KEMPNER — A Lampasas business owner wants to expand to Kempner and build a strip center in this city of about 1,100 residents.
Kwang Kim, known to many Lampasas residents as “Mr. Kim,” has owned and operated Lampasas’ Donut Palace off Key Avenue for 18 years and is looking to open a location in Kempner at 12128 E. U.S. Highway 190.
“Customers come in and keep asking me, ‘When are you going to open in Kempner so we don’t have to drive to Lampasas?’” Kim said. “So, I have been thinking about this a long time.”
When Kim was given the opportunity to purchase a lot off U.S. 190 next to city hall, he took it, he said.
Kim purchased about 1.3 acres in September, according to the Lampasas Central Tax Appraisal District. The property’s estimated value is about $160,000.
The property probably will include more than a doughnut shop, Kim said. He is working to develop a 13,000- to 14,000-square-foot strip center on the site, which will hopefully house other businesses.
“Kempner doesn’t really have anything,” Kim said. “They have one gas station and one Dollar General. I am sure they could use a barber shop and pizza place or more.”
While Kim doesn’t know when he will break ground on the development, he hopes it will be finished by 2015 and that Kempner residents will welcome the new businesses.
“I think it will go over well,” Kempner Mayor Gene Isenhour said. “I think there is a tremendous number of people who pass through Kempner. There are a lot of people who live out that way who work on Fort Hood and even in Killeen.”
The Copperas Cove U.S. 190 bypass also will contribute to people visiting businesses in the one-stoplight town, Isenhour said. But more importantly, it will serve local residents by offering convenience and generating sales tax revenue for the city.
“I think we are definitely ready for something the local citizens can use without having to travel very far,” Isenhour said.
Kim said he was developing the property for Kempner residents. After running his donut shop for 18 years, he isn’t concerned about earning large profits. He would rather see his regular costomers throughout the week and give local people jobs.
“One of our first customers was pregnant when we first opened up, and (she) and her 18-year-old daughter still come in here and say hi,” Kim said.