John Nash opened Capital Chevrolet in Austin in 1926. As time went by, Nash turned the operations over to his sons. Fifty years after Nash opened Capital Chevrolet, a grandson took a look at the family business and figured there probably wasn’t room at the top anytime soon.
Thus, Chuck Nash came to San Marcos in 1976.
“I was 25 or 26, thought I knew everything until I came down here,” Nash said. “I came through the family tree. It was a little crowded at the top and that’s why I broke off and came down here.”
Nash saw a future in San Marcos and has become one of the town’s most active citizens. Wednesday, Nash unveiled another vision of the future with the grand opening of his new car dealership less than two miles south of Yarrington Road on Interstate-35.
The location positions Nash to capitalize on Kyle’s growth just to the north, as well as the next wave of growth in San Marcos, which, he believes, is headed to the north side of town. The 42,700 square feet under roof utilizes sustainable technologies, such as low-heat glass, natural illumination and ventilation, a high albedo roof to reduce heat gain and motion controlled lighting among other such features. The outdoor lot can hold an inventory of 435 cars.
Nash’s grand opening took place against a backdrop of bad news in the economy striking on a daily basis. As Nash cut the ribbon in his new store, General Motors, his supplier, was asking the federal government for help after announcing a third quarter loss of $2.5 billion.
But Nash, 57, was undeterred. Just before cutting the ribbon, Nash said to the hundreds in attendance, “Don’t forget, when you’re reading about everything and hearing about everything, this is Texas and Texas is special, especially between Austin and San Antonio.”
Later Nash explained that he sees a silver lining in opening his GMC dealership during tough times. It’s done, which means he won’t have to do it while he could be selling cars.
“When I looked at it, I’d rather be building it during a time when the economy is a little slower because what I want to do is really blow and go when it turns and I don’t want to be tied down with building a dealership when it’s really hustling and bustling,” Nash said.
Nash remains bullish on San Marcos and Hays County. He shares the common belief that the country’s economic problems haven’t and won’t hit the area with as much force as elsewhere and figures a rebound is coming in six months or a year.
He’s especially upbeat in light of the overwhelming success of a countywide road bond initiative that passed on Nov. 4 with 65 percent voter approval, carrying all but one box in the county. Nash chaired the committee, Hays Families for Safe Mobility, which campaigned for the bond’s passage.
Now, the county will issue $207 million in debt to start work on 17 road projects, with a promise from the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) for up to $133.2 million in reimbursements in the next 20 years. Among the major improvements are the southeastern loop in San Marcos (FM 110), a widening of FM 1626 to five lanes on the Buda area’s west side, and upgrades along Interstate-35 running through Kyle and U.S. 290 in the Dripping Springs area.
“When we saw that our road bonds passed and by the percentage that they passed, it said that Hays County is open for business,” Nash said.
And business, he said, is going to be good in Hays County.
“I think it’s going to be really explosive here,” he said.
As an active member of the San Marcos Chamber of Commerce, Nash said the city has heard from potential big employers, adding, “I think we’ll always keep our dignity in the way we will grow. We won’t just be slice and dice.”
As chairman of the city’s airport commission, Nash sees just a couple more steps before the San Marcos Municipal Airport becomes an important regional player, adding, “I think we can bring more and more airplanes from Austin and San Antonio when they find out how easy it is to get here and how modern our facility is.”
As a businessman in San Marcos, Nash is heartened to think that “if you asked those graduates at Texas State, probably about 80 percent of them would just as soon make their homes here.”
The challenge, he allowed, is to capture that talent by providing breadwinner employment to those graduates in their fields. Nash said he likes Mayor Susan Narvaiz’ idea about luring employers to the area who can provide employment in forensic science, civil and mechanical engineering, and health care, which are strong fields at Texas State.
But Nash also likes San Marcos’ potential because the Austin-San Antonio corridor has attracted growth for the last 20 years and San Marcos has room to grow, especially on the north end, where it meets with Kyle. It doesn’t just happen that Nash built his new dealership right south of Yarrington Road.
“I think San Marcos has grown as far south as it’s going to,” he said. “I think the outlet malls are kind of our south boundary and we’re going to start growing north … I think you may see a little bit of bounce from Kyle coming over here. Seton (Hospital, opening in Kyle early in 2010) is going to be huge. When you think about the doctors, nurses, technicians, all those people, we’re going to be ten minutes from that hospital and I think we’ll certainly get some of that.”
The new Nash locations will sell General Motors products exclusively, with a service center on site. The old Nash location on SH 123 near I-35 will continue as a Jeep store, body shop and service center.
But Nash is always thinking bigger, believes the county will think that way with him, and isn’t letting the tough times hold him back.
“We’re working hard on getting Cadillac,” he said.Email | Print