Based on readership of online editions of the Alpine Avalanche during 2015, of the top 30 stories, eight were about businesses, five featured the Trans-Pecos Pipeline and corresponding development and eight were crime-related stories.
The rest were on miscellaneous topics.
The biggest business story of the year in terms of readership popularity came in June when the Come & Take It BBQ at the Mountain Trails Lodge in Fort Davis broke ground on a new store in Alpine. That story ranked five on our list.
The new restaurant should open early in 2016 on Highway 90 West, across from the Hampton Inn. The Fort Davis restaurant has closed.
Owner Scott Turner said about half the customers at the Fort Davis restaurant drove up from Alpine and many asked for an outlet in Alpine.
Jenny Turner also said the restaurant also needed more space to accommodate its customers.
The 5,000-square-foot Alpine store will be about 300 feet south of the highway with “plenty of parking,” Turner said. Three hotels are nearby, providing a source of customers.
Shopko stories ranked 9, 21 and 29 in our survey. The chain is based in Green Bay, Wisconsin. Shortly after Alco closed early this year that, a spokeswoman said that while Shopko was acquiring some Texas locations, Alpine wasn’t among them.
Then in June, passersby noticed some activity in the old Alco store and Shopko was openly recruiting for employees.
The company made it official in August and, by early October, it had opened its doors with a formal opening a few weeks after that.
The Texas Ranch House Too, a western-themed furniture and gift store, opened in November in time for ArtWalk. Fawn Kibbe said she leased the 6,000 square feet in the eastern half of the old Penney’s Store at Holland and 5th in the heart of downtown Alpine.
The new store was fashioned after her mother Kathy Barber’s store, The Texas Ranch House at Sabinal, which has been in business for 26 years. It features furniture with a western décor, jewelry and gifts.
It didn’t make the list of top 30 stories but that building got a major upgrade when District Judge Roy Ferguson, with help from Hiram and Liz Sibley, last month removed the old wood and metal awning and, more importantly, a false front that completely hid the old first National Bank Building, which Ferguson now owns.
Concomitant with that effort, the façade of the old J.C. Penney store that now houses Kibbe’s new store and the Sibley Gallery was returned to its original state.
Down south in Terlingua, the iconic La Kiva Bar opened for the first time in August in time for the Viva Terlingua music festival.
It was closed in February 2014, after the beating death of its owner Glenn Felts.
New owners John and Josie Holroyd opened the popular watering hole for the festival, then closed it again until the rebuilding is complete. The bar has since been opened but they were still working on the kitchen.
Resort Air Services announced in February it had launched scheduled non-stop air service from three Texas cities to Lajitas Resort in south Brewster County.
The scheduled charter operator began in November 2014, flying from Dallas Love Field, Houston Hobby Airport and Austin Executive Airport to Lajitas.
That scheduled service was soon discontinued and changed to a charter-only service.
The airline said scheduled service did not generate the load factors needed for profitable operations. It will make the trip only when a reasonable number of passengers want to make the trip at the same time.
Clearly, things are happening on the Alpine and Brewster County business scene and at least some readers have been noticing. We’ll be writing about the other top stories in the coming weeks.
Jim Street covers Alpine and Brewster County for the Alpine Avalanche. He can be reached at 432-837-3334, email@example.com or 118 N. 5th St.