If you want to know what’s really happening in Fort Worth you need to go to The Squire Shop just off Hulen.
And you need to listen.
You’ll learn a lot. It was there that our new Fort Worth Business Press weekly podcast, FORTitude, took root. The first one, an interview with Mayor Betsy Price, is available now on the Business Press website.
But back to The Squire.
There will be shoppers and there will be some folks just sitting on the big leather couch watching sports. There’s certain to be some good gossip in the sports pit.
The real wisdom will come from a man who is adept at talking and listening. He’s not shy about his opinions, usually well-formed from a voracious appetite for news. He reads several newspapers and watches TV.
That would be proprietor Steve Humble, who runs the men’s clothing store along with his son Todd.
Humble has been in the clothing business in Fort Worth for decades, first at Henry’s and then opening The Squire Shop after Henry’s went out of business. He’s big and burly and over 50, let’s say, but still cool enough to wear his hair in a short ponytail on occasion. His impeccable taste suits all ages.
Steve knows Fort Worth’s past and present – who the players were and are. Lots of theories and ideas hover there, suspended on hangers of banter right along alongside thoughts both deep and shallow, as if adrift among the blazers, suits, shirts and ties.
It was in this climate of intellectual couture that I spied Brinton Payne last spring.
Payne is a numbers and data expert, among other things, and has been involved in politics for many years, offering insights and analysis to public officials and organizations. He worked for the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce for several years and also for state senators Kim Brimer and Jane Nelson. He helped found Mosaic Strategic Partners and then left to return to the company he already owned, Legintel, LLC.
At The Squire Shop that day I asked him if Fort Worth and Tarrant County would ever swing Democratic.
“Absolutely,” he said. “The shift is already occurring.”
Then we went back to shopping.
He was right on the money. Joe Biden won the city and the county in last fall’s presidential election.
Having watched that happen I contacted Payne to ask his help in analyzing demographic shifts in Fort Worth. The more we talked, the more ideas and concepts emerged relative to news coverage.
One day he suggested we stop talking to each other and bring these discussions about the future of Fort Worth to a bigger audience. He agreed to interview leaders here and present the results in a podcast. He said he’d be bringing along J.W. Wilson, his friend since their high school days at Trinity Valley. Just like that an idea blossomed, and now Payne and Wilson are co-hosting FORTitude for the Business Press.
They are a terrific duo.
Wilson must have some mismatched chromosomes. He breaks a number of stereotypes and molds. He lettered in football at TCU and now owns an art gallery, The William Campbell Gallery. He’s a founding partner of ROXO energy. He also has written his first book, Portraits of a Soldier: The Extraordinary Life of Jon Lippens.
Payne says that more than “J-Dub’s” divergent interests, Wilson is known for unwavering kindness, particularly toward strangers. Brinton relates a story about rushing to get to a Little League game and seeing another baseball parent helping a stranded motorist change a tire, possibly risking a late arrival for his son’s game.
Turned out the roadside assistance was being rendered by his old friend Wilson.
Amid the turmoil caused by our devastating winter storm, Wilson found 800 gallons of fuel needed to heat the Union Gospel Mission.
“That’s just who he is, expecting nothing in return,” said Payne.
They’re both good guys, and smart. They care about Fort Worth, and they want to talk to folks in the podcast – folks who can help us understand Fort Worth’s changing demographics and business mix and help build a roadmap for the future.
Don’t take my word for it. Fire up their debut podcast and hear it from them, at fortworthbusiness.com/podcast.