A task force made up of local business leaders has begun its work with the city to help strengthen Southlake’s business environment in the wake of COVID-19 impacts. The team has set strategic goals and has begun to implement recovery ideas, such as relaxing outdoor sales regulations, an idea City Council has already approved.
“We’re off to a great start,” said Mayor Pro Tem Shawn McCaskill, who is leading the team with Deputy Mayor Pro Tem John Huffman and Councilmember Chad Patton. “The group is energetic, motivated, and innovative. They’ve set strong goals, and we’re going to see solid things come out of this effort.”
The task force has prioritized its work with the following goals:
Restore the economy. Achieve economic prosperity through tax and employment base growth, attracting investment of private capital into our economy that grows jobs, creates opportunity, increases tax revenue.
Improve local economic health. Monitor and establish programs to promote economic health metrics equal or exceed pre-COVID19 levels in the following areas: foreclosure rates, commercial occupancy (office, retail, industrial), commercial permits, new business openings, business survival rates, sales tax revenue, local sales data, employment, daytime population, hotel occupancy, and hotel average daily rates.
Support businesses. Southlake is recognized as a city where the business community is valued and nurtured through support services which are relevant, helpful, welcoming, and delivered in a timely manner with superior customer service.
Collaborate for Success. The business community, in partnership with the City, will nurture the growth and prosperity of Southlake businesses.
Promote the Southlake Brand. Southlake is recognized as a safe, vibrant community where businesses thrive.
Promote Tourism. Southlake is recognized, both nationally and regionally, as a great place to visit for shopping, dining, recreation and overnight stays.
“We are so fortunate in Southlake to have the caliber of business professionals that are participating in this effort,” said John Huffman. “Their guidance of our work will be invaluable.”
Joining McCaskill, Huffman, and Patton as members of the Economic Recovery Task Force are:
Mimi Tran, Vice President – Frost Bank
Mark Jones, President- First Financial Bank
Justin Lewis, Owner – Procore Fitness
Ryan Peabody, Owner – The Peabody Law Firm
Dave Garner, Owner – Wildwood Grill
Martin Schelling, Partner – Conifer Real Estate & Community Enhancement & Development Corp. President
Christina Geyer, Director Editorial & Programming – Macy’s
Traci Bernard, President – Harris Methodist Hospital Southlake
Angela Bowers, M.D. – Southlake Dermatology
Tom DeCaro, Retired Retail Executive & Community Enhancement & Development Corp. Vice President
Daniel Kubiak, Managing Director – Invesco Real Estate
Mitch Allen, Owner – Hire Santa
Paul Barham, Chief Executive Officer – SRH Hospitality Group
Larry Marshall, Restaurant Industry Executive
Clayton Reed, Lead Pastor – Southlake Baptist Church
Mark Guilbert, President & CEO – Southlake Chamber of Commerce
Jeff Isler, President – Jeff Isler Golf
James Keoughan, Group Leader – Keoughan Group at Allie Beth Allman & Associates
Nicole Tesorio, Owner and Sales & Marketing Director – Southlake Style
“This team is already making things happen, but there is quite a bit of work ahead,” said Councilmember Patton. “I expect we’ll be leaning on their expertise for months to come.”
In addition to economic recovery, the city is also looking to restore public confidence with efforts related to public and open spaces, civic assets and community centers, city spirit, and philanthropy.