Location and Accessibility Helped to Define Palestine and Shape the City’s Growth
Friday, March 29, 2019
Palestine, Texas was a river transportation and railroad community that provided easy transportation access for farmers, ranchers and businesses during the 1800 and 1900’s. Today, Palestine is still defined by high accessibility, as is evident by the distribution centers that have grown in the community. This is a natural evolution in Palestine’s rich history and one of the main reasons the city has experienced a stable and thriving economy over the past 150 years.
Palestine was formed in 1846 by the Texas legislature to serve as the Anderson County seat. The city was chosen, in part, because of the transportation advantages it offered. Originally, the town thrived by transporting agricultural goods down the Trinity River. The introduction of the railroad in 1873 reshaped the city and led to a second economic and building boom and the longstanding relationship between the Union Pacific Railroad and the city continues to this day. The growth of the railroad supported the growth of regional businesses and the development of the urban core of the city, creating the historic charm that Palestine is known for. This legacy can still be seen through the numerous historic landmarks forming the districts and neighborhoods within the city.
Though the preferred mode of transportation has changed over the years, Palestine has continued to maintain status as a transportation and shipping hub. Maintaining an ideal location for distribution to Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas, and Oklahoma, and centered just over two hours from Dallas, Houston and Shreveport, Louisiana, has allowed Palestine to continue growing as businesses have moved to distributing products via the highways and interstates. Palestine has benefited from significant investments made by companies looking for a centrally located distribution hub. In the 1980's, Walmart saw the advantage of Palestine's central location and built their first distribution center outside of their home state of Arkansas. That distribution center still operates today as one of only seven Fashion Distribution Centers in the U.S. The successful operations of that center led Walmart to build a second distribution center in Palestine in 1994. It is one of 43 Regional Distribution Centers across the United States and ships and receives $2 billion in merchandise annually. Palestine is also the home to Ben E. Keith – a food product and alcohol beverage distributor, Aerospace Fasteners - an aerospace parts distributor, Frankston Packaging Co. – a box manufacturer and distributor, and a wholesale giftware company. Additionally, freight transportation companies like MKS Services have chosen to call Palestine home – further testament to the convenience provided by Palestine’s accessibility.
Palestine has the infrastructure in place to make it an ideal base of operations. The City of Palestine is where five major highways converge and then go out in a pentagon, making it possible to head in any direction and reach major cities like Dallas, Houston, Austin, Oklahoma City, Jackson, New Orleans and Kansas City in less than a day. As a former railroad city, Palestine has a strong railway presence – offering businesses another way to move raw materials and finished products. Reaching Palestine by air is also convenient with the city having its own municipal airport and being only two hours from the Dallas and Houston airports. Additionally, businesses needing to move products by ship can reach the Port of Houston in under 2.5 hours.
Palestine’s Willow Creek Business Park is the ideal location for any business considering opening a distribution center or office in Palestine. The Palestine Economic Development Corporation’s 352-acre business park features landscaped streetscapes, fully functional utilities, access to high-speed communication technologies, and is home to Comfort Suites, Mountain Pure, Atmos Energy, The Results Companies and Sanderson Farms, Inc. For more information on the benefits of locating in Palestine or for a tour of the business park, please contact Gayle Cooper at (903) 729-4100.