Center.

It’s an incredibly popular location to hold events, and its revenues reflect that.

Decatur City Manager Brett Shannon said on a cash basis, receipts were $469,901.54, and expenditures were $555,416.04, which represents 85 percent coverage. On the accrual side, there’s 93 percent coverage.

This is almost unheard of for a city-run facility such as this.

Conference Center Director Lori Sherwood said since January, she’s up $15,000 to $20,000 in sales. She’s currently at $62,000 in sales for the month of May.

“The civic center is doing remarkably well,” Shannon said.

He also informed the EDC that the Fairfield Inn and Suites, next to the Conference Center, was completely booked during the Texas Scottish Festival and Highland Games, and it’s expected to be packed again next weekend for the JW Hart PBR Challenge.

A grand opening celebration is planned for June 28, 4:30 to 7:30 p.m.


EDC Director Thom Lambert said QuikTrip construction should start soon. The store will be located at the corner of Hale Street and U.S. 81/287.

He also noted “the restaurant project” is still on track. We should know more about this in July. One thing I do know: It’s not Chick-fil-A.

The old Frilly’s site on U.S. 81/287 has a new broker, and a 380 agreement is in the works with Orscheln Farm and Home, which will be located across from Lowe’s in Decatur.

Lambert also reported progress is being made on Eagles Landing Business Park. A pre-construction meeting was recently held with McMahon Contracting, the company awarded the contract to build the infrastructure at the park.

In other news, the EDC board currently has an open, at-large position. Jay Davidson held that seat, but after being elected to city council, he was appointed to a council board position. That seat was vacated by former city council member Cary Bohn, who did not seek re-election. (Confused yet? I guess you had to be there.)

Bohn also stepped down from the EDC and was recognized at this week’s meeting.


Nathan Byers of Bridgeport, a Modern Woodmen of America representative, recently completed a five day educational program at Modern Woodmen’s home office in Rock Island, Ill.

The program focused on comprehensive financial services for families and small businesses. Using a computer software program, participants studied the impact of Social Security benefits and inflation on financial plans.

In addition, they learned the benefits of incorporating mutual funds and variable products, where appropriate, when evaluating financial needs and goals.


During community forum in this week’s Decatur EDC meeting, City Secretary Diane Cockrell jokingly called out, “I vote for Chick-fil-A.”

I second that!

Economic development disclaimer: The EDC board doesn’t get to pick and choose which franchises come to town, although they wish they could.

Days without Chick-fil-A in Wise County (starting in 2018): 146.

Kristen Tribe is the assistant publisher of the Messenger. If you have a tip for TCB, email it to or call 940-627-5987.

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