Chris Gentry, owner of Madison Foods in Ennis, says that with few affordable places to live in the area, she and other business owners have begun securing their own properties to offer affordable housing to their employees.
“I have a total of 14 employees that I provide housing for,” Gentry said. “I never thought about the rental business, but I try to take care of my employees.”
“My little units that I’m renting out are $950 a month, and I have no plan to raise that. I’m not making any money on them—I just want to have something for my employees and be able to run my business,” she added.
Gentry notes that over the past couple of years, the cost of renting in Ennis has crawled up from $1500 a month, to upwards of $3000 a month. Offering units at an affordable cost not only helps keep people working at Madison Foods but also recruits them to the area.
“I’ve lost people that were probably really good hires, but once they started looking for something there was nothing here and it wasn’t affordable for them,” Gentry said.
Martevius Hill has been a produce manager at Madison Foods for a couple of years and notes the difference it makes to have an affordable place to rent in town.
“It makes me feel wanted, deserved, you know? Just wanted, loved, cared about—the small things,” Hill said.