Posted inBusiness

Extreme heat might’ve passed in Fort Worth, but economic impacts haven’t cooled

The blazing 100-degree heat and dry conditions weren’t kind to Larry Goodson’s tomatoes. Goodson, who owns First Earth Farm in Bluff Dale, Texas, 60 miles south of Fort Worth, said tomatoes are his biggest summer crop. But he had none to sell as he stood at a table at the Clear Fork Farmers Market in Fort Worth on Sept 9. 

“Once Aug. 1 hit, it just made it … so hard to sustain the consecutive 105, 106-degree days,” Goodson said. “Our production just shut down.” 

The loss of crops hurt the farm’s bottom line, Goodson said. He isn’t alone. In a survey conducted by the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas of 346 business executives across Texas, nearly a quarter said the heat wave impacted their revenue and production. Half of respondents said profits fell due to lower customer demand, and 38% said they had difficulties working in the high temperatures. 

The summer of 2023 had the fourth most 100 degree days in history, according to the National Weather Service.

As local businesses in Fort Worth are trying to make up the money they lost in the summer, economists say the heat caused billions of lost dollars in the Texas economy — and will cause billions more as climate change drives up temperatures for years to come. 

Tina Howard, owner of Stir Crazy Baked Goods and Leaves Book and Tea Shop, noticed fewer customers coming into the bakery in Fort Worth’s Near Southside neighborhood. Stir Crazy, located at 1251 W. Magnolia Ave. gets a lot of business from foot traffic, Howard said. Summers are typically slower for the bakery, she said, but the heat caused a noticeable difference in traffic.  Leaves, which typically sees heightened visits for cold drinks and book browsing, in the hot months, also saw fewer sales. 

“I personally even understand … once you get out, you want to do the minimal number of things, and then get back home,” she said. 

Howard posted a call to action on Stir Crazy’s Instagram page, directed at customers.

“We have definitely noticed how the heat (the economy, the return to busy life…) has negatively impacted our street, our friends, and specifically our own little bakery,” the post said. “We would really love to see you today or this coming week.” 

As fall approaches, a busy season for the bakery, Howard said she is planning for next summer. She’s saving money to make up the difference in losses that the business might encounter in 2024 and ramping up events to attract customers. 

Some businesses in the area had to shut down due to the heat. Jonathan Arguello, owner of the burger food truck Gusto’s, had to close his business for two weeks in August after facing heat exhaustion. Food trucks are warm because they are confined spaces and often work with hundred-degree stoves, he said. When the temperature is extremely high outside, it makes things worse.

“You literally start feeling your internal organs start to heat up,” Arguello said. “I was cooking myself, basically.”

Now, Arguello is considering what to do for next summer. He’s thinking about adding an additional AC unit and leaning into order-ahead technology. He’s also motivated to open a brick and mortar restaurant with air conditioning. 

The extreme heat this summer cost $9.5 billion in Texas, according to an estimate from The Perryman Group. While retail suffered, the agriculture industry took the largest financial hit, according to the report. 

The heat had the largest effect, overall, on the insurance and real estate industry, as claims went up and the attractiveness of properties and the ability to turn them suffered, Ray Perryman, president and CEO of The Perryman Group, wrote in an email to the Fort Worth Report. 

Looking forward to 2050, if temperatures increase 1 degree, the real estate and insurance could take a combined $72 billion loss across the state. 

“The long-term effects of climate change actually take some real estate out of service and reduce the usefulness and value of many others,” Perryman wrote. “Insurance claims also escalate significantly due to an increase in natural disasters and other forms of risk.”

For farmers like Goodson, all he can do is move on and hope the next crop will grow — and pray for rain.

“As a farm manager, you have to make a decision,” Goodson said. “At what point do you stop putting resources in and conserve and get ready for the next opportune time to grow?”

Seth Bodine is a business and economic development reporter for the Fort Worth Report. Contact him at and follow on Twitter at @sbodine120

At the Fort Worth Report, news decisions are made independently of our board members and financial supporters. Read more about our editorial independence policy here.

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