MARLIN,TX — A Central Texas city has snagged a big investment from a large Chinese company, beating out two of the state's biggest cities.
A family connection and good economics helped Marlin win an important promise of jobs.
Entrepreneur Donald Arradondo knows you don't get anywhere without hard work, and he says the same applies to his own city of Marlin, where owns the car detailing business, "The Detail Shop."
"Marlin, it's a good town but it needs a lot of work," he said.
Marlin has a bit of a reputation around Texas, but it started to change with the last election that swept in new leaders. The town worked to improve streets, and re-opened a long-closed city park.
But Marlin's biggest break may have come from the mayor's family reunion and a relative who saw an investment opportunity in the city.
"It's my mother's brother's grandson, and he hadn't been to Marlin in a number of years, and he called his business partner. He was excited about it, and a week and a half later, he was here," said Marlin Mayor Carolyn Lofton.
Representatives of A&A International Group liked what they saw in Marlin, and stated an intention of building a clothing factory at the industrial park and renovating rooms at the historic Falls Hotel.
The group even mentioned bottling the town's famed mineral water.
"He was looking at ventures in Texas anyway, in Plano and Houston, but he told us those places were a little bit out of the range of wanting be in investment mode. Marlin fits perfectly," explained Marlin City Manager Cedric Davis.
City leaders expect hundreds of new jobs from this deal.
How long will it take before people here notice any change from A&A International Group's investment? City Manager Cedric Davis says about six months.
City Manager Davis says the A&A deal shows Marlin is on the move. ”I'm opening the doors and saying hey, we're open for business," said Davis.
City leaders hope, once A&A's investment bears fruit, other investments from other companies will follow, and smart entrepreneurs like Arradondo approve.
"They do need more jobs to give people down here more opportunities to provide for their families and stuff, so I think that's a perfect idea," he said.
Because he believes, like his business, Marlin has a chance to clean up.