Mark Harris

Mark Harris manages a Spring Branch shopping center his son-in-law bought in 2019, partly to house the family’s sports memorabilia business, Clutch City Cards LLC.

After Harris heard from a tenant about the Spring Branch Management District’s Business Improvement Grant (BIG) program, he took a swing and hit a home run: He applied for a BIG and the shopping center qualified for a $7,185 grant toward repairing security gates, upgrading lighting and re-striping parking spaces.

Now that the project is complete, the tenants at 1549 Campbell — including an animal clinic, nail salon and real estate office — will see that Harris played his cards well to keep them safe.

The (Spring Branch) area seems to be all very nice,” said Harris, a relative newcomer from West Virginia. “You guys (at the Management District) putting money back into it is certainly an important thing to keep it a successful community.”

Harris is hardly the only winner in the BIG program, which the District board of directors established and funded to boost revitalization of business exteriors within the district on a case-by-case basis. The grants provide up to $10,000 to cover half of a commercial property owner’s project. Qualifying projects must complement the color and character of surrounding businesses and comply with the City of Houston Code of Ordinances.

For more about BIG, click here.

Also, BIG is hardly the only way the District supports commerce in dynamic, ever-improving Spring Branch. The District funds public safety patrols, litter abatement, graffiti removal from commercial properties, beautification of business corridors, creation of the Spring Branch Trail hike-and-bike network and much more.

For more insight about the advantages of doing business in Spring Branch, click here.

Or ask Landes Inc. owner Sonny DeShong. The exterior of his textile imprinting business building at 4500 Pinemont, marred by rain-gutter leaks and faded accent colors, needed re-painting.

But the $25,000 job was beyond his reach — until he was approved for a BIG that contributed $10,000 to the project.

“Frankly, the neighborhood needed it (too), so it’s really a great thing (the District) is doing,” he said.

At the 15-unit Campbell Apartments, much has changed in the neighborhood since the complex at 1801 Campbell Road was built in 1966. It was time for the latest change when property owner Jeff Jenkins of ArtComm Residential saw that an exterior paint job and related repairs were needed there.

When he heard about the BIG from a group of real estate professionals, he applied and received about half of the $15,000+ needed to do the job. Now the complex looks so much better that even people who live nearby — and of course residents of the complex — have offered compliments.

“It’s been fantastic, it really allowed us to do this facelift,” Jenkins said of the BIG program.

He also shared some thoughts about the growth of Spring Branch.

“It’s definitely up and coming and is certainly improving,” he said of the area.

To commercial property owner and BIG recipient Wanjun Kim, seeing is believing.

The $5,200 grant paid for part of his project to trim trees, replace landscaping damaged by the 2021 freeze, re-stripe parking spaces and power wash the parking lot around an Advance Auto Parts store, his tenant on the property at 4313 Steffani.

For one thing, the improvements make the store much easier to spot for potential customers, Kim said.

“That clearly improved the view of the property from the road,” he explained, adding that “without the grant, I would probably have done the landscaping only. Pretty much the entire property was worked on, so I really appreciate the grant.”