Last year, we covered a few businesses closing during the pandemic, and the big surprise to us was the number of chains or big-box stores that called it a day in East Texas.
Meanwhile, the small businesses dug in and refused to quit. The entrepreneurs, building owners, the chamber directors and the employees.
For the first edition of the new magazine, ETX View, formerly Charm/View and Lifestyles magazine, we wanted to show the resiliency of East Texas.
I had a chance to talk to a former Longview resident, Academy-award winner and now best-selling author Matthew McConaughey about the new magazine and the vision for this issue.
When we told him why ETX View was going to feature those people in Longview, Kilgore and Tyler you will read about in the pages, McConaughey said, "That doesn’t surprise me ... It takes a tight community to go, 'Hey, let’s look after our own here.' It’s a very secular part of the state. The advantages of that are people do that, they look to their right and to their left, to their neighbor and say we are gunna take care of our own here. Doing that through small businesses is great- people are trying to do that all over the country right now and obviously not as successfully as Longview seems to be doing it. "
He asked about Longview. His book, Greenlights has funny stories about his high school days and childhood. He is still involved with Longview ISD through his Just Keep Livin' Foundation. But he wanted to know about the businesses he drives past.
"Longview is a damn resilient sun of a gun isn’t it? Last timeI was there was for a graduation speech I came down for. I noticed 259 has been widened, the city has grown wider, but the population was still around 80,000. I was like How? It seems like it’s grown another 50,000 people," McConaughey said. "Downtown felt like it spread. These little places that, when I was there, were on the outskirts are no longer on the outskirts."
They have grown, and so have we. We've added talented designers and more writers to the magazine. We hope you enjoy your ETX View as much as we've enjoyed putting this together for you.
(John Anderson is the regional editor of the Longview News-Journal and the Tyler Morning Telegraph. he can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)