Economics of Healthy Concession Choices

Last night was my family’s first Little League game of the year. Yay! Last year was a little weird, and it’s exciting to be back in the stands—and the concession stands. In fact, I’ll be working the concession stand tonight. Concessions stands don’t usually pride themselves on serving the world’s healthiest foods. Last night, I had a healthy salad for dinner so I could enjoy my favorite baseball “sometimes food” at the game — my first jalapeno nachos of the season. Balance, right? But, in our Working on… Read More →

Silver Buckshot in Targeting Economic Development

Several years ago, I saw a quote, “There is no silver bullet. There may be silver buckshot.” I have no idea where I saw this quote, but it’s really stuck with me. You might be more familiar with the saying, “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.” Similar idea, but less colorful, right? I like the bullet/buckshot analogy because it fits so well with the idea of targeted economic development. In fact, a speaker at a conference in North Carolina remarked a few years ago that he… Read More →

Current Economic Situation, 3/7/2021

Texas Governor Greg Abbott marked Texas Independence Day March 2 by announcing the state would remove the statewide mask requirement and allow businesses to return to 100% occupancy on March 10. It is true that TX DSHS reports fewer COVID cases than earlier in 2021, but only about 1.8 percent of Texans are vaccinated. Removing the mask mandate has generated a fair amount of comment, while increasing the occupancy of businesses and other facilities has been far less controversial. The mask mandate is not really an economic issue,… Read More →

Revisiting the Ten Commandments of Community Leadership

The Ten Commandments of Community Leadership are usually on the final slide of my in-person presentations. I actually got to be with a community in person last week, and someone tried to search for the book online. I found a PDF from the Association of Washington Cities,  and it’s totally worth the short read. Almost a decade ago, I was offered some items from a retired colleague’s files and stumbled upon The Ten Commandments of Community Leadership, a great little book by Maury Forman and Michelle Harvey published… Read More →

What is Community Development?

Last week, I blogged, “Community development precedes economic development.” Thanks for the positive feedback on that idea. But that sentence raises another question for some of you: What is community development? There really isn’t an easy answer to that question. There are many definitions of community development (CD). The United Nationals has offered a succinct, practical definition. It lacks the nuance of other definitions but gets to the heart of the matter: A process where community members come together to take collective action and generate solutions to common… Read More →

Community Development Precedes Economic Development

Texas Extension has long believed community development precedes economic development. It is much easier to support economic growth and economic development if you have a community people want to live in. Rural hospital closures shine a light on the interplay of community and economic development. Frank local news stories about the reasons for and outcomes of hospital closures highlight the importance of community social and physical infrastructure in supporting local economies. My own research shows that the presence or lack of physicians is associated with a number of… Read More →

Which AgriLife Business Planning Course is right for you?

Right at the end of 2020 we released two online business planning courses through AgriLife Learn. I’m so excited to introduce these courses to current and future small business owners and community groups. It may be helpful to briefly explain the target audience and outcomes for each course. I’m including the course link (hyperlink from the course title) and the AgriLife Learn description in regular text and then making my own notes below in italics. Business Planning Basics for Farm and Food Enterprises: Learn how to write a… Read More →

Current Economic Situation, 12/17/2020, Holiday Retail Edition

Clearly, many Americans and Texans continue to struggle in the current health and economic environment. Texas (following national trends) COVID cases, hospitalizations, and deaths are up substantially from early fall (NY Times and TX DSHS). As I write this post, I’m home quarantining with my 10-year-old son, who was potentially exposed to COVID-19 at school (so far, we are still healthy). I certainly appreciate the fact that I have a job that allows me to work from home. Many people must work from specific physical locations and interact… Read More →

Current Economic Situation, 11/27/2020, Holiday Edition

Black Friday marks the official beginning of the holiday shopping season. This year, shopping has started early, in part to support struggling businesses and in part due to concerns about shipping. Respondents in a VISA holiday business study said they planned to shop a mix of online and in-person retail, and intended to support small businesses. Sixty percent of U.S. consumer respondents said they planned to do at least half of their holiday shoppers at local retailers. Sixty percent of respondents also plan to purchase at least half… Read More →

Economics of Rural Transit Publications Available

Mobility is important to older adults’ quality of life. Mobility can be a challenge as we age, and it can be even more challenging for people in rural areas who must travel longer distances to reach destinations. At the same time, sparsely populated rural areas can struggle with funding and business models to meet the needs of local residents. Sarah Fasanando, masters student in the School of Public Health, Jim Mjelde, and I have two new publications addressing rural transit. Rural Transit Needs for Older Adults (EAG-061) discusses… Read More →