Sunday Sit-down



By Greg Ritchie

Messenger Reporter

The Messenger has expanded our Sunday Sitdown reports to include not only our local pastors but educators, local businesspeople, students, interesting people of all walks of life in Houston County. To see the full interview, check out the video online on The Messenger Facebook page. The Messenger would like to thank Cutshaw Chevrolet in Grapeland for sponsoring this week’s edition.


How did you come to live in Crockett?

“My husband and I two and a half years ago started a custom car manufacturing company where we build custom parts for motorcycles. He’s really the blacksmith and my part came in designing things like the floorboards and luggage racks. When we started that company, we just did it out of our garage. And then we decided that we wanted to pay off our home and kind of move wherever we wanted and do that full time. We didn’t have any place per se in mind. We were traveling through Texas and we decided to drive through Crockett since we heard they have a really cool little downtown. And sure enough, we did and as we walked down the road here, we saw the old cotton building for sale. It was about 40% caved in and a foot of water in it. We thought, ‘This looks like something we might be able to handle.’ It’s taken a year to build the building out. In the meantime, we’ve opened the the business which is Filthy Gringos and we ship those products worldwide of handlebars, luggage racks, etc. We stay about six months booked out on those products.”

You also design and make custom signs?

“I acquired a four foot by eight foot plasma table. And that was kind of a dream come true because I knew I had a lot of other concepts in my mind on a larger scale I wanted to create with that table. One of the cool things we’ve been doing is building custom signs for the downtown Crockett area. Me personally, I’m a big fan of retro Art-Deco which a lot of that is incorporated in the architecture down here. And I wanted to add a little something to Crockett at nighttime – they’re really cool during the day, but at nighttime, they’re lit up by LED and it gets this really cool aesthetic. I wanted to help some of those businesses bring the streets to life in the evenings. FT Metalwork is the custom signs part of the business. We say, ‘If you dream it we can build it.”

How have you liked living in Houston County and Crockett? 

“So the city was great and the mayor and the city council supported us making this a commercial and residential building so we could live here, too. At least I don’t have to drive to work. I am at work. I joke that my commute is now the best it’s ever been. Oh, it’s a huge difference. You know, this is where we used to vacation in East Texas out in this area and to be able to live here now. It’s a big stress off of the shoulders just just being here. I can walk to the store if I want and the small town community.”

How did www.discovercrockettx.com come about? 

I just dove right into getting involved in the community. I like doing community work and helping my neighbors. So I got immediately involved with the Downtown Crockett Association. and it’s just been wonderful. The DCA is the the entity that is hosting the Discover Crockett website. But a report that I read basically stated that Houston County had all these wonderful things – attractions, history, restaurants, shopping and things to do. However, it was not all centrally located in one space. The site really encompasses everything that a tourist would be looking for if they drove into Houston County. The DCA was wonderful enough to say we want to host this and kind of allowed me a lot of say in how I built a website to be attractive to individuals that were just traveling through. I call it a community effort. As a community, we can help each other to build our economy. It doesn’t have to be an individual – we work better together.”

Where do you see downtown Crockett five years from now? 

“It’s going to be pretty amazing down here! I see a lot of tourism, a lot of economy booming ands business in general being here and being alive. Entertainment – I see a lot of more live music coming in. We have a committee that this week met for the first time and we’re going to be hosting a blues festival called ‘Blues in the Pines’ for next fall.  We want to bring a lot of folks down here and show them the history and the music of this area. I think in five years you’re going to see a lot of growth but in a really good way. No more buildings sitting empty or just used as a storage unit. We can do little things that don’t cost a lot of money. Just a little effort, I think it would be pretty easy for everybody.”

Greg Ritchie can be reached at [email protected]

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