Temple has become a burgeoning city for starting a business in Texas, led by an influx of young and innovative entrepreneurs taking advantage of local startup resources. Multiple small businesses opened in 2021, and several others have openings slated for 2022 and beyond. With its pro-business environment, low costs and high levels of collaboration, the Temple community offers an ecosystem that allows new businesses to thrive.
Many of these newly established companies flourished on the heels of strong investments in redevelopment and public improvement projects. In 2019, the City of Temple and Temple EDC began a redevelopment initiative in downtown Temple through Tax Increment Funding (TIF) called the Santa Fe Project. Other City Council approved projects, like Strategic Investment Zone (SIZ) grant funding for the rehabilitated development on Main Street, also encourage the growth of entrepreneurship in Temple.
Here are a few of the small businesses that have found success in Temple, along with the tools that have helped them find success in this Central Texas community.
Small businesses in Central Texas succeed through uncertain times
Several small businesses have enjoyed success in Temple in recent years, despite uncertainty brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic. Managing partners Dan and Gloria Elderr opened Tour Temple and Corky’s in 2021 after envisioning a business that would keep Central Texans connected through small scale, socially distanced activities.
Tour Temple started out simple enough — bus and limo tours that begin at a bar and visit different wineries and historic homes throughout Temple. But as the attraction grew in popularity, so did the services that Tour Temple offered. Now it has become a full-fledged entertainment venue called Corky’s, complete with sought-after comedic acts, open mic nights and karaoke. Corky’s even allows customers to rent electric scooters for some self-guided city exploration.
Veteran and woman-owned FoxDog beer garden opened in early 2022 after several years of business planning and witnessing the city’s investments into downtown Temple. Co-owners John and Ashley Vernon envisioned FoxDog as a place for happy hours, family gatherings and club meetings — a hub for community and relationship building.
Newly established small businesses are not the only ones that are thriving. Since 2017, Bird Creek Burgers Co. has been serving fresh, locally sourced burgers in Temple. Thanks to its growing popularity, the company plans to open a larger location in 2022, equipped with an additional brewery and outdoor seating.
Temple investments and resources for doing business in Texas
With the city’s 10.6% increase in population from 2015-2020 and a bevy of new businesses in 2021, investors are working to broaden the scope of Temple’s livability assets. A $17.1 million development for two multi-level parking garages is underway at the corner of Central Avenue and Fourth Street in downtown Temple. Once completed, the garages will add more than 600 parking spaces for Temple residents and visitors to frequent small businesses in the area.
Entrepreneurs in Temple can access the Central Texas Business Resource Center (BRC) for business training and counseling. The center collaborates with Central Texas College and Workforce Solutions of Central Texas to help those transitioning from service at the nearby Fort Hood Army base as well as those working to overcome specific barriers to starting a business.
The Temple Chamber of Commerce provides a robust networking program for new business owners, and the Temple Small Business Coalition hosts events throughout the year to promote entrepreneurship in the community, such as the monthly Downtown Farmer’s Market. A plethora of flexible working options are also available throughout the city, like LiquidSpace and Collaborate, providing low cost, low commitment opportunities for new entrepreneurs to test the waters of business ownership in Temple.