Chuck Dart will retire as director of Yoakum’s Economic Development Corporation effective Nov. 1.
“I’ve been here for three and a half years,” Dart said. “During that time, we had a major expansion of one of our local manufacturers, added several retail stores of all types and made major strides in downtown revitalization.”
Shortly after Dart came to Yoakum in 2016, Circle Y Saddles consolidated its two locations in Yoakum and Tennessee and built a 30,000-square-foot warehouse in Yoakum.
In 2019, Ace Hardware, Anytime Fitness and O’Reilly Auto Parts opened stores in Yoakum.
Besides big-box retailers and chains, Dart said Yoakum is expanding its small business network.
“The downtown area is definitely ripe for development,” Dart said. “We’ve had a couple of outside development companies start to take a look at the downtown area.”
Dart said the companies he expects to fill the downtown area will be locally owned shops, bars and restaurants that will benefit from foot traffic he said is driven by The Grand Theater on West May Street, which reopened in 2016.
“We have a theater downtown that’s been a big driver toward other businesses,” Dart said. “In most smaller cities, the downtown areas become a mixture of entertainment, food and curio shops.”
At a Monday morning meeting of the Yoakum EDC’s board of directors, they discussed the evaluation and selection of an employee search firm to fill the director position.
“At this meeting, they chose which search firm they were going to go with,” Dart said. “The two they were looking at were going to be notified today.”
In his retirement, Dart said, he and his wife will move to Cameron, northeast of Austin, where his wife has family.
“It’s a community that’s very similar,” Dart said.
Although he has no plans to take on a new job, Dart said he plans on staying involved in economic development through other outlets.
Dart, of Ferris, south of Dallas, was director of his hometown’s Economic Development and Main Street Division until the end of 2015.
Yoakum city manager Kevin Coleman said the decision to hire Dart in 2016 was unanimous.