The combined Metalworking industry encompassing a 45 minutes’ drive time of the City of Center posted an impressive $450 million of in region demand of which only 8% was met by existing regional businesses. This translates into a profound growth potential for metalworking companies willing to move into the region.

Our Metalworking Cluster/Advantage:

Existing businesses within 1-hour drive time of Center, Texas:

  • Steel Building Supply Inc
  • Portacool employs 300 people, and manufactures one of their product lines
  • General Shelters of Texas employs over 100 people in the region
  • Spartan Structures employ over 100 people in the region
  • C & R Refrigeration manufactures refrigeration systems, and parts for various industries including poultry, meat, processed food manufacturing, bottling and beverage,
  • Cold Vault designs and manufactures Walk-in Coolers and Freezers.
  • CenTex Tanks is a manufacturer of metal tanks used by petroleum production and mining industry.
  • Dragon Products also manufactures metal tanks for petrochemicals, and other industrial equipment and parts.

MetalWorking Companies in the 7 County Labor Shed (within 45 minutes’ drive time of Center, TX):

  • 11 Machine Shops
  • 5 Metal Service Centers and Other Metal Merchant Wholesalers
  • 4 Oil and Gas Field Machinery and Equipment Manufacturing
  • 3 Prefabricated Metal Building and Component Manufacturing
  • 2 Fabricated Structural Metal Manufacturing
  • 2 Metal Tank (Heavy Gauge) Manufacturing
  • 2 Air-Conditioning and Warm Air Heating Equipment and Commercial and Industrial Refrigeration Equipment Manufacturing
  • 2 Construction Machinery Manufacturing
  • 1 Fabricated Pipe and Pipe Fitting Manufacturing
  • 1 Saw Blade and Handtool Manufacturing
  • 1 Motor and Generator Manufacturing
  • 1 Plumbing Fixture Fitting and Trim Manufacturing
  • 1 Air and Gas Compressor Manufacturing
  • 1 Metal Crown, Closure, and Other Metal Stamping (except Automotive)
  • 1 Metal Coating, Engraving (except Jewelry and Silverware), and Allied Services to Manufacturers
  • 1 Sheet Metal Work Manufacturing
  • 1 Iron and Steel Forging
  • 1 Nonferrous Metal (except Copper and Aluminum) Rolling, Drawing, and Extruding
  • 1 Motor Vehicle Body Manufacturing
  • 1 Surgical Appliance and Supplies Manufacturing

Skilled Labor/Workforce Availability:

The labor shed has more jobs in the following Metalworking Sectors than the US Average

  • More than 11x the US Average employed in Metal Valve and Pipe Fitting Manufacturing
  • More than 7x the US Average employed in Ventilation, Heating, Air-Conditioning, and Commercial Refrigeration Equipment Manufacturing
  • More than 4x the US Average employed in Maintenance, Machinery
  • More than 4x the US average in Millwrights
  • More than 3x the US Average employed in Conveyer Operators and Tenders
  • More than 2.5x times the US average of Electromechanical Equipment Assemblers
  • More than 2x the US average of Welders, Cutters, Solderers, and Brazers

The labor shed has seen the following growth in Metalworking jobs over the last 5 years

  • 48% growth in over the last five years in Machine Shops, Turned Products, and Screw, Nut and Bolt Manufacturing
  • 37% growth in Air-Conditioning and Warm Air Heating Equipment and Commercial and Industrial Refrigeration Equipment Manufacturing
  • 29% growth over the last five years in Prefabricated Metal Building and Component Manufacturing
  • 16% growth in Conveyer Operators and Tenders
  • 15% growth in Millwrights
  • 7% growth in Other Metal Valve and Pipe Fitting Manufacturing
  • 6% growth in Maintenance Workers, Machinery
  • 4% growth of Computer-Controlled Machine Tool Operators, Metals and Plastic
  • 3% growth of Multiple Machine Tool Setters, Operators, and Tenders, Metal and Plastic

Low Cost Electric Power:

City of Center is served by Southwestern Electric Power Company (SWEPCO) which is an operating company of American Electric Power (AEP).

  • SWEPCO has over 530,000 customers in their service region spread across Texas, Louisiana, and Arkansas.
  • One of the lowest cost electric power provider in the whole nation. Cost per kWh is only $0.066 in Center, TX which is much lower than the national average of $0.093 per kWH.

Parts of Center, most of Shelby and 7 other neighboring counties are also served by Deep East Texas Electric Cooperative, Inc.

Natural Gas Pipelines:

  • Centerpoint Energy provides natural gas to the City and the region.
  • CenterPoint Energy Intrastate Pipelines (CEIP) owns and operates 240 miles of pipeline in Texas and Louisiana

Water and Wastewater:

  • The city provides water and wastewater management services to residents and businesses.
  • The wastewater treatment plant is going through a major upgradation project (valued at $2.1 million) which will increase its wastewater treatment capacity to about 400,000 Gallons per day in addition to installation of new electrical systems and motors, building of a new large lift station, and replacement of several sewer lines.
  • The city also received a grant from the State of Texas to install a new solar panel array which would cut down wastewater treatment energy consumption by 20%.


Road Access

  • US 59, a 4-lane major highway runs through Shelby County and is accessible 15 miles north of Center.
  • Interstate 49 can be accessed about 40 miles to the east of Center.
  • Major markets such as Houston, Dallas/Fort Worth, and Shreveport are all within 150 miles radius (about 3 hours maximum drive time) of Center.
  • Over 32 million Americans live within an 8-hour drive of Center, Texas.

Airport Access

  • Center Municipal Airport is a general aviation airport with a 5,501 foot runway.
  • The following commercial air options are also available (distance from Center, Texas):
  • East Texas Regional – 60 miles
  • Shreveport Regional – 60 miles
  • Tyler Pounds Field – 70 miles
  • Texarkana Regional – 100 miles
  • Houston Bush Intercontinental – 150 miles
  • D/FW International – 150 miles

Colleges and Universities:

There are several colleges and universities in the region:

  • Panola College
  • Stephen F. Austin State University
  • University of Texas at Tyler
  • Kilgore College
  • Texas State Technical College – Marshall
  • East Texas Baptist University
  • LeTourneau University
  • Angelina College



Additional Information:

Taxes and Business Costs

As a location for doing business, Center features major tax and business costs advantages including the following:

  • No state corporate income tax
  • No state individual income tax
  • Only state in USA that does not require private companies to have workers’ compensation insurance.

Primary and Secondary Education

  • K-12 educational services are provided by Center ISD. Other school districts in Shelby County are:  Excelsior ISD, Shelbyville ISD, Tenaha ISD, Timpson ISD and Joaquin ISD

U.S. News & World Report –

CENTER HIGH SCHOOL voted one of the Best High Schools in the country.


Workforce Training

Shelby Regional Training Center, operated by Panola College can provide customized training programs based on employer needs. Currently, the center has the following workforce training programs:

  • Electrical & Instrumentation
  • Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning
  • Natural Gas Compression
  • Petroleum Technology
  • Residential/Commercial Electrician
  • Welding


Emerge Business Assistance Program

  • Created by Center Economic Development Corporation, the EMERGE program aims to assist entrepreneurs to start up new ventures and grow in Center, Texas.
  • The program will provide assistance to new businesses in the form of reimbursements for a period of 5 years provided the business conforms to the eligibility criteria.
  • More information on the program can be found here.

Innova Business Improvement Grant Program

  • The Innova program assists businesses that are in need of building improvements. Eligible projects include: facades, building improvements, and landscaping.
  • Any business located in Downtown Center or in a Commercial or Industrial zone are eligible.
  • The Center EDC will reimburse 50% of the improvement cost up to a certain dollar amount once the project is completed.
  • More information on the program can be found here.

New Market Tax Credits

  • Center is located in appropriate census tracts for a business to qualify for New Market Tax Credits.

Property Tax Abatements

  • Based on capital investment and job creation, the City may grant a property tax abatement on the value of the improvements to the property.

Sales Tax Rebates

  • Based on capital investment and job creation, the City may rebate part of the city portion of sales tax collected from the business.

Site Development Assistance

  • The Economic Development Corporation, working in conjunction with the City of Center, may be able to provide assistance to the business in extending utility services to the business location at no cost to the business.

Tax Increment Financing

  • The tax increment financing zone can be used to finance the cost of improvements to assist a business.

Texas Enterprise Zone

  • The Texas Enterprise Zone Program (EZP) is an economic development tool available to Texas communities from the State for promotion of jobs creation and private capital investment.
  • The program has so far accomplished 979 projects resulting in $74.1 billion in capital investment.
  • A Texas community can nominate a new or relocating company for the TEZP program.