Brazos Valley business continues to see growth, despite lack of skilled workers

BRYAN, Texas (KBTX) – Community members and community leaders gathered Wednesday to learn more about the local economy. Despite the economy showing growth, one local business owner told KBTX that they are still struggling in the same area.

Rayne Knight is the founder of CR Systems, Inc., Aggieland Roofing, Inc., and is a proud Aggie who hasn’t quit since graduating.

“We opened 26 years ago. At that time, we were just a business. But friends kept asking, ‘Can you do our house?’ and started to start living,” said Knight. “I thought this could be something for real, I decided to go into the business and it’s beautiful.”

Although like any local business, Knight said the success of his business depends on the economy.

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“The best thing about Aggieland is being kind of an isolated bubble. So, even last year, we were able to have some growth despite what the world is going through and going through because of COVID-19. I’m not saying we did not struggle. We have more plans and introduction of goods than before. It took a long time to get the goods and on top of that all the money is lost,” he said.

Another ongoing battle for Knight’s city business is the need for more skilled workers.

“We’re still hiring and working hard. We’re trying to get new employees in the spring and fall so we can get them up to speed before the summer,” Knight said. “You know, trying to get high schools and really anywhere we can get. Right now, we have 76 employees. We could use more. One thing I learned in today’s meeting is the challenge of housing for my employees. Interest rates and food costs. The City of Bryan told us the average household income is $44,771. The average home price is about $200,000.”

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During the Bryan-College Station Chamber of Commerce Economic Outlook Conference on Wednesday, business leaders and data from 2022 concluded that we have record high job vacancies, historically low unemployment and participation rates.

Natalie Ruiz, Director of Development at the City of College Station, told KBTX that communities in the Brazos Valley have made history despite economic struggles.

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“Historically, because we are the home of Texas A&M, a large number and many of our projects are in the public sector. Whether it’s Texas A&M, the school district, the college station or Brazos County, “Ruiz said. “But in 2022, we reached a point that began to move to private jobs that exceed the current number of private individuals. That had never been done before in a college town. It is 50.8% private and 49.2% public.”

For more information on CR Systems Inc. and Aggieland Roofing, click here.

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