Local

Economic forum to highlight booming business in The Woodlands

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

A Houston-area community is transforming. An economic conference next week is expected to outline record job growth and development in Montgomery County, and at the center of it all is booming business in The Woodlands.

We're getting an exclusive look at what we'll find out officially next week, which is that The Woodlands and southeast Montgomery County is doing really well in terms of both the economy and the population.

Michelle Barnum opened up her new business six months ago. It's a women's boutique that she says has already exceeded her expectations.

"Very excited to see how quickly it has grown and anxious to see what the future holds," Barnum said.

It's a future Barnum likely did not see when she moved to The Woodlands 18 years ago.

"When we first moved here, it was more of just a small community, neighborhood development," Barnum said.

Not any more. With record-setting growth and 10 percent more people commuting into The Woodlands than out of it, she knew this was the perfect time and place to set up shop.

"It's a destination for shopping, travel. A lot of tourism occurring here in the area," Barnum said.

Melissa Rascon handles Barnum's finances and that of other small businesses in a community that is transforming before her eyes.

"I've seen the diversity, the culture, the community, the business aspect of it all change and it's been great to be a part of it," Rascon said.

Rascon is also helping with next week's annual economic forum that will reveal what the present and future hold for this growing part of southeast Texas.

"People want to be in a business community that's thriving, that's exciting to live in," The Woodlands Area Chamber of Commerce President Karen Hoylman said.

Hoylman says after record job growth and with more on the way, there is a lot to talk about.

"The growth is actually unbelievable and we just started. There's a shortage of office space. There's a shortage of housing at the moment," Hoylman said.

It's all good news for small business owners like Barnum.

The Woodlands is actively seeking corporations to relocate from elsewhere. They say the thing that's really changed over the last two years is that when they do try to recruit businesses worldwide, they already know about The Woodlands and they already have interest.
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the woodlands, local, tom abrahams
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