Celebrating 15 Years and Living the Dream in the Upper East Side of Texas


As we began to make plans for the approaching 15th Anniversary of County Line Magazine, we discovered quite a few other businesses celebrating their 15th as well in the Upper East Side of Texas and wondered if there was something special about that particular year that propelled us to put our dreams into action. Kathy Murphy combined her long-time loves of hair care and reading and opened Beauty & the Book in Jefferson and soon after started The Pulpwood Queens book club; Stephani Chance left her law practice after 16 years and started a home furnishing business in Gladewater called Decorate Ornate and began taking groups on tours of Italy; and Robert Owens opened the innovative, upscale family dining restaurant, Traditions, in Tyler, to name just a few.

It didn’t take long for us to recall where we were as we planned our new adventures at the end of 1999. The world was anticipating the impending doom said to come with the arrival of the new millennium January 1, 2000 — the great Y2K scare. People were stockpiling food and water and some bought generators in case electricity failed. The fear was that all the computers depended upon to run businesses would malfunction because they hadn’t been programmed past 1999 — the story was back then they only used the last two digits of the year — if the date rolled over to 00, computers wouldn’t know if it was 2000 or 1900 and major chaos would ensue. The world was in a bit of a panic as daily headlines said our lives were going to change forever.

Some of us took the opportunity to make a big leap anyway.

Thankfully, entering the zero years rolled in as smooth as a New Year baby’s behind. County Line Magazine was born and quickly embraced by its readers that grew from one county to all of Northeast Texas in just a few short years.

We continue to unearth more treasures in our region with every single issue and love helping residents and visitors alike find fun things to do and discover the towns, organizations, businesses, and people that share their talents — they are the backbone of our region — the ones that preserve our history, actively contribute to our culture today, and help prepare for our future.

We feel very much a part of the positive transformation of our region in the last 15 years and are proud to continue to support the efforts that make it a great place in the world that people are drawn to come and live and visit on a regular basis. We currently have more Texas Main Streets than any other area in the state, a program that helps restore historic buildings and increase tourism, and many of them are National Main Street communities as well. The same goes for Texas Certified Retirement Towns — the state of Texas has deemed more towns in Northeast Texas as worthy to spend a person’s golden years than any other region in the state. We continue to attract more artists to live here that add beauty and inspiration to our communities and tons of people have opened award-winning getaway resorts. Many of our parks and downtown plazas are becoming inviting community gathering spaces as well and we see more fun and entertaining events and attractions emerging that give us good choices for fun things to do on a daily basis.

Our leap into the new millennium 15 years ago and our accomplishments along with our region’s, are worthy of much celebration. As we contemplated how we might do that, we thought of having parties and buying and passing out lots of cool pens and koozies and spending money on ad campaigns tooting our own horn. That just didn’t feel right to us at this time. So, instead, we’ve decided to keep the celebration focus on our region and begin a special effort for its greatest gift — our children.

We’re on a mission in 2015 to support and instigate programs that inspire kids to discover and live fully immersed in their passions. It adds a whole big chapter and enormous meaning for our goals to help shape the future of the Upper East Side of Texas.

We’ve gotten to know a lot of people over the last 15 years whose fulfilled dreams started right here — actors like Sissy Spacek, Forest Whitaker, Margo Martindale, and Matthew McConaughey; performers like Don Henley, Neal McCoy, Miranda Lambert, and Kacey Musgraves; others that became successful artists, songwriters, athletes, and world-renowned business men and women; and the teachers, healthcare workers, firefighters, safety officers, chefs, tourism and hospitality staff, construction workers, entrepreneurs, and many others that found their path to success in our communities.

Our efforts to help all our region’s children have the opportunities they’ll need to succeed include joining forces with organizations that already share this mission. We’re currently working on projects with Young Audiences of Northeast Texas, The Pulpwood Queens book club, Van ISD Literacy Partners, Texans for the Arts, Inspiritry, Region 7 Education Service Center, and others and will grow our partnerships throughout the year.

It’s another big leap for us and we are up for the challenge and look forward to bringing even greater entertaining and meaningful matters to the existing and future readers of County Line Magazine for many years to come.

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