Almost lost in EG Tejas, LLC’s announcement Tuesday to develop 17 acres of land at Washington Street and Wolfe Nursery Road is that other businesses are choosing to locate in Stephenville as well.

The San Antonio-based company plans to invest over $25 million to construct a 3,000 square-foot restaurant, retail center and 100-room hotel. In addition to the EG Tejas development, Panda Express and ALDI are also considering new development in Stephenville.

Panda Express, a quick-serve Chinese restaurant, is planning a 2,500-square-foot restaurant in Christy Plaza. While an official opening date has not been set, company officials expect the restaurant will be opened by October 2018. Panda Express plans to invest about $1.3 million in construction of the restaurant and add 10-15 jobs.

ALDI is a German discount grocery chain and relative newcomer to the United States. ALDI opened its first store in Iowa in 1976. The grocery chain currently has 1,600 stores in 35 states.  ALDI is in the midst of an accelerated growth plan, and plans to operate almost 2,000 stores and serve 45 million customers each month from coast to coast. 

The company has been looking at the Stephenville market for over a year and has identified several sites, including property in Christy Plaza, as a possible location. According to an ALDI spokesperson, the grocery chain offers employees generous wages and benefits that are higher than the national average for the retail industry.

Both Panda Express and ALDI will be welcome additions to residents and the Stephenville economy.  According to a study provided by Retail Coach, Stephenville loses almost $10.5 million in grocery sales and $11.8 million in limited restaurant sales to area communities each year.

Dr. John Hubbard is the executive director of SEDA.