By Stacey Tinsley, BIZ. Magazine
COVID-19 is not only a global health crisis, it is also a disrupter to the world economy. Yet, multiple business prospects are developing multimillion-dollar investments in and around the Shreveport-Bossier area.
Greater Bossier Economic Development Foundation Executive Director Rocky Rockett says with these new businesses locating or expanding in the area is the result of pent up market pressure post-pandemic.
“We were seeing interest grow in our area before the onset of the pandemic and now the market will be catching up. At the end of the day, if you want a job there is a job to be had in many sectors in Bossier and Shreveport,” Rockett said.
Businesses, ranging from massive corporations to niche restaurants, all contribute to local economies by bringing growth and innovation to the community they call home.
“Whether its industrial manufacturing or distribution, entertainment or medical — there is a job available, Rockett said. “That’s the goal of economic development: creating those opportunities for citizens.”
Last May, Gov. John Bel Edwards announced an Amazon fulfillment center is planned to be built in north Shreveport’s Hunter Industrial Park near Interstates 20, 49 and 220.
“This new Amazon project is a major advancement for the Shreveport-Bossier City metro area and for Louisiana’s economy,” Gov. Edwards said at the announcement press conference. “In addition to providing strong benefits, Amazon will pay workers double the minimum wage or more in a state-of-the-art technology environment.”
The $200 million capital project is expected to open in September. The center will bring about 800 construction jobs and 1,000 full-time jobs with benefits to the city. Starting pay for these full-time jobs is $15 per hour.
Across the river in Bossier City, on the opposite end of the spectrum from Amazon, Red River BrewPub is locating in the East Bank District.
Red River BrewPub is a small craft brewery and tasting room with a merchandise shop, ping pong tables, and a covered patio with a view of Bossier City’s East Bank District.
Red River BrewPub was originally located in Shreveport but declared its intention to relocate late last year. A groundbreaking was held Feb. 25 for their new home.
Jared Beville, partner at Red River BrewPub, said, “It’s funny how we started — we started in my garage here in Bossier City. And, that started with two or three crazy guys having a vision and a dream to make great beer, have a positive impact in this community and have a great place for families, friends and people to come and enjoy fellowship.
Beville added the group is excited to be coming back to Bossier.
“We’ve been in business for nine years and had a great experience in Shreveport but we certainly feel like this is an awesome opportunity here in the East Bank and Bossier for us to expand.”
Red River BrewPub will be located at 310 Mansfield St. and is expected to open in late summer.
SURGE Entertainment — a family entertainment center owned by retired New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees — is locating at Pierre Bossier Mall in Bossier City.
The venue will include upscale traditional and VIP bowling, high-tech arcades and prize stores, immersive sports simulators, multi-story laser tag arenas, suspended ropes courses, soft-play areas, ninja obstacle courses, climbing features, the Surge Prime Bistreaux restaurants, and large full-service bars with 22-foot HD Screens surrounded by big-screen TVs for sports viewing.
The Bossier City location, its third, will create over 100 jobs. It is expected to open this month.