March 2024


What is your favorite Texarkana memory? Walking to my grandmother’s house every Sunday morning after Sunday School to have a big fried chicken lunch. Where was your favorite place to eat in Texarkana? Bryce’s Cafeteria was our family’s favorite—no close second. At one point, I figured out how many times I had eaten there and rounded to the nearest one hundred. I never, and I mean NEVER, ate anything other than jello, fried chicken, rice and gravy, and apple pie. What was the teen hangout when you lived here?

A&W Root Beer on State Line Avenue. We had a classmate run naked through the drive-through one Saturday night! Where was your favorite place to shop in Texarkana?

TXK ROOTS Gary Kusin

Collins and Williams, when it was located downtown. Our parents always asked one thing before we went there to shop. “Do you need it, or do you just want it?” We got what we needed, but never what we wanted. Were you a Hawk, Leopard, Razorback, or Tiger? Tiger Who is someone from Texarkana who impacted your life? Ross Perot—you will have to read my book to get the entire story, but it is a great one! What do you love about Texarkana? I have lots of lifelong friends from growing up there. With such familiarity with the town, it is very comfortable. What would you change about Texarkana? I believe it is being worked on currently through strong joint economic development leadership on both sides of the state line, so my point of view is probably dated. I would have loved it if Texarkana acted more like one unified city instead of two distinct competing cities when I lived there. If we had done that in my early years there, the economy of the city and surroundings today would be much more like Tyler is today, with the entire area enjoying the economic boom.

Gary Kusin was born in Texarkana, Texas, in 1951, and graduated from Texas High School in 1969. Kusin is a mentor, investor, entrepreneur, business advisor, and author of the forthcoming book Always Learning: Lessons on Leveling Up from GameStop to Laura Mercier Cosmetics and Beyond , available April, 2024. Today, he advises an array of public and private companies, large and small, on strategy, management, and growth issues. In addition, Kusin continues his full mentoring schedule. Kusin co-founded two companies, Babbage’s, operating today as GameStop, and Laura Mercier Cosmetics, both of which are well-known global brands. Gary spent 13 years as a senior advisor to the global private equity firm TPG. From 2001 to 2006, he served as President and Chief Executive Officer of Kinko’s, now operating as FedEx Office. Kusin was responsible for the turnaround, strategic growth, and transformation of Kinko’s and oversaw the ultimate sale to FedEx. A member of the University of Texas McComb’s School of Business Hall of Fame, Kusin earned a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Texas at Austin and an Master

of Business Administration from Harvard Business School. Gary lives in Dallas with his wife Karleen. See “Always Learning” on page 44.

TXK Roots is Texarkana Magazine ’s forum to highlight and honor Texarkana natives who have accomplished big things in the world. These folks may have relocated, but they took the values, education, work ethic and creativity instilled in them by growing up in this unique border city and used these qualities to blaze extraordinary trails. We asked them to share their thoughts about growing up here. No matter how far from Texarkana they may find themselves, we will always consider them our neighbors and we are proud to claim them as forever members of our extended Texarkana community. After all, “everyone is famous in their hometown!”



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