Billy Huckaby is not taking his duties lightly.
Last week, Huckaby, who serves as the director of the Glen Rose Convention & Visitors Bureau and is also now heading up economic development efforts for the city and county, spoke to business owners and operators at the Chamber of Commerce's monthly luncheon last week.
In his new role, Huckaby said he is focused on attracting new businesses and assisting in the growth and retention of existing ones.
"My job is to get people to Glen Rose for the first time," he said. "After that, they will come back on their own."
Since officials approved funding economic development activities, Huckaby said he has seen more excitement and interest in local business ideas and opportunities than he has in the past 10 years.
Huckaby said several plans are in motion to benefit business owners and others interested in relocating to the area. He said the EDC effort will include the development of a new website "Think Glen Rose," geared at those looking to relocate. Huckaby also said there are plans in the works to set up a business retention center inside the Convention and Visitors Bureau to offer information and resources to existing business owners.
In regard to the retention center, Huckaby said there are an array of issues - from simple things like the lack of providing a website and connecting with customers social media - that can "hinder" prosperity.
He also said the center would provide information to help business owners obtain "small business money," which is readily available, including real estate and development loans that are underutilized.
As he works to promote growth and development, Huckaby said the attitude of existing business owners can help sell newcomers.
"A lot of business is attitude," he said, adding one prospective newcomer was turned away by the doom and gloom of an existing business owner. "You are going to have your problems, and it's okay to cry on each others' shoulders, but to make it in business, you need to be positive and upbeat and project success."
Huckaby said despite the recent closure of businesses in the downtown area, there is a change in the air. He said progress is being made on a dinosaur tracks studio and gift shop near Hollywood & Vine and another big prospect could be setting up shop in the area as well.
Meanwhile, Huckaby said with the long-awaited construction of the Chisholm Trail Parkway, a 27.6 mile toll road from downtown Fort Worth to Cleburne, on the horizon, the city will prosper.
"Glen Rose will be the pot of gold at the end of the parkway," he said.