FAIRMOUNT, TX - Toledo Bend Lake has been know for attracting outdoors enthusiasts and fishers from across the country. But when the weekend ends, everyone leaves the Sabine County area and returns to their normal lifestyle. The locals call the visitors "Weekenders."
The community of Fairmount is tucked away behind the east Texas pines. Jim Moyer, the unofficial mayor of Fairmount described his place of retirement as follows: "this is in my opinion one of the most beautiful places in the world."
Moyer loves the shores of Toledo Bend Lake and he has a goal to get people to move to the town, live in the town, and most importantly help the town grow The Thomas Jefferson Yellow Jacket and Rice University engineer has purchased and is developing 194 acres of land next to the lake.
Moyer's mission is to boost the economy of the fifth poorest county in the state of Texas. His business partner, Craig Victory, describes the team's plan for economic impact. "We'll probably employ about 200 employees ourselves, and then have an impact on you know double or triple that number down the line with supporting businesses and hopefully other businesses that come and grow with us."
So how does one man, and his groupies change an entire town? Well first, that man has to have a lot of time on his hands and a significant amount of money. The Port Arthur native spent his career developing gadgets and inventing new technologies in San Jose, California. "Someone told me I had, I don't know, 16 or 20 patents, once, I didn't know it was that many," said Moyer.
I mean when you talk to Jim, you just know the wheels are constantly cranking. His technological track record, remarkable.. "At one time we had our parts in about eighty percent of all of the laptops in the world."
You can hear the passion, the focus, especially when he talks about that one time he created a specific voltage regulator. "A lot of different people built that Qaulcomm design and there were seven of these little regulators in every cell phone, and a friend told me that at one time after I had left the company that they were shipping five million a day. So that was a pretty big win."
According to Moyer he's a generous hermit. He says he didn't even like California that much. When he moved back to Texas to take care of his parents, he immediately reconnected with the personalities here at home.
He's that older gentleman who always h as a conspiracy or strong opinion. Especially when it comes to the ethanol free gas he sells at his pumps. "No I'm selling it below cost, it's a rebellion. It cost more to make a gallon of ethanol than it does to make a gallon of gasoline."
But the reality is, Moyer humors himself. He's an investor ready to brighten the personality of one of the oldest and most historic communities in the state of Texas. Slowly, people are moving to Fairmount. Real estate agents are excited. In the last twenty years, the population of of the unincoprated area has increased 25 percent.
And that's why he's using his hard earned fortune to develop the little town that his parents loved more than anything in the world. He even wants to build an airport, with hangers, and homes along the runway, to watch the visitors soar into town and take off whenever they want.
The blue prints include a general store, cafe, gas station, car wash and lube stores, a medical clinic, strip mall, wellness center, and most importantly a 100,000 square foot, covered lumber and hardware store.
"It'll put Fairmount on the map, it will become a destination point," said his partner Craig Victory. "I saw this opportunity, I saw what was he was doing and building in Sabine County, and I wanted to be a part of it and I'm happy to be a part of it."
The price tag for a project this big, well it floats. Rumor has it folks in Hemphill say Moyer is a billionaire. But he just laughs. "In a little town, a little community, don't take out an ad, start a rumor, it goes twice as fast and at no cost."
He's spending tens of millions of dollars to makeover the place he now calls home. Jim Moyer and his team are more than weekenders, they are town flippers, ready to leave their legacy along Toledo Bend Lake.