Kevin Fowler – Business Banking and Rockwall Former Mayor Talk

The Ranch & Table

Podcast Notes

Kevin Fowler – Business Banking and Rockwall Former Mayor Talk

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All right. Welcome everybody to the Wells Ranch Studios. Today, I have another good friend in to the podcast and a former mayor of Rockwall. This is also senior VP of Independent Financial North, right across the street from us there at the restaurant, Kevin Fowler. Welcome, man. Thank you.

Thank you for having me out here.

Man, I'm excited about it. Thanks for driving out. Uh, man, I want to say that you have, uh, you've supported us from day one

from day one. I was there the day. That you opened the door, you had a little chamber deal in there. Yep. You had your little burger bites. Yep. Yep. Out and

man, and, and, uh, you know, we bank with you there.

Yeah. Uh, our daily deposits and all of that are done there. And, uh, man, you guys have, and the alwayss have had, uh, just the best staff, really the best, uh, nicest people work for you and, and you guys. And so.

It's a joy because they know who serves them their hamburgers.

I'm glad they like us. We've, we've had, we've made good friends.

Uh, some have retired and moved on and they still come eat burgers. Yeah. I don't know if they come see you as much.

Maybe if we cook burgers into love, right? Right. And

that would, that might be frowned on from the city, you know? Um, but yeah, you guys have supported us and, um, Even with like the parking situation across the street from us a lot of people don't know uh that that's part of our Allowable parking but without you guys I was thinking about this the other day It'd be tough It'd be tough to do what we do there without it.

So thank you for that. You've been a friend uh to me and i'm glad to have you on and Um, and to talk about some of this stuff and glad to be here, man. It's just, um, it's, it's going to be a good episode. I believe. Um, I want you to just take a minute and just tell people who you are and kind of, um, what you do and just introduce yourself.

Okay. You know, my,

my biggest fear when you said me on the podcast, they're going to look at it and they're going to say, Lee Wells is talking to Kevin Fowler and you're going to get a bump in, in listenership and viewership. The country singer is going to be, how did Lee Wells get Kevin Fowler, the singer and they're going to turn it on and they're like, that ain't the Kevin Fowler that I know.

So, uh, I thought you sang the first time I saw that on a flyer for me, I'm coming into Rockwell. I'm like, Hey, I'm going to go hear Kevin Fowler sing. You

know, I, we can talk a lot about Kevin Fowler cause we, our paths have, have crossed in my, in my political career. And, um, tell you a bunch of funny stories about, about Kevin.

Um. He and I lived in Austin at the same time. I lived in Austin before I moved to Rockwall. And there were like three Kevin Fowler's in the phone book. Now I just dated myself because I mentioned phone book, but we had phone books. There was three Kevin Fowler's. There was me who worked at the bank in downtown Austin.

There was another guy who worked in a law firm in the same building I did because I would get his pizza. He liked pizza hut. I'd get his pizza deliveries every once in a while. And there was Kevin Fowler, the singer. And, uh, We'd get phone calls like at three in the morning, you know, Hey dude, great show.

We're like, man, we're Kevin Fowler, the banker, Sunday school teacher, wrong one wasn't there. And, uh, but I met him. I, he was, uh, we went, saw Willie Nelson. We had moved up here and, uh, he was opening for Willie. So we heard him when he was out at a table and, uh, first member talked to him. He went through the little line.

And, and so I was telling him that story. And he's like, Man, I used to get phone calls whenever I was sleeping after a show looking for Kevin Fowler. He went to Hyde Park Baptist Church and he worked at a bank and I'm like, Dude, that was me, . I said, so did we wake you up and disturb you? He goes, oh yeah.

I'm like, because it was because it

was business hours in the morning. Business hours in morning. Yeah. He was just sleeping.

Yeah. Yep, yep. I said, so we can just call ourselves easy. So we kind of developed a friendship and, and, uh, I, whenever he plays up here, we go see him visit with him on the bus and, yeah.

Uh, just, it's, it's, that's cool. Funny. But anyway, enough about that. Kevin Fowler. Yeah. The real Kevin Fowler, because I think I'm a little bit older, so I think I was here first, the original, um. , where do you want me to start? How, I mean, how much do you want me to go into? Like Well, tell us, tell us back to the law cabin days or, uh,

well, we, we've already hit the phone book days.

Yeah. I see. Seriously, . Um, so I think, uh, what you do now, uh, what you do at the bank, we're gonna talk some, some banking, uh Okay. Small business banking stuff. Uh, and then of course, uh, political. Tell us, tell us about, uh, being the mayor. Okay. A little bit.

Yeah, absolutely. Um. So moved to Rockwall in 2000, went to LSU, got to get that plug in.

Um, so graduate from college, moved to Austin, was in Austin for 13 years. Um, got married, moved to Rockwall. And so I've been here since, since 2000. So 2023 going on 24 years in Rockwall, longest I've ever lived in one place. My dad was a minister. And so we moved a little bit, moved from, you know, I was in Louisiana and Texas and Oklahoma and.

Tennessee back to Louisiana, then back to Austin. So I've bounced a little bit, but the longest I've been in one place is, is in Rockwell. So it's really, really home, um, have been in banking the entire time. I, 35, 36 years, um, I've been doing this in one form or the other, um, been, been in banking and, uh, So really that's, that's what I've done in Rockwall.

Part of the banking world is, is knowing your community, being active in your community. So we've been very service minded, been very active on that side. So that's chamber of commerce, that's boy scouts, that's economic development corporation. And all those just eventually led into where do you serve next when you've exhausted some things.

And it was just a natural progression. Council

to the council and then

and the council. Yeah. Yeah. Um,

how long were you on

the council? I was on council six years. Okay. Yeah. I was on EDC. That's a economic development corporation, which is appointed by council. And that really kind of whetted my appetite, my interest in what council does, because there's a lot of that was closely related.

And so, uh, that, uh, a position came up and. I put my name in to be appointed. It was David Sweet. David Sweet had became county judge. He resigned from council to take that spot, do a spot open. So I put my name in the hat. One of my very best friends, um, John Hohenschelt, who I was on the EDC board with. Uh, in fact, we had dinner with them last night.

We traveled to Spain earlier this year. So I mean, really a very good friend. Uh, also put his name in. Well, he got appointed. And I said, well, that's fine. There's another spot opening up. I'll just run for my spot. I'll work. And, uh, so that was in 2005, 15, I'm sorry, 2015. Uh, is when that happened. So did six years on council.

Um, it was time Jim Pruitt termed out. We have term limits in Rockwall. So he termed out and. It just seemed like the right thing, the right time, uh, to run and have an opponent. So, uh, it was a very easy race, uh, to do it. So that's how we came out and you were mayor for mayor for mayor for, for one term, one, two year term.

So in Rockwell, the charter reads, you can do six years. If you do you six. You know, a full term. So a full term is six years, two, two, and two. If you do your full six years, you've termed out But for if you want to run for mayor, you can do one two year term as mayor. Okay. And so I did my one two year term.

Now I can sit out and come back and run for mayor, run for council if I, if I chose

to do that. Okay. Okay. Well good. Um, I know that those are, those are things that people don't necessarily they know mayor, they know the word, you know, they know who you are or they know the name, but, uh, I don't think people understand how much work that is and how much, uh, well, we, everybody knows it's an honor, but how much work that is.

And, uh, I was talking to trace, uh, Johanneson the other day, who's the current mayor now. He was uh, he was late getting back to me on something and he said well I had I had counsel last night and had And I guess there's a lot of prep I mean tell us a little bit about what that what that workload is just for People like me who don't know what all that

is.

Yeah, so it it ebbs and flows So so the mayor is the the figured head of the city is the spokesperson um You know, it's really the it's the face of the city um Behind the scenes of that is working with staff. Really we're just a, a board of directors per se there. We have a full time staff that knows how to run a street department, public works department, uh, HR.

Fire, but that's so the

city managers,

city manager does a lot of work. President CEO. Yeah, it really, if you equate it to business terms, really does that now they work closely in conjunction, but we do policy setting. Uh, there are a few things that city council does. You know, as far as zoning and land use, but again, we have a zoning director who has forgotten more about zoning and land use and planning that I would ever pretend to know.

I mean, they're professional. That's what they do for a, for a living. Right. So they advise and they advise and then you help. They give us information. They advise when we ask, they're very careful about, because I don't want to influence what our decision making is. Right. Um, but outside of the title of mayor, I had one vote and I would.

Uh, when people would call and say, but you're the mayor, but the mayor has one vote. And, uh, I've got six other very capable council members sitting up there who have a brain and they can think, and they can make their own decision. You know, there was healthy discussion, uh, out there and you win some, you lose some, uh, when it comes, when it comes to a vote, that's the way it should be.

Right. That's,

that's fair. And then the, so it's week is

monthly. Council has, so they have two meetings a month. And on Wednesday, you get a preliminary packet glanced through it. Then Friday, the packet drops, it drops from the website. So the same packet that I would read and use in council meeting, it was the same one that you would download.

If you wanted to know what was going on, we really got, not really, we didn't get any extra information. Outside, unless we made a phone call and said, Hey, I've got a question about this. There's really no extra information. There's no pre meetings counseling and get together and said, okay, let's talk through this, what you see happening in council is happening in real time.

Um, it's against the law for us to, to, to talk forward behind the closed door. Yeah. So packets, the packets ranged anywhere from 150 to. Three, four, 500 pages long. Now you don't have to read every word of those. A lot of that would be things that, that are information that you don't need to read. So you got very good at being efficient, but you did have to be prepared.

You can't walk in there and not be prepared, uh, for public hearings, depending on what was on the agenda was would depend on how much phone calls you got or emails. If it was just straightforward. You may get nothing if there was something that was people Apartments in downtown. Yeah. Yeah that Call it people's interest.

And we got a lot of, a lot of emails and phone calls. So it did become very time consuming. Yeah.

Just, just fielding those and saying what we're going to talk about it at the meeting

or, or, or, or listeners, people want to be heard. They have a right to be heard. And, and listen now, you know, you can't on that particular issue, I couldn't respond to everyone.

Um, but I tried to call, I tried to have phone conversations, um, on the really Really hot topics. The ones that people really were getting emotional about. I'd say, let's, here's my phone number. Let's set up appointment, come into my office and let's do, let's do this. Yeah. Let's sit down and have a face to face conversation.

And we may disagree when we're done, but at least you're going to hear my, my thought process. You're going to hear what I'm, what, what I'm doing, how I'm thinking. And I want to be able to listen to you. I had two people do that. Yeah. Yeah. They don't, they don't want to do that. Yeah.

Social media is, uh, is, is probably frustrating.

Um, everyone wants to mouth off on social media, but two people showed up at your office. Oh, and

they're experts. Social media is full of experts. Of course. Yeah. Yeah. I trace current mayor. He, he's a little more active. He's gotten a little less active than his mayor. I've noticed, but, um, I tended to stay away from that because it's a rabbit hole that you just, it's just not a bottom to it.

Not going to win it. Uh, now if there was just gross misinformation, I would put that out there. And I did a lot of type, type, type, type, type, type, type, type, type, delete, delete, delete, delete, delete, and just say, I just, I'm not going to win this. Yeah.

And then I think making the door open is the best policy.

And then if. If three people show up, then you can have those conversations with people who really want to. And then the people who just want to mouth off, well, they'll, they'll go to sleep

sometime. Yeah. I'll tell you. And most people don't really pay attention to what counsel does because so much of it's mundane until it impacts them.

I call it the, it's the pothole in front of their house. Yes. When the potholes in front of their house. It's very, that issue is very, very important. Otherwise, if it's in front of Lee's house, well, that's Lee's pothole. And I don't care what happens in front of his house, but if it's in mine, then people get very, very interested.

And I get that. I mean, I don't expect people to sit and watch two hours of council meetings every other week, but right. They can if they want to. Well,

it's, it's available. Yeah. And I, I think that's a, that's about the only policy you can have is come talk to

me. I think what people don't see or didn't see is what happens behind the scenes with developers.

So, um, there was a developer right after the apartment complex issue that we had in downtown. There was a guy that just south of where the old Brookshires is where, uh, uh. Planet Fitness is just South of there. That will triangular strip the land. There was a developer from New York who wanted to put in apartment complexes there.

And he called council members and we had zoom calls and he even came to council meeting and, and I had several phone calls with him, uh, via zoom, just he and I, and his little high rise apartment. And. And I said, look, look, it's just not going to happen. And he tried to tell me how backwoods I was and how I just didn't understand how much better his product was and that we just didn't get it.

And I'm like, I don't think you understand our, our citizens. I understand them and I know what they want. Those are the things that sisters don't say that never, that never hit. Any agenda because we were able to squash it. Mm-Hmm. and say this, this is just not, this isn't welcome here. Yeah. It's not gonna go well.

In fact, he said, well, he kind of threatened, he was threatening. He said, well, I'll tell you what, if we don't come in, we're gonna put a top golf there. And I said, really, you put a Topgolf in and I'll put a statue of you up there. And he's like, well, maybe not a Topgolf. Bring that, bring that

all day long, brother.

Be careful what you threaten, right? Cause I'll take you up on it. Yeah. He

couldn't backpedal fast enough.

So that you're talking about the piece of land right behind the ATM there. Is that where I'm talking?

Uh, further, a little further South. Yeah. We're all the political sides pop up during, during political campaign sign season.

Right. Uh, just north of railroad tracks there. So

yeah, that would have been a lot of work to get that all working anyway. So yeah,

we just became very Texan, you know, just north of railroad tracks there. Right. Right there by that grove of

evergreens. Right. And I actually know exactly where that is. I know

where that's

at.

Oh man, that's awesome. Um, so, so. So politically, I have this later in the, in the show, but I'll ask you now, since we're on political, any, any sites for something else? I mean, do you, you think someday you'll, you'll jump back in a race and do something else? What do you think? So,

so the answer to that and the very truthful interest, I have zero designs, zero plans, hardcore plans to do something else.

Now. Um, does that mean that I'll never do it? It doesn't. If, if the opportunity were there, if I thought I was the right person at the right time, then I would absolutely do it. I enjoyed it. Um, honestly, I was ready for a break. I enjoyed the break. I've enjoyed having my Sunday evenings and Mondays and not feeling obligated to go to as many events as I did before.

Um, I enjoyed going to them. But I also enjoy being at home with my wife and reading and, and having a little bit of freedom, but it's a lot of work. I would absolutely not rule it out, but I have. I'm not planning, there's no plans to run for anything right now. Okay. And that's,

that might change tomorrow.

That's a fair answer. I mean, I don't know. People ask me, they said, when are you going to run for something? I said, I don't even know why you would ask me for that. But, um, no, but, um, I've, I've got my plate full right now. I don't know where I would fit anything else. And then I, then I open up and a podcast and find time to write a book.

So I guess, I mean, uh, I meant that when I said it, but then when those opportunities come up or when that desire hits, then you make time, I guess.

Busy people have a way of fitting in what, what they need to fit in. When I was mayor and I was on council, I never felt like I was overwhelmed with work or church or.

Personal. I never felt that until I wasn't mayor and you had some time and I had time. I mean, I kind of jokingly said overnight, your phone stops ringing, but. Really overnight, your phone does stop, stop ringing. My calendar's full. Um, my, one of the ladies I work with at the bank, she's like, you're here all the time.

My wife is like, you really should take up woodworking. Yeah. But I don't want to take up woodworking. Yeah. But you really should take up woodworking. You need something. You need something to do. Like I'm happy to sit on the couch. You should

write a book. I tell you, um, I just, I just wrote this book and, and, uh, on your phone, I did, I did, um, well, the majority of the core of it, I wrote on the phone, um, and that was the only way I could get started.

That's the only way I could imagine doing it is in between meetings or in between doing something else. I may have said it on here before, but, um, I was doing it in between loads of hay. So my guy's loading me up with the tractor and, uh, and I'm, I'm typing, you know, I'm doing the two thumbs, you know, I'm just going at this thought.

And, uh, and when you're done, when you're loaded, you know, you beat, beat, he hits a horn and, and you pull out and, you know, go dump and come back and whatever. He honks and I'm right in the middle and he honks again, you know, like I didn't hear it. And then my phone rings. He's like, Hey man, you're loaded.

You've been loaded for a while. I'm like, I know. And he didn't know that I was writing a book at that time. So that was when he first figured it out that, um, man, I'm writing something. Hold on. I'll be right there. I'm, I'm, I'm going, I'm doing it. But that's how I started. Um, probably. I would say at least half of the book was, was written on my phone.

And then I moved it over at some point, it got to too many directions and my brain wouldn't, uh, keep adding to it until I organized it. And then I dumped it over into a word doc and on the laptop and I started organizing it and then it was easier just to do it there, but I still would put. things in my phone and then move them over to it later.

I'm out

how you did that. It was the only

way to do it. Cause I'm not going to sit down. I can't sit down for hours at a time and just dedicate to writing. My brain doesn't work that way. And so that was the way it worked for

me. I would have had a pad, have a pad of paper with me today. I just, I longhand.

Yeah. Well, I'll tell you what's hard. Even when I read, I have, Kindle and those little Kindles. Mm-Hmm. and I'll, I'll read on a Kindle, but what's hard is if I wanna flip back and it's like, who's this guy? I don't remember who this person is. And Mm-Hmm. . It's cumbersome to flip back and forth. It's when I've got a piece of paper in a book I can flip through.

I kind of know where it is. I remember where I saw it on the page. Yep. Um, yeah. And I go back and forth between paper, but I would think writing a book. I would want to see an outline. I'd have a little outline. I mean, Well,

eventually it got there. Eventually it had to be an outline. I'm like a buck and they

give me a scroll.

And it had to get there to keep it all straight. I'll tell you a funny thing. I had a couple of guys read it for, um, what you read it for comment. And I printed

it out. Did you really? I printed every single page out. Wow. And read it. Paper copy. Wow. I couldn't read. That's cool. Yeah. Yeah. That's, it's still, it's on my desk.

You can come see it. That's awesome. In my mark. It's all marked up. I

love that. Uh, I had another guy read it for, uh, he was a journalist, um, and a, an attorney. And just real meticulous guy. And he read it. He actually read it twice for me. Uh, my first round of beta readers. And then he came back and he had a lot of word changes and semicolons and just real good information.

And so once we. Brought it back to the second cycle of that I had him read it again, and he writes a letter like a piece of notebook paper, and he says He put all the comments in the in the longhand and then he says I really think you need To reorganize these chapters and add this chapter. And I was, I thought I was ready to go to print.

I almost cried because to stop and redo all of that, but he was right. And, uh, and it was actually, once I got that done, it was, it was pretty easy, but man, I appreciate you. I appreciate you reading it really. Yeah. I mean, that was pretty cool that you would do

that for me. I think I told you this, but I'll tell you again.

So when you give it to me, I'm like, I'm happy to read it and I print it out. I'm like, Okay. That's a lot of reading. That's me. Like he really wrote a book and, and then I started reading. I was like, it's about the restaurant industry. I'm not really not that interested in the restaurant industry. And I kind of read it.

So I, I read, I don't know, maybe about a third of it, you know, word for word for word. And then it was, you told me, Hey, I need to get this back. We're about to need the feedback. And so I said, okay, I need to sit down and reread this. So I said, I'm a pretty fast reader anyway. I said, well, I'm going to skim through this.

And so I skimmed about, I don't know. It might've been a chapter four, five, six, eight, 10 pages. And it caught it, I got interested and I slowed down and read every single page word for word. I'm like, and so part of kind of what I, the feedback I, I said, you know, what's a cowboy do about writing a book really?

And I thought you'd be wrong. It was really,

that's one of my favorite feedback, by the way. That was one of my favorite it's in the book. I don't, I don't, I don't know. Do you have a book yet? I don't, I don't. So I'll show everybody. Um, so let me, let me, uh, I have, I have your statement right here and, um, And, uh, for, for those that are autographed it for

you,

I need one.

Um, so, so what can you learn from a cowboy who runs a burger joint? Nothing much, right? You'd be wrong. Wells captures the highs and lows of operating a highly successful business in one of the most difficult industries in which to succeed. He provides a glimpse into the. Inspiration, vision, creation. So it was a pretty cool statement, uh, and, uh, catches your attention pretty good and I appreciate the

compliment.

Or I had a preconception of, you know, here's this old cowboy going to write a book and I'm going to have to muddle through grammar and, and it's just, it's going to be a burden. I got into it and I'm like. This is really well written and it's, it much exceeded, what's that say? It exceeded my expectations of what, right.

What you were going to do. And it was, it's a really good book. In fact, I told my wife. First, I said, yeah, Lee wants to read it and I'm going to, I'm going to do it. He's a friend. And at the end I said, you really should read this book. It's really a good book. I think. That's awesome. And so, yeah. So if you don't have the book, you need to get the book and read it.

Right. So

let this be a lesson to us to, to maybe judge a book by its cover. I don't know. I don't know what we're saying here, but. It had great artwork. It's got great artwork. Artwork, right. I had a buddy of mine drew, he drew all the sketches. He actually lives in Croatia. He's a missionary in Croatia. He's Croatian.

And, uh, And came here and then went back to, to minister to his, his people, uh, his villages and stuff. And, um, man, just a cool way he sketches the way he does. It's just really cool. And so I asked him, I said, Hey man, uh, I'm going to do a book project. And would you do some sketches for me? And cause I was trying to capture the.

The feel or a look of maybe the cow on the counter or the, you know, The ranch horse or whatever it was. I was kind of talking about it. Just give a feeling and man, he just almost almost first draft every time Very rarely did I have to go back and say let's just this he just nailed it every it's really

good Yeah, the cow on the counter So I read that and I've been in your restaurant Who knows many times, right?

I've never noticed the cow on the counter. I've noticed a little origami dollar, but so I went back over after the book, I went back over one day, just a few weeks ago. Just to see if it was from there, I mean, yeah, no, I had to go see if it was there. I think I'm

going to send, uh, re drumming a copy of this book.

I really am because her, her, uh, sub chapters about her, remember, um, about the inspiration to even start the restaurant from, from her. And so, uh, that'd be kind of cool to be on her show or something. I don't know if you were just out there. Weren't you, I was, yeah, we, um, I have a brother. An adopted brother that lives there in Pawhuska, and so it's, we saw him for Thanksgiving and, and ate at her restaurant and went out and, um, it's just always relaxing to go out and, and drive.

I'll tell you a funny story while we're on that subject. Um, we went out, my dad was a, uh, well, you know from the book, my dad was a manager, the, the, uh, foreman, uh, for the, uh, Chapman Barnard Ranch, which at the time was the largest ranch in Oklahoma. Now the Drummond's have the, you know, some of that and added to theirs.

And they're the largest ranch in Oklahoma, but, uh, right there where those two ranches meet is where my dad was, was a foreman for several years. And so we took a drive out onto that ranch, which now it's a.

As far as you can see, not a telephone pole, not another road, not even a tree. I mean, it's Plains of Oklahoma. That's good. Good city

planning. Oh, right, right.

You can, it's an open book actually out there. They've never, they, they said they've never, that ground has never been plowed. In the history of the world, it's too rocky.

There's other reasons that they know that they said it's never been plowed, but the, the bison actually the way their feet move and, and their heavy, uh, frames actually, uh, cultivate that soil, that topsoil. And that's why they had to put more back out on it. Cattle don't do that. It's really interesting, but we get as far as we can get and we're at a turnaround lookout.

We're probably 20 miles from. The closest road paved road and I go to get in my truck. I'd stepped out the video jump back in my truck pull my gear shift down in my Have a Silverado 3500 dually. I pull the gear shift down and it's it's just clear movement, no, no gear nothing just Free movement.

So this is not an advertisement for for that

truck or that transmission I'm talking.

My heart dropped. I mean, my, my family's with me, my brother's with me, uh, you know, my girls, my wife, him, we're, we're just sitting there. I'm looking at him. I'm like, it, it no go. I mean, it was just, I mean, it wasn't doing anywhere. So I hit no go. It was not going anywhere. And I, and I remember looking out the windows and I'm like, Jimmy, um, How far is the closest road?

He's like, Lee, it's, we're at least 20 miles from anything. I mean, and that's, I've got the video on my phone. There's nothing. And so, uh, I call, I did have self signal up there. Uh, we were high enough up and I called the dealership and I said, give me anybody that knows anything about this truck and transmission, because I had imagined.

You know, worst case that something in the steering column had broken. Well, it was just the connection to the actual transmission down there. And so he crawls under the truck. We manually put it into drive and drive back, but I'll tell you what's weird. You don't think about this, but driving with that thing in the park position, mess with me all the way back.

Cause you got this gear shift in your site and it's not supposed to be there. Anyway, I thought it took a long time to tell that story, but it was, it was very. Um, it, it, my heart sunk. I thought, Oh my goodness, what am I going to do? I'm thinking tow truck from here. Uh, it was a Thanksgiving week. Um, it was, uh, the day before Thanksgiving, no dealerships open.

I mean, what in the world is going to push it back to Texas? I mean, anyway, AAA, not out there. Can you do, so I was glad it was an easy fix, but we got back and fixed it. It was easy, but anyway, um, man, tell, let's talk about banking a little bit. I know there's a lot of misinformation. There's a lot of stuff floating around, uh, especially since the last election.

Uh, there's just been a lot of stuff, um, that just. Keeps resurfacing. Of course, last year, we talked about this. I came in the office and we talked about, uh, there was a collapse of an investment bank. There was a Swiss bank that was, uh, that went under as big news, you know, back last year sometime. And, and I came in and said, man, what's the deal with banking industry?

You know, what, what are we looking at here? I've heard some stuff on, you know, on the internet, on Tik TOK, whatever. And, uh, you were very, very comforting to, um, just completely. Dismiss a lot of that kind of stuff. And so talk to us about the difference. And what we saw there was investment banking versus, uh, the more traditional banking to talk to that, just because I know people have to have this in the back of

their mind.

Yeah. Yeah. Well, because it's news and it, they, they don't lead with. All the community banks are really quite fine because that's not news. They, they lead with, there's no drama where there's no drama. And, and, and actually those bank collapses were, they were dramatic because they happened so fast. I mean, you know, Thursday, Friday, there's runs on the bank and, um, you know, it was kind of, it's a wonderful life kind of scenario.

People go on the ATM machines. They can't. It's not like it was just a small bank in the middle of a pasture in Oklahoma. I mean, it was, this was real and real money and, and, and big names, big big names who their customers, um, probably the biggest, there's a couple of takeaways from that. One is our balance sheets.

A community bank in Texas, a community bank in Oklahoma, a community bank in Louisiana is completely structured differently than the way those guys were. Those guys were investing loans. They were making loans to startup companies. Um, high, high, high risk. There's no risk officer in those banks saying, Hey guys, you need policies, procedures.

You need some kind of standards. You need lines on the road. Mm-Hmm. to, to stay in. So they were just, they were running, rolling out money and they were, they were running hot. Yeah. And they, their, their balance sheets were mismanaged. Um, you know, their, their assets and their liabilities weren't matched. Um, you take a, a, a Texas bank and I'll just use Texas 'cause that's what we know.

Mm-Hmm. . Um, we know our customers we're probably not gonna do. A lot of startup loans. Well, we'll do some if it makes sense, but are we going to be a venture capitalist? Are we going to be a, be an investor? That's what those banks were. They were investors in these. And these startup businesses or these high tech and not even just startup, a lot of high tech, high risk businesses, right?

Movie

studios and new technology technology.

Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. High failure rates. And so, um, you're not going to sit, you're not going to see that on a Texas. I mean, you'll see some, guarantor that that's. And, and if something goes wrong, they can weather the storm. Uh, we have risk officers. We just manage the banks much differently and we know who our customers are.

My customers are guys and gals that I see at church. I'm going to see them in the restaurants. I'm going to, I'm going to, we, we know who our customers are. Um, in fact, we, there's, And the banking street, there's brokered deals. So you have a guy who's brokering boat RV searches. He just does boat RV searches and he'll call you and say, Hey, I got this deal over here.

And Garland, do you, you want to, you want to do this deal? Well, if we don't know him and it's a broker deal, we're probably going to pass on that. Now somebody will do it. It's a great, maybe a great deal, but we don't know them. We don't bank them. We don't see them. So, um,

so when my money's at your bank, um, that, that is going to be, or my loans with you, then the security comes from the relationships, it comes from the backing of the collateral that's required, which these other banks didn't have any as venture capitalists.

I mean, have no, I mean, none, um, which a run on the bank would be. Hard to imagine in Texas then, I mean, in your situation, I mean, that's not something that we ever

foresee happening. Well, and think what, what happened. I don't know if we talked about this when you were in interest rates have gone up and as has interest rates.

Have gone up the money that, that those banks had invested in their bond portfolios. So as rates go up, bond values are going down. And so they have to mark those to market. I mean, they, so they were taking paper write downs on their balance sheet, which was making them insolvent. So, so that's. They were having

to cover those bonds.

Yeah.

With other money. And, and so take, so take our bank. What we did was we saw that this is about to happen. We saw rates were going up. We reclassified those, our investment portfolio from short term holds. We're going to hold them to maturity, held to maturity. So, we're going to get our principal back.

We didn't have to write anything down. Our balance sheets remain strong. We have enough cash. On top of that, we have access to lines of credit. There, there, the problems that those banks had in California. We prevented that from happening by forecasting and looking ahead and say, Hey, right. You're going up.

We know our, our bond portfolio is not going to be worth it. If we keep it in short term holds, we're going to move from short term holds. We can move to longterm hold. Let's hold it. We're fine with that. And so completely mismanaged their balance sheets. So

probably it's, I mean, there's, there's, I don't want to say never, we don't ever want to say never, but the whole structure is just completely different.

It's just different. Yeah. And this is more, it's more secure because of just the way you do business in

general. Yeah, and could the bottom fall out? Absolutely. Sure. Absolutely. But we feel like, and I won't speak for every bank, but at least my peer banks, I know, and I don't want to plug them, but I'll plug them.

Well, they're well run, well capitalized. Um, there's not, I don't think there's a lot of high risk, at least in Rockwall, Greenville, Sulphur Springs and our area on the, and the independent community banks, the larger community banks.

Yeah, they're just run differently. That's not going to be something that we're going to see here.

Um, it's not like the old days. It's not like the old savings and loan days. Um, When everything was running pretty hot, it's, it's different now or the,

or the what? 2009 and

2008, nine rates fell

whenever all the, all the different mortgages were a problem. Yep. Yeah. Yep. So we'll learn from those mistakes and move on and, and those shouldn't have to reoccur.

Yeah. You hope not. Good, good. Well, you're doing everything you can to keep it from happening again. So that's good because everyone is also nervous about, you know, these home values have gotten so, so high. And people aren't necessarily making the same money, you know, uh, ratio wise as their houses are costing and cars are costing groceries.

And so in the back of people's minds, it's like, Hey, this does make sense that it could happen because you know, all these other things in the, in the world are happening. Yeah. And so, um,

And we still have insurance. I mean, as a depositor, I mean, we still have FDIC insurance. I had a guy call me, he was very concerned.

About his deposits in the bank. And what I'll say is, you know, well, they're insured, but even if you're, if you're over that two 50 limit, then there's other ways that we can place money around, um, we know there, there are some tools that we can have to make sure no matter what you have, uh, you're, you're well insured and he said, but I'm just so nervous about it.

And we talked and so I finally said, and I didn't know this person, just a phone call come in and I said, let me look at your account. And then we can make some changes and we pull it up and he had like 7, 000 in the bank. And I'm like, bro, you good.

Cause, cause FDIC is 250, 000, right? Yeah.

I'm like, yeah, a lot of bad things that have to happen.

You're within the limits

of that, bro. You're good. I don't think I said it quite like that, but that's kind of what I was thinking. Yeah. But, but, and not to make light, he had, he legitimately was concerned about his money. Well, sure. And his four or five, six, 7, 000. Might as well have been 50 million because that's what he had.

And then that's, I don't, I don't make, I'm not

making light of that. No, you're not. But that, but your point was you're well within the

range, well within the range, there's still insurance out there that, that covers a large portion. Right. And I even, you know, I called. My largest depositor and which wasn't me,

then

my second one was Lee.

Oh, no, it's not. And, and your bank might be in trouble. Well, I said, I know my customers. So I, uh, I called him and, and when all this was going on and said, Hey, let's talk through this. Do you have any concerns? It's, I just want to make sure you're comfortable. And he's like. I'm really good, good, really fine.

So, you know, we had those out there too. He had, that's why

we bank with you because I appreciate those things, those things, they make a difference. People caring about it and knowing that an issue could come up or whatever. Just like when I walked in and ask you about this, I mean, you could have laughed me out the door and said, man, get out of here, that's all stupid stuff.

But we, I mean, you didn't. And I think that's why we're talking about it now is because of. If I had that concern and I think other people will, you know, and I think that's a great answer for it. I keep hearing about like the devaluing of the dollar. I don't know what that means, but the devaluing. Don't you hope you're not looking at me.

I mean, or, or this global currency reset that people are talking about, um, everything being backed by cryptocurrency and all that. And I think a lot of that, could we just say that that's just a lot of noise.

It, it seems like it to me. I

mean, from a banker. Who understands your branch and your business, 30, you said 30, 35 years, 35 years of experience.

Um, I, I can't speak to these things. They're just noise to me, but if, if you think they're noise, then that means a lot to me.

So how I kind of prioritize what I think is important and what's going on is there are smart people who work at our bank that, that I report up and through and they'll push information out and say, Hey, this is something that we need to be.

Watching be prepared for, or this is coming down the way. I really haven't seen any of that. Um, I'll get a call every once in a while and say, Hey, the, the feds changing this law and it's in there, it's really bad and it's very conspiratorial. And so I'll go and use my best friend, Google. Um, and go and read about it.

And when you fared out the facts, the facts don't always match the narrative that people are pushing for their agenda. And so I try to do that. Um, in this case, this was just clearing funds quicker. It, he, they thought that it was pushing to a non cash society to a global currency. It really was just a clear.

To not clear checks, it was to have access to your funds faster. So with my direct deposit, they have to send those payroll files down on Tuesday to get paid on Friday. Right. Well, now they can send them down on Tuesday and it'll show up on Wednesday. Oh, okay. So that was the intent. Now

it got misconstrued into something else.

It, it, it, and blown up as a big

conspiracy or to fit a, to fit a narrative, to fit a political narrative. I

think there'll be a day where we'll have to talk about something. I mean, things are always changing. I mean. I mean, maybe when I was younger, I might've done some of that stuff. I wouldn't make it any money and I needed, I needed to get some groceries, you know?

So I put a check in on a, eh, maybe a Friday after five, you know, and hopefully it wasn't hit until Tuesday or something. I'm going to make

a note right quick to check your account. Yeah, go

ahead, go ahead. Um, it doesn't happen that way anymore. No, I mean, it's fast and that's actually good. Uh, that those things are good really to me, I want those things to hit and be able to move in real life pace rather than because when somebody didn't put a check in, you're like, all right, well, you know, you're waiting on this check to clear and you see this money in there and you know, it's, it's kind of, it's kind of better just to go and do, especially, I think the more money you move, you know, it's, it Um, it can be a benefit to move in real time a little more, so act like it

does.

We were talking last night. We were, I told you we had dinner with our friends and we were talking about Venmo, um, because they don't Venmo and we had some money we need to exchange and didn't have cash. And I said, if you guys had Venmo, it'd be a lot easier. Oh, we're not doing that voodoo witchcraft stuff.

That, you know, and,

uh, anytime you want to send anything,

so we had, we had a whole conversation about this. cashless, you know, cause they were checks. And so we talked about, you know, how many checks do you write a month? I write, I write one check last month. I wrote two cause I had to write them a check. I owed them some money.

So I wrote them a check. But the guy who mows our yard, I write a check for that. Outside of that, it's online bill pay or automatic payments. You know, we're really gotten away from that whole check. Writing checks in a business, maybe not, you might write,

I write more than I have ever just because of, um, uh, when I, when I buy cattle and I need that to, um, those are not necessarily, unless you wire it or something, it's not easy to do that without it, without a check, but that's just the uniqueness of what I do.

Yeah. Yeah. Just from a consumer's point of view.

But yeah, my day to day, I don't write checks.

I, and swipe a card. I always had my checkbook with me. It was always in my car, in my back pocket. Um, I had a wallet that my debit card was new. I mean, I kept receipts up until about last year. I changed wallets. I got this little bitty thing.

I only have a few cards. I don't keep receipts anymore. Right. Same. Man, I feel like I'm in the cheating IRS or something like I'm in the 20th century now. I tell you the other thing that's a change. That, that I'm starting to see, um, happened, happened. I'll say Wednesday, Tuesday, Monday, happened Monday, Saturday.

I was getting ready and, uh, I heard a bang. I thought somebody ran in my garage door. Although I've seriously thought they hit my garage door, threw on some clothes, went out, was looking and like, well, maybe, maybe it's just car going by. Who knows. Um, so I was late left, came back, says, okay, I'm going to fix this garage door, figure out what happened.

And the spring had popped. And so money called the guys out, call them at eight 30. They come out, they're there by nine 45, I replaced two springs by. And he said, Hey, you know, it's 500 and said, you know, here's 500. You can pay by, by check cash Venmo. If you use a card, we're going to charge you 4%. And so I got to thinking, you know, we're always talking about the more convenient ways to pay with a card or not using cash.

We just don't use cash anymore. It seems like now we're going back, at least from the retail side, to To more cash. We were in a, we went to, I'm always for cash. I, well, I know. Yeah, it didn't cost me money. I, and well, I,

2019, 20, no, I guess it was 20, 2021. Maybe it was a couple of years ago, took a trip to Louisiana, went to go see a football game. And we were in Lafayette, every single restaurant, every single one had a cash price and they had a. Credit card price. Yeah. I mean they discounted it for to cover the fee. Didn't see it in Baton Rouge.

We don't see it here. We're starting to see it here. I've

seen it a couple places out here. Fed has a couple places. Rockwell,

one of the downtown Rockwell restaurants. Yeah. Has one. It's, um,

it's, it's, uh, I mean, someone could figure out what my gross receipts are if I told this, but, um, we spend somewhere in the neighborhood of.

It's thousands of dollars a month for credit card processing and we have a pretty fair Deal, they reevaluate it based on volume and it's not a set rate loss. Yeah. Yeah chargebacks It's just the way it is. It's it's part of doing business, but I sure people say do you take cash? I'm like absolutely. Yeah, and we don't take Venmo there, but cash is always ready to To go in that drawer.

Yeah, I saw something the other day. It was like if you if you had fifty dollars and you Used a card for a certain amount of it I think i've seen you see this and and so if you'd use the fifty dollar bill, it would still be fifty dollars But when you start taking those those transaction fees that fifty dollars Is gone in like, it can be like four or five transactions depending on the size of them.

And then when you're just working in electronic money, then like the 50, it's just ceremonial.

Yeah. You know, it's interesting. It's taking it out of, it's taking it, the currency away and putting it into the system. Um, yeah. So it made me wonder, is that going to push us back to carrying cash? I'm happy to pay cash.

I mean, we do that with the guys that come. You know, they'll say, you know, it's 500. Well, what is it if I pay cash? Oh, like, Oh, it's the 350. I'm like, I like that. Yeah, I'll put you less. Yeah. So, you know, cause you hear a lot about digital and crypto and moving away from cash right now, it feels like I need to have cash with me because.

If I can save 30 percent at the restaurant, I'm cheap that way. Absolutely. But

it adds up for

sure. Yeah. Well, you know, the, the argument used to be from the credit card companies, this is credit card propaganda, was you've got to take MasterCard, MetroCredit, Visa, because if you don't, you'll have less customers.

You know, it's just assumed now in our world that you're going to take one of those credit cards. Um, I don't know if that's, I don't know if that's true.

Well, there's some restaurants and businesses in our community that don't take any credit cards and they do fine. There's a, there's a hamburger place. I wasn't going to mention it, but yeah, I didn't say the name.

All right. They will not. And that's fine for them. I don't know. I don't know if we could function that way. Um, as many as we do swipe, but anytime someone offers cash, I'm like, yes, sir. Moving on into discussion a little bit, we we've talked a little bit about, um, you know, now we're talking about small business, um, talk, talk to.

Maybe someone that's starting a business or starting, uh, he's talked about startups while ago and, and it's hard to get started. I mean, it just is, uh, and, and there's reasons why it's hard to get started. Um, the, the saying is, you know, banks can't always help you when you need them the most. And then when you don't need them, they're there for you.

You know, offering you money. And so, you know, I've seen that in my life and that's just the way it is, but, but there's a, there's reasons for that. And you can speak to those reasons, collateral and various things, you know, the liabilities, but then talk to us about, so then how do you do it? So how, how do I position my, my business?

How do I position my, my books and my, the money I do have to look the best that I can. Because I, I think there's some, some wisdom in that, that you could share with us to, to help somebody that's trying to get started and maybe they, maybe they need to just remove, move some things into some different containers and put, you know, some quick books together and show what they've done and what they can do and talk to us about that.

Yeah, man, there's, there's, there's a, uh, there's a lot to unpack. And that, and when you're looking, because it's, it's not just collateral, it's not just, but at the end of the day, I think people forget that the bank's not a nonprofit. We have to make money. We're there to make money. Yeah. We're a for profit business that offers a service.

Um, now we function within regulatory frameworks, but at the end of the day, we're there. I mean, we're a public traded bank. I mean, and our shareholders. So, so, so we're, so we're a business, so if you come to me and say, Hey man, I've been doing this for about a year, I'm not really making any money, but I think if I got a loan, I could maybe make some money, but I haven't, but so that, that then we're looking at going, okay, am I going to give this guy 100, 000?

He hadn't made it yet on a wish. And how am I going to get paid back? So at the end of the day, what the banks are looking at are, you know, My business in heart, how do we want to get paid back? If he doesn't pay, pay us back, what's our secondary, what's our tertiary sources. Am I going to go sell something that he's pledged or does he have some kind of backup?

Is he, he's, does he have cash reserves? Um, I don't know how good a businessman bankers are cause we're relatively risk adverse. Um, because everything we look at, we look at pretty pessimistic. Well, you know, look where that's going. This is not, you know, we can find every reason why it's going to fail.

Right. Go out and it did. In fact, I was talking to my boss today. He was talking about a deal just like that. He looked at a, um, an RV park. Uh, out in the middle of nowhere and he passed on long story virtually passed on it. He said, I drive past that thing and it is packed. Yeah, it is full all the time.

He's making money, just making money hand over fist. And he said, I, I looked at it and said, I just don't know how they're ever going to make it. And I mean, I think we all have those kinds of stories. Um, uh, how do you position yourself? I tell you that the ones that are difficult, you take somebody who's in a trade.

So an electrician, a plumber, a welder. And they are great at being a plumber, an electrician and a welder. And they say, man, I could do this. I don't need boss man paying me a paycheck. I can go make more money just on my own. Then they'll come to the bank and say, Hey, I need X amount of dollars. I need to buy a truck, some inventory and some lease space.

What, what we then look at is you're a great plumber. But are you a good businessman? I mean, you cook a mean burger, but you also have to make payroll taxes. You had to pay rent. You have to do, you know, sales tax. There's a lot more to running a small business. And so the bank looks at that, what's your experience.

So I think the more that you can educate yourself on how to run the business, being good at what you do doesn't equate to being a good businessman. And I've seen a lot of businesses struggle and fail. The other thing is be realistic about your debt because debt is crippling. Um, you know, and, and as a Christian businessman who really looks biblically, debt really isn't biblical.

There, I think the time to use that is, will this debt help me make more money? So if you came to me and said, Hey, I need to borrow money to It's going to help me increase my profits by this much. At that point, it starts to make sense, right? Leverage is, is a smart tool, but to do it just to do it with, it may not produce a return.

You need to think through that. Um, I think more startups start, what we'll look, let me back up. What, what we would look at is. What happens if things go south? And I think if a businessman asked himself, you know, my projections say I'm going to do this. Well, what if they don't? Right. How are you gonna pay the bank back?

What are you gonna do? Right. Because shutting the door is in the answer to us. So, yeah, and you know, and cash is, I mean cash is good.

So somebody has some cash in, in some accounts and, and they haven't gone out and spent everything on inventory. And then, uh, so the more solvent they look, the more, uh, months in advance, they are months savings.

They have those things make a difference in your decision to,

they do. Cause

if, if it doesn't take off for six months, but you've got six months worth of cash to. to pay us to cover, then, then there's, there's some, there's some good business

strategy there. Yeah. Because you know, uh, a new business, um, and, and banks don't, SBA helps a lot.

Um, now, you know, small business administration doesn't make the loan, but they'll guarantee a portion of it. So it gives the bank some, especially in the restaurant business, cause it's, it's a high risk. Hi, Phil, you're right. Business. Yeah. So when he, and there's not a lot of collateral, I mean, most of them are renting a place and there's tables and chairs and,

and they're not worth anything when you try to sell them at an auction, 10 or

15 cents on the dollar.

It's nothing. Yeah. And so SBA can step in and make and look at somebody and say, Hey, he's a great operator. He's got a good product. We think this will work, but we need a little extra assurance because there's no collateral there. And so SBA can step in and help. It's a great tool. And our SBA department is tremendous.

I'm just so impressed by those

guys. Yeah. And you, do you have people that work in your branch with them or they, they, how does that structure?

They're not in the branch, but they're, they are employees of the bank. Yeah. Yeah. They're employees of the bank. Um, yeah, but the other model, yeah, the other model are there's packagers that will put it together and work with banks.

Um, We actually have when we're, we're a preferred lender. So when we say yes, they say yes, we don't have to send it off to SBA to get another set of approval.

Okay. So if someone was getting into business or, or had a business and needed some money, uh, go to the SBA and. Then get with you guys, actually

not, not to the SBA, come to me.

Okay. What are the, where are the point of contact? All SBA does is guarantee the loan. They'll just guarantee it. Um, we're, we're still the primary point of contact.

Okay. And you've got a department for that. Speaking of failure rates, uh, I just did a, uh, another video shoot before this. Uh, did you know 70 percent of small or local restaurants failed in the first year?

I, I, I, yeah, and 90 percent never see 10 years. Yeah. You talk about pessimistic. Yeah. I mean, and the fact that we just hit five in Labor Day, hit five and going strong, uh, everything's staying the same. We're looking good for

10. You know, what's amazing to me is in downtown Rockwall, how many restaurants have failed almost none one closed.

But that was somewhat tragic when the, the shelf or the owners passed away, right? Outside of that, and that location was a little difficult. One came in and just parking was an issue, but you've got Zanotas, you've got Ben, you've got Pierre, you've got Wells, you've got Zanotas, I mean, Downing, right? Fable and fire.

Good. It's unbelievable that, and even, even outside of our downtown area down the harbor, um, with Gloria's and Giovanni's and sideways. And yeah, those guys are good operators, right? Yeah. They got it together. Yeah. So we've seen restaurants come and go in Rockwall, but it's amazing to me, at least in our downtown bubble, how many have done.

the state opening. Cause it's so

hard. I think the operator makes a big difference. The, uh, the community makes a big difference. Uh, we have a, we have a local minded community. Uh, when we were going through the COVID stuff, um, I had people come in and say. We're not, we're not going to let you close. We're going to be here.

I had people that said, we've made a schedule of our favorite restaurants and we're going to eat at these restaurants each night as long as this goes. Yeah. I mean things that I don't know that other communities saw, maybe they did. I had one guy come to me and he said, if, if you need, he said, how are you doing?

And I said, good. I said, he said, no, how are you doing? I said, we're making it, we're doing well. He said, if that changes, let me know. Because I'll give you an interest free bridge loan until you get through this. I mean, I don't know that every community has that kind of support. Um, but we are so blessed to have that.

And then, we have really good food. I'll be in downtown rock wall. Those mentioned that you just mentioned and the others right in that area, um, when you go to the book club, go to the various, go around the whole square, go around, uh, the Ramen place. I mean, you talk about good food.

Oh yeah. Had I forget speak.

We were there last night.

Yeah. I mean, just great. And I think that, that, uh, you know, good or great. Uh, kind of begets great and challenges. And so, you know, I've always been challenged to, I feel privileged to be in that location, even though others couldn't, didn't make it there or whatever, I've never worried about that.

I've just been glad to be downtown Rockwell. And then I feel that. That challenge every day to be great, just because it's, it's great to be. Down there when

you talk about that in your book. I do you do talk about that. Yeah, but And you really did hit on a point here. I think's important is Every restaurant you just mentioned The owners are usually there, or if not, their manager.

So we walk into Zenata's, we know Kevin or Al or Matt, we know Jacob. I mean, we know those guys. We walk into Ramen or to speak. We know we're going to see Tommy or Tamara. We're going to see Lee or we're going to see your mom. Right. Uh, you go into Ben, you want to see Matt, I mean, there's, so it's a big deal.

You're connected. You're connected to those. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. We go into Downing, um, and see David and Jen. They've been to our house. So you develop relationships just like we do in banking. Right. I mean, I've always said, I don't want to make people that I don't enjoy being around. Right. The people I bank are people that I like.

And

mom and I were just talking about that. She said, you know, Even if I walk in here and I'm not having a great day, she said, it's, it's probably, she said, I put a smile on my face. We were just talking about this this week. She said, I'll put a smile on my face and I walk in. And she said, by the first conversation, it's a real smile.

She said, and the rest of the day just flies by because our customers are so. They're so great. And, and that's not just saying that because I'm on a microphone. Our community is, it really is amazing. Yeah. It really is. And then we are challenged by that to do well, you know, and it's perpetual. We just keep, keep building that.

And I've always said, and I say this in the book, I'd rather be surrounded by great restaurants. One of the worst things in the world for me to, to see downtown is to have subpar restaurants there and me be the only good restaurant. That would be a nightmare. I would love for people to be having to choose between great restaurants and being there rather than just staying out of downtown because nothing's worth eating.

Yeah. Yeah. I, well, I, it, it does foster, I mean it, it, greatness begets greatness begets it, but you're right. Um. I'm not going to eat a hamburger every single time I go out. No, we're going to go to cuss mama. We're getting masculine. We're going to go design having that choice. And there's enough of it to go around.

And in my opinion, having more restaurants does nothing but help yours because it draws people in. That's right.

I've said it. And I think I said this in the book, I'd rather have those great restaurants and support them. And even if they drive by me. To go somewhere else at least they've driven by me Yeah, and they saw me there on their way to somebody else and then next time maybe they'll come there But if they never come down there for the other guy, then I'm out of the picture, too Yeah, and so it's you know, and I talked about not not being Um, I don't see them as competition.

I don't see people as competition. They're my friends that are doing a different meal for our community. That's the way I see it.

You're just not going to, yeah, you're, I'm not going to go to one of those places every single time I go out, right. There's enough to go. There's enough to go around.

Variety is a beautiful thing.

Yeah. Oh man. Uh, let's look the, um. I think some of the, the difficulties that we've seen in, in our business with supply chain inflation, uh, post COVID stuff that we've talked about, uh, you and I've talked about before, I'm sure. But, uh, do you see any of that kind of lingering other than interest rates? You see any of that in your business at all?

It's

we, we did, we did in, in the, on the construction side, there were some supply issues. There was, um, gut feel. It feels like that has lessened some. And part of it is we're in a semi recessionary environment with rates going up. Things have certainly slowed down. Um, and that helps when the, when it's supply and demand, when demand decreases your supplies, you can get ahold of some, you can get on some things.

So, um, You know, there was a time you couldn't buy a car who was just, you couldn't get Mike, you couldn't get the chips to put in the cars to get them shipped and they were stacked up in the ports and that, and I may be out of touch on that, but just gut feel, it feels. It feels better. Um, I'm not hearing that as an excuse.

Maybe that's the way to put it. I'm not hearing that as an excuse. You hear it every once in a while, but not like you used to. Well,

there for a while, it was hard to get anything. And

you can find product now. I mean, I haven't, just personally, just as a consumer.

I wish things would go down as fast as they go up.

I wish prices would go down as fast as they go up. I don't know if they're going to go down. I don't either. They shoot up and stay there. I mean, gas is a global, you know, gas, natural gas is global, global commodity. But of course it's, it's eased, but it's not anything we've done on this side of the pond. I think that

we, we probably spend, I would say we spend probably three or four times what we did when we opened on, Just about every product we buy now and then and our prices can't be adjusted that much And so some of that makes it a little difficult.

You can get it you can get your stuff but there's some some difficulty sometimes in just the prices and the and

making the numbers where I bank a very one of the larger restaurant independent restaurants in in Rockwall and Talk to them. It's been about two years now and When protein prices were skyrocketing, they were increasing their, uh, price of their, the, their food every two or three months, just, and, and they said, we finally got it, but they were always behind as the price of whatever protein chicken or beef or pork as it changed.

But there's only, but you're right. There's only so much you can pass along to the consumer. They said. Can't afford it. Ain't gonna do that. Right. Ain't no burger worth that. Right. Right.

Yeah. It's, it's part of the, it's part of the environment we're living in. At least it has eased a little bit. But your business,

I mean, you've got to look, you're talking from the banking side, but my favorite kind of customer is one that when I call the owner and they know their books, they know.

And the answer is not, well, let me talk to my CPA. The answer is, I want you to know what's going on in your business. So, you know, you as a business owner. You, you've gotta know at the end of the day, you've, you've gotta make money. Yeah. You know what your overhead is, you know what your fixed costs are. I mean, things you control.

The p works for

a lot of different people. Yeah. Yeah. So there are some things that I have to say, lemme check on my cpa. That's a good excuse. Sometimes when I don't want to, I lemme check on my CPA on that. Well, there that raise. Lemme see if I can get you that raise. Well, yeah, there's some, you, I don't know if I could do that or not, but No, sometimes you, you, well, you better know

the heartbeat of your business and that's, that's what I mean, the nuts and bolts.

If you don't know. What's your cost of goods sold is what your product is, what's your overhead. You talk about things that put a business, especially a small business out of business. The quickest is bank debt. Yeah. You have somebody who opens a franchise and they're paying franchise fees and they're paying rent.

I mean, they're paying a bank note. It cripples. We, we, we kind of hit on that earlier. That's what will cripple a business is too much debt. They just, people don't see. How crippling that can get out of it. Yeah,

they can't get out. Can't make enough money to make it. Yeah. And then it didn't take long for that to spirals down to.

Yeah. And then they

quit. Then they quit. Like I'm, I'm walking away. Right.

Yeah. Right. Well, let me, um, let me get to one of my favorite parts of this show. It's called rapid fire. And, uh, I'm going to cheat. Yeah. I've, I've. Of all the things that we've done, of course, we've had some great guests on and, um, that's always fun talking, but I love, I love this part of the show.

I had a fan, I have a, I have at least one fan of this show and she came for the book signing the other day and, uh, she's, I didn't know who she was. She came up, introduced herself and ate at the restaurant for the first time and asked me to sign the book, which I don't know if I ever get used to that or not.

It's kind of, it's kind of weird.

Um, man, I have a tattoo that says Lee Wells right here. I just. And just, you do not,

that would be so weird, but, um,

but for the record, I have zero attachment, especially

not Wells Hamburgers. Same here. Um, so this lady comes in, she asked me to sign the book, I did. She says, I've, I've listened to your podcast and I said, that's awesome.

Thank you. And, uh, so we got to talking about some different things about it. So this is one of the first people that I've talked to that have listened to, you know, a few episodes and had some input. I said, give me raw, like, give me raw feedback. I mean, I'll take whatever you give me. And she had some really good input about, you know, how.

Uh, we started the show about how we know each other. She said, I want to know how, you know, your guest a little bit better and, uh, like connect us first before you get into the stuff. And so I tried to do that tonight and I think we did that pretty well. You know, we've, we're good friends now of, of over what?

Six, uh, five years. Yeah, sure. Over five years in, uh, And she said, I said, well, what do you think about the rapid fire? Cause that's my favorite part. And she said, I love the fact that, that you do fresh questions every time. She said, some people do something like that, but they use the same questions. And if anyone's ever heard it, then they already know the answer.

So, so I want you to know that I sit and I come up with these questions specifically for each guest. And it's. The hardest questions that I can ever think of to ask you so I hope you're ready It was

it was hard. It was hard to think of questions to ask. Yeah, we did no prep for this, right?

This is just a real

conversation.

Yeah conversation, but We're going to be

rapid fire, but I asked, I asked for the questions in advance. I said, and not to see them, but just, I let the guests know that we're going to do this, bring three questions. And I give you like some generic, you know, what's your favorite burger toppings? You know, but of course I don't want to ask you that.

So what we

bring it, bring it big boy. I'm ready for you. So I'm going to ask you the guests. So you get to ask the first question. I'll let you kick it off and I'll try my best to answer. All right.

So being the restaurant business, I want to know what your favorite restaurant is across the bridge. We're not going to do Rockwall if you're going, and you probably have about 15 that you'd like to go to.

But if you're crossing the bridge, what's your kind of go to, what's Lee Wells go to restaurant?

Okay. So I'm going to go get reservations and go eat somewhere. It's really pretty simple. I'm probably going to go pop of those. Okay. Um, I'm the kind of guy where if, um, if it gets too fancy, I kind of lose interest.

I can do it, but if four or five, six courses, not really my thing, but you sent me down in front of some. Well, no, I like the different my favorite dish that I've ever had at a, which of course the fried gator at the first, that's a given, but, um, I love the halibut and then when they do like a chili sauce or something like, like a, an Asian flair with, with even some cashews or something, that's, and then a big couple of big shrimp on top of that.

All right. That's my thing. That's

a go to. Love it. All right. That's

good to know. Yes, sir. Um, all right. Here we go. Okay. If you were forced to make a career change today and you could magically do anything in the world, be very good at it. What business would you start?

I don't know what business I would start, but what I've always thought that I would have liked to do was be an attorney.

Okay. To be, to be a lawyer. Because I think that gives you training It gives you a, a, they, they teach you a critical way, logical, critical thinking. Then they give you the tools that if you want to go into real estate, it really opens the world for any business that you wanted to. Now, if I want to be frivolous, I like, if I want to own a spaceship or, you know, but realistically, Elon Musk, I wouldn't be honest, but I've always, you know, I got out of college and said, I got to start working.

I'm tired of, I'm not going to get, I did about four years. In my five years, I'm, I'm going to start working. I wish I would have stopped and said, let's get a little bit more training. Let's do something that, and I've always thought I'd enjoy being a lawyer. Although every lawyer I talked to is like, gosh, if I could do anything else, I would.

Yeah. That's why John Grisham writes, I think every lawyer is a frustrated journalist. You

know, the guy that, that, uh, did the. The two proofs I told you about a while ago, um, he's an attorney. Yeah. See, he was a journalist and then, uh, then he went in and he writes briefs now.

So, yeah, but I think you can, you can hang a shingle if you want to, but it also opens the door to run any business you want to with that

training.

So interestingly enough, if I were to have gone into a, uh, like an Ivy league direction, I would have, I was considering attorney myself. Me really? Yeah. I would have been a very good, well, let's

go and we'll start wells and Fowler. We would kill it

if I'm telling you, I mean, give me a few years to go get the education, but,

um, yeah, I know a loan officer,

I mean, we'll make you make you alone.

Yeah. Yeah. 250, 000. All right. All right.

My turn. Yes. So, uh, We're at four, uh, four days, five days for Christmas. So what's, what's a Wells family Christmas

tradition? Uh, for years we have, um, on Christmas morning. Uh, we did this for years when dad was alive, we would do a big Christmas breakfast. Okay. And so you could, um, I can, I can cook.

I do some of it now. Um, mom and the girls do some, my wife, but growing up we would have, and my brother, my brother really started this. We would have every breakfast meat. So ham, bacon, sausage, at least those three, uh, pancakes. And waffles and then they would have then they have scrambled eggs If you wanted a different kind of egg, you could so it was like Any anything.

And then sausage gravy, you know, and biscuits and so anything, uh, breakfast? It was a breakfast buffet. It was, it was brand's At the house. At the house. You had the house. House. It was so much, it was fun. So we, we do some version of that now. That's just, uh, the few of us here, but, you know, mom and, and the girls.

And, and we'll do something on, on Christmas morning then, uh, sit around and do. Gifts for each other and so it's a fun. It's a it's a great. It's a great tradition

I'll tell you you didn't ask me but because I think it's so bizarre and I promise you That nobody in the world does what, what our Christian tradition is.

So on Christmas Eve, we watch a horror movie. I told you, and it was, it's one of those things that it's just very innocent, how it started. We were playing a game one Christmas Eve and apples to apples. And my daughter, he was young at the time. The clues kept coming up, Silence of the Lambs, and she was young enough.

She had seen it. She goes, I've never seen that. Well, it just happened to be on. And so we, we watched it. And so we started joking, saying, you know, nothing says happy birthday, Jesus, like a good old horror flick. And it was a running joke. Well, about June or July, that joke was still going like, okay, what are you going to do for Christmas Eve?

When, what horror movie are you going to watch? And so that's how it started. Well, now the kids are older. And July, August, actually this week, I started getting texts, okay, who's picked the movie? Uh, what, what are we watching? Um, and they all come over to the house. We all pile in, we have tamales and I mean, I have some rules about the movies.

They, you know, they're, they're, you know, I don't want them to be, they're not gonna be satanic, no exorcist. Um, you know, I try to keep it more psychological kind of thrillers, the birds, but. Yeah. How many people do you know that on Christmas Eve are celebrating with

horror movies? I think everyone else is at a candlelight service, you know, for Jesus.

And you're watching Silence of the Lambs.

I don't know. Silence of the Lambs. We watched that a few years ago. Misery. Misery was

on the list. I've never, I've never seen it. Anyways. All right.

I think your Christian tradition may be a little bit better because you get waffles. You can never go wrong with

waffles.

And pancakes. And pancakes. At the same time. All right. So, uh, you ready? One name, an accomplishment you are most proud of. And here's the qualifier. Kids and wife don't count. Okay.

Um, there's so many Lee. I'm really having to sort through which one you're so accomplished. I'm so accomplished. Um, The tattoo of Wellsburg.

Wellsburg right there. I'll tell you what's hard about it because you're bragging yourself. So, um, SMU does a banking school. And you go for, um, two weeks in the summertime for three years. And it's called Southwestern Graduate School of Banking. And there are several graduate school of banking around. LSU has one, SMU.

Um, and they bring in bankers from really all over the United States. Primarily, this one's primarily Texas, um, but it's a large, well respected graduate school of banking. So, I went through that, um, I think that was 2005, probably when I did that and graduated valedictorian. Wow. Um, from that. So that was one of the very cool.

I really am pretty, pretty. That's, that's cool. I'm pretty proud of that one. That's pretty

cool. So

you can be proud of that. Yeah. Yeah. So that's worth it. So yeah. So if, whenever you you're in my office, you'll see that's one of the, the diplomas that I have framed. And because I'm, I am proud of that. Sure.

Ought to be. What do you got?

Um, so we're only doing three. We're doing three. Um, I won't ask you the one I was going to ask you. So what hidden talent do you have? Ooh,

hidden

talent. Music, ping pong, pickleball.

I was a bass player for a number of years. Still play? I play around. The girls have got a bass down there.

They play around. I saw it and I walked in. And they're, uh, they're actually very good. They make me very upset. The fact that I had to work so hard at it. Um, they, they can pick up anything and do anything. Our kids are so much better than us at everything. It's amazing. Um, I do sing. Uh, but. Uh, in church, um, but I, I think the, the, I play the bass, my most surprising thing recently is I can write a book.

I really did not know. That's not easy. I didn't know if I could do it and I don't mean to bring that back up, you know, but I'm impressed by that. That's crazy to me that I did that and, and that it turned out to be what it was and that people said what they did about it. That surprised me. Yeah. So. I don't know if that's a hidden talent other people had, but I mean, it, it, it's a surprise to me that it was, and the, and the other surprise is, is I've already got the second version of, of this book in my head, ready to come out.

I don't know what I'd ever write. My other question, the most important was who was your favorite mayor of Rockwall, but you don't need to answer that. We're

always been, you know, my, you know, Jim was just that. Um, you know what I can, I can say this in all, in all honesty, and I know that was a setup question, but I can tell you this, we have had some of the most approachable.

And this is serious. I'm, I'm not kidding. Most approachable down to earth leaders. And, and that goes beyond just mayors. Uh, leadership. Um, we talked about, uh, uh, sweep while I was doing judge sweep. Um, I had, you know, Mark Russo on the, uh, recently on this. He was, he was on. Um, just the leadership of, of our community there has been so down to earth and approachable trace and say what it should say what, well, but it's not,

I know, but, but it should

be, I know it should be.

I know. And I, and I, and I think that's why, I think that's one of the reasons why rock wall does so well in, in no place is perfect. We know that, but as far as a really good place to raise your kids and live and, uh, Shop and do your life. I, I think Rockwall is far and away, uh, one of the best places that I've ever been.

And I, and I used to travel, um, all over the United States. I traveled for years. I've been in all kinds of towns and cities, uh, big cities, New York and Chicago. And I worked in technology. I've been, I've been in some places. And, and Rockwell is very special and unique. And I think that's part of the reason why is approachable leadership.

And when you do have something that comes up, you can talk, you know, and you can, you can get to a conversation or, or a phone call back or whatever. And um, you know, there's some things that I've been working on for about five years that the crosswalk in front of my restaurant would be amazing. You know, and one of these days state highway, I know it does make it hard.

It makes it hard. That just means we've got to work harder to get text dot on the, on the line and get them in there. The entrance to my

drive thru is I've been trying to get that fixed and I thought the city should do it. Then the pavement, the pavement, because it dips down and back up. It's not good. So, yeah, brother, we're fighting.

We're fighting the same fight. Right. Like if I, if I call the city,

I don't know. I, I hear their, uh, I hear they, they answer calls at city hall. Yeah,

I'm going to run for mayor again.

Okay. All right. I think we got one more. All right. Here it is. If you could pick one living celebrity to be a personal mentor, who and why?

So living, so living celebrity. Um, that's a hard one. Uh, I'll think of somebody living.

Just a name we would know. It doesn't have to be, I mean, celebrity. It doesn't have to be an actor or anything. Just somebody we'd know.

You know who I kind of like? And probably because I've met him. And I think he'd be a great mentor in businesses, Mark Cuban. Yeah.

Yeah. He's definitely got a different way of looking at things.

I mean,

you know, you can, I mean, there's, there are probably other words that, you know, the Buffetts of the world. Right. But

one thing about Mark is, and I haven't met him, I don't know anybody. Um, a lot of guys get, get a chunk of money and then they squander it. They, they, they blow it. They, they waste it, whatever it is.

is he has done a remarkable job of growing it and developing it and using it. And I, and I, that's probably good.

Yeah, you take away his kind of quirky take, take away his media personality, flamboyant, flamboyant, you take that away. So I'll tell you my experience with him. Kind of why I said that we were at a birthday party and he was there and we were talking to the, it was my For a brother in law and we were talking to him while Mark walks into the party.

It was like the 40th birthday party and Steven says, you know, this is Kevin's and he's just like, this is my mom and dad and introduced us. And right through to the party. Then we get in the barbecue line. I happened to be behind him. Uh, the Mavericks had lost the night before. And so just small talk. I'm like tough night last night.

Yeah. Seriously, 22nd conversation, two, three hours later, we're at a table. He walks up and he goes around and says, Kevin, it was so nice to meet you. She was so good to meet you. He called, you know, Patsy, he called every single person he met. First time I met him. That's cool. I mean, it was, I was pretty darn impressed.

And I've seen him at a basketball game, even. Somewhat near to that, he wouldn't remember me now, but then he was like, Hey, Kevin, good to see you. I'm like, that's

crazy. It's crazy. That's a sharp mind. Yeah. Cause cause I, I mean, I'm, I'm not, I'm not, I'm not sharp like that, I guess, but I've, I've talked to people for five years at the restaurant and maybe, I don't know why, but names are the hardest thing in the world for me.

I'm pretty good, but man, I always stuck

with me. I need to call names like that. And it's. It's one of those hard, it's one of the things I struggle with it. I don't know why I can't get it. I'll know him, like I'll know him and it'll be right there. And I'm afraid to say, I'm afraid to, to, to have the faith to say their name.

And I'm like. It's, you know, it's, it's Chuck, right? And he's like, yeah, I knew it. I was just afraid to say, or, or it's just right there on like the backside of the edge of your brain. And it just won't come all the way forward. But also I'm in a line with, you know, a lot of times three or four hour line, people after people.

And so I guess maybe that's part of the problem. That's what it is.

Or again, let's say that's, that's. Well, man, it's been awesome. It's been great having you. Thank you for coming out and um, you know, it's an honor to, to, to sit and talk with you. Um, honor to call you my friend. Yeah. And, uh, I'm glad to, glad to have spent this time together.

Hopefully, um, others have enjoyed it like, like we have, and I think they will, um, just having a good conversation. So, um, man, we say thanks for coming out to the Wells Ranch studio and. I'm Lee Wells on the ranch and table podcast. Until next time we say adios, farewell, goodbye, good luck.

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