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Business

Old Town Spring Benefits From The Arrival Of New Businesses

At least 15 have opened in the last year. They represent different sectors of the local economy, such as restaurants and retail stores.

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Joe Macri, owner of The Italian Joint and The Black Sheep Bistro along with his wife Maria Gagis, talk with customers as they have lunch in The Black Sheep Bistro's patio.
Joe Macri (second from the right), owner of The Italian Joint and The Black Sheep Bistro along with his wife Maria Gagis, talk with customers as they have lunch in The Black Sheep Bistro's patio.

Many new businesses have recently opened in Old Town Spring.

The picturesque setting is home to a myriad of small businesses, from restaurants to boutiques, and from coffee shops to art galleries.

Camille's is one of the picturesque stores in Old Town Spring. It specializes in gifts, antiques and home decorations.
Camille's is one of the picturesque stores in Old Town Spring. It specializes in gifts, antiques and home decorations.

Christy Lorenz, who is originally from Michigan but has been living in Spring for almost two years, says one of the reasons she likes Old Town Spring is that it is different than going to the mall.

"We enjoy living in Texas because we can spend most of our time outside, so coming down here and stopping at a few shops and being outside and walking through the streets, it’s just a fun, cute, little atmosphere," says Lorenz.

According to the Spring Preservation League, an association of landowners and merchants from the area, at least 15 new businesses have opened in the last year.

Some of them replaced merchants that decided to close shop.

Others are new establishments that are renting lots which had been vacant for several months.

In addition to that, the installation of a new sewer system that replaced the previous individual septic systems in October of 2014 was helpful.

Harris County Commissioner Jack Cagle led that project and spokesman Mark Seegers explains that, before the new system, "businesses literally were reaching capacity with their own septic systems in the middle of the afternoon on peak days and couldn’t take any more people into their restrooms."

Sandra Van Fleet, owner of The Teacher Creature, arranges merchandise at her store, which specializes in office and school supplies.
Sandra Van Fleet, owner of The Teacher Creature, arranges merchandise at her store, which specializes in office and school supplies.

Sandra Van Fleet is one of the recently arrived entrepreneurs.

Along with her husband Paul, she owns The Teacher Creature, a store that sells office and school supplies. They opened last September.

While the new sewer system has mostly benefited the restaurants, Van Fleet says it's also been good for her bottom-line.

"The bigger businesses that are constantly getting people coming in everyday to use the facilities," Van Fleet notes, "that helps, and then it helps them to stay open later, which helps us."

The appeal of small businesses is also a factor.

That is what Maria Gagis thinks.

She and her husband Joe Macri own two restaurants, The Italian Joint and The Black Sheep Bistro.

Some of the entrepreneurs who have recently arrived in Old Town Spring, like Gagis and Van Fleet, are young and have long term plans.

Gagis says that is important because they are putting a lot of effort into their investments and contributing to the revival of the area.

"We are all young enough that we wanna be here for a long time. We’re not looking to be here for two, three years and get out. All of us want to be here. All of us are fulfilling our dreams."

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