One would have to be residing under the proverbial rock not to have noticed the bustle of activity responsible for breathing new life into Stephenville's downtown area, which has become the “go to place” to establish one of a kind eateries. New businesses such as Alpha Graphics are bucking the trend to set up shop in modern buildings in favor of making use of preexisting structures in need of a little tender loving care but still ripe with possibilities.

Fostering this latest direction is the Stephenville Economic Development Foundation, which has invited restorative architect, Marcel Quimby, to speak at the STEDCO annual membership meeting and luncheon. STEDCO is a non-profit foundation whose intent is to provide land, loans, leased facilities and cash grants to local businesses.

“Our goal is to assist new and existing businesses in order to preserve jobs,” STEDCO president Ron Mullins explained.

And that sentiment extends to the very buildings destined to house those jobs.

“We hope to launch the thought process for Stephenville to recognize the link between economic development and the preservation and restoration of existing downtown infrastructure,” Mullins said.

In accordance with that ambition, the Dallas-based architect has been invited to share her vision for the rejuvenation of older structures that still have a purpose in the economic industry.

Thanks to the stringent nature of modern building codes, engaging older facilities as 21st century business sites will prove to be a challenge. But Mullins believes in setting a starting place and moving forward.

“It's going to be a long process,” he admitted. “But we have to start now. STEDCO fully intends to work hand in hand with the city.”

The meeting will start at 11:30 a.m. Tuesday, Sept. 25, at the N at Hardway Ranch Event Center located at 20194 N. US Highway 377. The luncheon is complimentary for STEDCO members and $15 for non-members. Reservations can be made by calling 254-965-5313. Those interested in attending are encouraged to reserve their place by September 21 to make for an accurate count at the luncheon.