Texas Forest Country Partnership Recognizes Rio Theatre as 2019 Shelby County Small Business of the Year

November 27, 2019 - Rio Theatre owned by Mike and Nita Atkinson received the 2019 Small Business of the Year Award for Shelby County during the 2019 Texas Forest Country Partnership (TFCP) Economic Development Summit in Lufkin on Wednesday, November 13, 2019.

This award presentation was made by Don Iles, Board Chairman of the TFCP who commented, “Upon completion in 1926, the Rio Theatre was considered to be one of the most beautiful and complete theaters in East Texas, and definitely the best to be found in the state in a town as small as Center. Originally named, The Shelby Theatre, and located on what was then the West Side Square, it was renamed in 1941 as the Rio Theatre. From the earliest reel-to-reel talkies, to the digital films which begin promptly at seven-thirty, the Rio Theatre has seen many changes, remaining one of the more popular theaters in the East Texas area, specifically Shelby County. The theatre has 4 employees and the staff is still at the doors after each movie night, thanking everyone personally for coming, and inviting all to the upcoming feature films, making a night at the movies the experience moviegoers all knew and loved as they grew up from the early days at the Rio Theatre.”

We are proud to recognize Rio Theatre for their dedication and commitment to the Texas Forest Country region. Small businesses are the lifeblood of our area and the TFCP wants to emphasize their importance to our continued growth.”

“According to the Small Business Administration 60-80% of all new jobs come from Small Businesses. Additionally, 70% are owned and operated by a single person and they represent 44% of the United States payroll,” Iles added.

“Our Summit is an opportunity to discuss ways to improve the economy of our region and we appreciate everyone who attended to help us celebrate small business as an integral part of our future”, he continued.

In addition to recognizing the counties’ small business winners, Betty Oglesbee of San Augustine received the Silver Bucket Award. The Summit’s Keynote Address was made by Christian Fischer, President & CEO of Georgia-Pacific. Featured Presenter was Aaron Demerson, Commissioner Employer Relations with the Texas Workforce Commission. Other topics included East Texas Manufacturing Alliance, Texas Rural Funders Collaborative and an overview of “Jasper United.” Concluding the Summit was a panel discussion with the region’s State Senator and State Representatives.