Chamber of Commerce discusses San Marcos’ bright economic future – Corridor News


Sierra-Martin | Editor-in-chief

SAN MARCOS – The annual San Marcos Chamber of Commerce luncheon was held on Thursday, March 25 at the Embassy Suites Conference Center. A panel of San Marcos business leaders discussed the economic recovery from COVID-19, the city’s future growth and how they can help small businesses.

A panel was chaired by House Speaker Jason Mock and comprised of Greater San Marcos Partnership President Jason Guilietti, Workforce Solutions Rural Capital Area CEO Paul Fletcher, CHRISTUS Santa Rosa-San Marcos Hospital President Thomas McKinney, Corridor Title Account Manager Keely Sonlitner, Gumby’s Pizza Owner Forrest Higdon and Schertz Bank and Trust VP David Case.

Members of the Chamber of Commerce, city council members and local business owners were among the virtual and in-person participants. The lunch began with opening statements from San Marcos Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Jason Mock and Shertz Bank and Trust Past President and Vice President of Commercial Banking David Case.

San Marcos 2021 Chamber of Commerce Board Chair Keely Sonlitner presented David Case with the Gavel Award for his dedication and leadership as Chair of the 2019-2020 Board of Directors.

CHRISTUS Santa Rosa Hospital-San Marcos President Thomas McKinney, Corridor Title Account Executive and current President of the Chamber of Commerce Keely Sonlitner

Sonlitner said that due to the economic hardships many businesses have faced in 2020 due to COVID-19, she has set a goal of reassessing the chamber and the direction they are taking to help the community move forward. the future.

“The staff started working to provide tools for our business community to navigate and develop their business plans today,” Sonlitner said. “We will be hosting monthly meetings and guest speakers on topics relevant to business owners. We partner with organizations such as the Greater San Marcos Partnership (GSMP) and Mainstreet to truly connect with the business community and understand their needs and issues to help create a diverse, vibrant and sustainable economy through the support of business people. local businesses.

Sonlitner explained how members of the House Government Affairs Advisory Council met with San Marcos Mayor Jane Hughson and city council members during a working session on five city priorities on which focus, including community investment, diversity of the housing market, transport and infrastructure, jobs and opportunities. and open communication.

According to Case, the Chamber of Commerce is the largest business organization in San Marcos with more than 500 investors and more than 34,000 employees. Case explained that 2019 was a year of prosperity and that 2020 was to be a year of exceptional growth before COVID-19.

Case discussed efforts by the Chamber of Commerce to support businesses in San Marcos from the announcement of the first shelter-in-place order due to COVID-19.

“Revive SMTX was established as a collaboration between your chamber and the city of San Marcos to reimburse local businesses for purchases of personal protective equipment (PPE) at the onset of the pandemic,” Case said. “I have participated directly in this program and am proud to announce that our first round of applications has been approved and that we have checks ready to be issued. “

According to Fletcher, the current unemployment rate has fallen from 12% (about 58,000 people) at the start of the pandemic to 5.3% (about 8,000 people) across the nine counties served by the Workforce Solutions Rural Capital Area. .

“People have been made redundant,” Fletcher said. “People had to go back and find other types of jobs that maybe weren’t coming back as quickly as the hospitality industry.

As the owner of Gumby’s Pizza, a small local business, Higdon said paycheck protection program loans are helping support small businesses, and the pandemic has made them adjust to how to keep their paychecks. open doors and support their employees.

“We’ve pivoted a lot of different things in terms of offerings that we haven’t traditionally offered, from boxes of groceries to dinners at home with pizzas in your home oven,” Higdon said. “So this was just one of those things where we had to keep our employees busy and we had to keep them employed. “

Discussing what the future holds for San Marcos, Sonlitner explained how she believes growth is inevitable in San Marcos and that, through the collaboration and anticipation of local leaders, she can create a positive future for the city.

“I really think the sky is the limit in San Marcos,” Sonlitner said. “I really think the only thing that will stand in our way is ourselves. As everyone has talked about, growth is going to come, there is nothing we can do to stop it. But we can be proactive and help lead it instead of being reactive and not being prepared for it. “

The meeting was originally scheduled to take place in November 2020 but was postponed due to the pandemic.

More information on the San Marcos Chamber of Commerce, upcoming events or how to get involved can be found on their website.

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