Business owners say ETX economy's pulse is beating strong - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

Business owners say ETX economy's pulse is beating strong


After years of bad news about the economy, things are finally looking up.

A few industries, like housing and automobiles, have seen a lot of business lately. Sales in those markets often indicate how comfortable people feel financially, and business owners in East Texas say they can tell the economy is beating strong.

Jion Dietz at Fixture This in Tyler sells pretty things that can cost a pretty penny. In her 11 years of business, this is one she'll be glad to remember

"We've seen a lot of new orders coming through," she says.

Those lighting and hardware orders are placed by homeowners who have money to spend on things they want and not just things they need.

"It seems like everybody is a lot stronger economically and willing to spend some of their money on prettier things... upgrading here... upgrading there, instead of just going with utilitarian items in certain places," says Dietz.

Some of the chandeliers sold at Fixture This end up in custom homes like the ones Jason Campbell is building all over East Texas.

"You can tell a lot more confidence in people... a lot more assurance as well. Instead of, 'I'm going to look at getting it done,' it's, 'I'm going to get it done. When can you meet?'" says Campbell.

Campbell says East Texas home builders have made it out of one of the worst slumps he has seen.

"God saw us through our part. The government was not in charge of our business, God was, and we got through just fine," says Campbell.

He adds that things could get even better for home builders if interest rates would stay right where they are now.

In Longview, another industry is seeing significant growth.

"We're probably up 20-25 percent from last year. People are making a decision on-hand instead of having to think about it. That just lets me know that the economy is getting better," says Fenton Honda General Manager Paul Manziel.

Manziel says manufacturers are putting out more cars, which is giving him more inventory.

"We're benefiting from that and so are the customers," he says.

Consumers' willingness to make investments in large purchases like cars and homes is indicative of a strengthening economy.

Sales tax revenues have also been increasing. The City of Tyler says their sales tax figures are up 4.6 percent from this time last year.

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