Decatur features a favorable business climate with a low cost of living, competitive wages and minimal property taxes which translates to an extremely attractive operating environment for business and industry. Target Industries include those that benefit from these attributes. Two of Decatur’s targets, manufacturing and transportation and distribution, thrive with the excellent road infrastructure and proximity to the Dallas-Ft. Worth Metroplex, which is one of the most important manufacturing hubs within Texas. The third target, health care services, can easily build on the existing base and need for more extensive offerings as the population builds. Retail recruitment as the last target shows an urgent need for more selection as the community grows. A greater selection in retail offerings allows more of the community’s dollars to stay right in the community.
During the past decade, manufacturing has thrived in Decatur. Between 2008 and 2013, manufacturing employment increased nearly 20%. On a per capita basis, Decatur has several relatively concentrated manufacturing sectors. The city’s proximity to both the Dallas-Fort Worth Metro and the Barnett Shale provides Decatur opportunities in oil and gas equipment, transportation equipment and materials (e.g., metal working, components manufacturing). Decatur’s plan for continued infrastructure development will support established companies and attract new ones. Decatur’s local education entities have developed programs to support the workforce needs of the local manufacturers, aligning skill set needs with curriculum. Commitments to infrastructure development and workforce development will continue to boost manufacturing as a target industry.
Transportation & Distribution
Already relatively concentrated as an industry in Decatur, transportation and distribution will continue to be a primary target. The strength of the local transportation and distribution industry reflects Decatur’s many supporting assets, including proximity to the Dallas-Fort Worth region, strong road and rail connections, and the Decatur Municipal Airport. Employment growth should be particularly strong until 2018 as a response to market demands. Desired prospects that will do well are trucking and aviation maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) operations.
Health Care Services
Decatur is the health care services hub of Wise County. Hospitals and physician and other medical professional offices are a leading health care services employer in Decatur. With nearly 2,200 workers, the health care services industry is 60% more concentrated in Decatur than the U.S. average. Facilities such as the Wise Regional Health System serve the region’s growing population. Decatur will continue to support this growth with the addition of health care degrees and certifications through the local education entities that will align with Wise Regional Health System’s employment needs. Decatur will focus on targeting the recruitment of more high-demand services, specialty services, and complementary services. This will allow Decatur to continue to serve the region’s health care needs.
Decatur is the epicenter for retail activity within Wise County. Expanding the depth and breadth of available retail options will further fuel this activity. Future retail expansion will be supported through efforts of the City of Decatur and the Decatur Economic Development Corporation. This support could be in the form of infrastructure assistance or in Chapter 380 Tax Agreements that would mitigate upfront establishment costs thus making the project more palatable for the retailer. Decatur’s specialty retailers such as offerings in western wear and artisan goods do well complementing the tourism hub Decatur has become with its beautiful downtown square, courthouse and Main Street program.