With fall comes growth


IT’S ALMOST HERE! FALL that is; bringing with it cooler weather and golden hues cast upon the ground will officially start on Friday, September 22 and ends on Thursday, December 21st. It is based on the changing position of earth in relation to the sun.

For Kilgore, the coming of Fall has signified a new growth with restaurants and retail businesses. The town folk are elated. This week, the grand opening of Schlotzsky’s had everyone’s attention but be prepared to eat hardy as the other restaurants are attempting to open as quickly as possible.

Congratulations to all winners at Schlotzsky’s. Betty Baker, one of my “birds on the spot” was the 119 winner out of 120 of a year supply of sandwiches.

“Opening day was a lot of fun,” she said. So far, she has not offered to share those sandwiches.

WITH FALL also comes the refurbishing of a business complex currently housing Jen’s Kids Boutique, Maness Furniture, The Office Center and Fastenal. The scaffolds and workers along the business front is definitely an eye catcher and, though a slight deterrent to customers, the owners of the existing businesses are happy to have a new look in progress.

“Originally, the building had the look of an industrial complex housing Pak-Sher, Halliburton and other similar businesses,” said Vickie Yokum, leasing agent for Right Builders. “It (the building complex) started leaning toward retail five years ago when Maness moved in and more so when Jen’s Kids leased their spot. We knew then it needed a transformation. When Hope’s Closet turned us down at first, we went to work making the building totally retail,” she said.

“We have added a side door, taken down fence and planted shrubbery,” she continued. “This week the new stucco façade with a sand-cream paint will be finished," she said excitedly. “Decorative lighting will also go up and oh, notice the new parking lot with fire hydrants and electric wires not showing.”

“Hope’s Closet will be moving in soon, but our restoration won’t stop. Plans to continue to turn the other two buildings into retail are in the works with more fencing and green added in,” she added.

Not a new building but a new look for Fall 2017. It is definitely happening here in Kilgore.

KING RUSSELL has a new, but not-so-new adventure in the making of his own: pico de gallo.

“I have made it for years and the idea to bottle and selling it actually came from Sonny Spradlin. I was always going out to Sonny’s to all of the parties he gave for the Texas Rangers. A special ingredient Sonny gave me just topped it off and I started tweaking the recipe,” he said.

“Jack Smitherman (Jananna Foods) and I even discussed them bottling it,” but because it is not a sauce, the ingredients are chunky, a new expensive machine would have to be purchased,” said King. “So, we bypassed that thought for a while until we saw just how busy it kept me.”

“Now it has its own label and bottled, but it is still made right here, by me, by my hands in my own little building on my place,” he said. “Sometimes, my brother Shem will come over and help out chopping ingredients and I have developed a certain way of layering the ingredients for the best flavor.”

“I have to admit,” he continued. “So far, A.P. Merritt is my best customer, buying twenty jars at a time and delivering it out to deer leases and oilfield locations,” he laughed. “It is called King’s Gourmet Pico de Gallo,” he said. “Now, isn’t that fancy? But, it can be found at Skinner’s Grocery in Longview and today I left some with Walgreen’s manager to taste test.”

“Yes, we will definitely be carrying King’s product,” said Jared Stephens, manager at Kilgore’s Walgreens. “It is the best I have ever eaten.”

King divulged the ingredients to me and Jared let me join the taste testing at Walgreen’s. I thoroughly enjoyed the freshness, the right combination of ingredients and the overall taste. I believe I will put the list of his ingredients along with the pecan praline recipe from the old Mexican Village. As promised, neither can be publicly revealed. But, I sure enjoy being the taste-tester.

Fall is on the way. Let’s plan now to enjoy every minute. In the meantime May His Love and Laughter Fill Your Hearts and Your Homes. We may be reached at or 903-984-2593.


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