New businesses benefit from oil boom on Yorktown (w/video)

Erika Christensen, 26, owner of The Royal Coffee Hut, started serving fresh coffee and breakfast eats in Yorktown in April.
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  • The Royal Coffee Hut, 122 N. Church St. in Yorktown, operates from 3 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily. Erika Christensen, owner of the Royal Coffee Hut, will take pick-up orders at 361-491-1439.

    Subway, 342 E. Main St. in Yorktown, is ...

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    The Royal Coffee Hut, 122 N. Church St. in Yorktown, operates from 3 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily. Erika Christensen, owner of the Royal Coffee Hut, will take pick-up orders at 361-491-1439.

    Subway, 342 E. Main St. in Yorktown, is open from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. For more information, call 361-564-9138.

Mark Weischwill remembers when the oil boom hit Yorktown in the 1980s.

The 60-year-old president of the Yorktown Economic Development Corp. remembers what it was like when the activity came - and also when it left.

"Our downtown is still suffering," Weischwill said, "but the good thing is that there are plenty of good-paying jobs."

Sprinkled throughout Yorktown are telltale signs of economic growth.

Tucked behind the Shell Station on Main Street just off the beaten path is The Royal Coffee Hut.

Erika Christensen, 26, and her sister, Blake Kelly, often bounced ideas back and forth about what kind of place they would open and finally turned their dream into a reality April 4.

"I live here, so I wanted to add something to the area," Christensen said.

She operates out of a small building painted white and teal and complete with a little area where her customers can sit and enjoy their freshly made coffee or breakfast sandwiches.

Business has been steady, said Christensen, and she's received a slew of positive reviews for opening shop. She's already cultivated her regular customers, some who work in Yorktown and others from the oil field.

While she admits the oil-field business wasn't her main reason to open the Royal Coffee Hut, she said she doesn't mind the extra boost in traffic. She hopes to move closer to the state Highway 72 in the next few months, but in the meantime, she'll continue serving her hot coffee and cool frappes.

About a block east of Christensen's business, a Subway opened its doors April 8. Though it's a franchise, owner Satish Suthar saw the need for more dining options in Yorktown.

"I like to serve the small communities," he said. He owns four other Subway franchises in the Crossroads, including two in Victoria and one each in Yoakum and Hallettsville.

He said the response from the city has been very positive since he opened the store.

"Everyone was excited about that," said Weischwill about the Subway. He added that he's heard rumors of other fast-food chains coming to the area but hasn't heard anything factual about that.

Yorktown is also feeling a similar shortage of homes as Victoria, he said. There are few homes for rent or for sale, he said, but property values have gone up, which he said gives homeowners an advantage when they are ready to rent or sell.

The royalties coming from the industry have also benefited Yorktown in the form of charitable donations seen through projects in the city, through various church organizations and with the schools.

"It's a win-win situation from the Eagle Ford," Weischwill said. "We wouldn't have been able to do some of these things if it weren't for the oil field."