San Marcos Mercury | Local News from San Marcos and Hays County, Texas

November 13th, 2009
Getting through hard times together

Commentary
By PHYLLIS SNODGRAS
San Marcos Chamber of Commerce President

We are all feeling the pinch. Non-profits are worried about paying their expenses and meeting the needs of their constituents. Businesses are worried about covering the bills, paying their employees and continuing to provide value to their customers.

At the Chamber offices, our phones are ringing, and more of our members are asking for help, but payments are trickling in slower than ever, and more and more members are struggling to make ends meet. No one is immune from this cycle. So what can we do besides wring our hands and worry?

For starters – let’s shop San Marcos. I mean this in the most literal sense. Look for reasons to spend your dollars here – for your groceries, your furniture needs, your clothing, your Christmas purchases, etc. I especially urge the businesses in San Marcos to examine cash flow and support their neighboring businesses in our region.

Will it really make a difference? It sure will. If the next 25 teachers hired by the San Marcos School District move to San Marcos, it will make a difference. If the next 50 professors hired by Texas State move to San Marcos, it will make a difference. If the next 10 doctors hired by Central Texas Medical Center (CTMC) choose to live and work in San Marcos, it will make a difference. If all of us spend our hard earned dollars, right here in San Marcos – we can help our neighbors, help ourselves, and make a real difference.

Just this past summer, I had the privilege of putting together a history page on the San Marcos Chamber of Commerce for a book being printed by the Heritage Association of San Marcos. What did I learn? Did you know that the San Marcos Chamber was instrumental in bringing almost every highway that intersects San Marcos here to improve transportation options and help grow the community? Did you know that the Chamber played a huge part in establishing the first Memorial Hospital in San Marcos, worked on flooding issues, and in 1932, fought diligently in Austin to prevent the closing of the Southwest Texas Teachers College?

Did you know it was the San Marcos Chamber of Commerce that originally set up the San Marcos River Foundation to protect our precious water resources, the San Marcos Education Foundation to raise funds for our local schools and Leadership San Marcos to train future leaders for our community? The San Marcos Chamber has been here for over 100 years, through thick and then, taking care of business and leading the community forward, in good times and in bad.

We are all in this together. In 2010, the Chamber pledges to continue to work on the issues that matter most to the members and residents of San Marcos. We will strive to find more ways to spend our dollars locally and to encourage local spending. If we keep the money that is generated here, circulating through our own economy, it can create a powerful multiplier effect. There are lots of places that you can choose to spend your hard earned money, but every time you buy through mail order catalogs or on the Internet – you take money out of circulation in our local economy.

Every dollar spent in San Marcos and its surrounding communities multiplies itself several times in our local economy, as the dollar moves from person to person. A dollar spent in a local restaurant, for example, becomes income for a restaurant employee. When that employee buys groceries, the dollars become income to the grocer, who in turn may spend it to buy clothing, car repairs, plumbing and heating repairs or even office supplies. In each case, as long as the dollar continues to circulate in our local economy, it becomes income for other area businesses and residents. Just think of it – even in a down economy – we have a real opportunity to make a substantial difference in our own local economy.

As soon as that dollar exits the San Marcos economy, either through an Internet sale or some other long distance transaction, the multiplier effect stops. That dollar can no longer circulate locally. (What’s the chance that that online shop is going to spend any of its profits here?) And the tax revenues generated from that purchase (say in Chicago or New York) pay for their fire protection, parks and streets – not ours.

Can you really make a difference?

Yes, absolutely! A mere five percent shift in overall purchases back into our local community would have a huge impact on our economy. Just think, if one-third of our residents (say 15,000) spent $100 with local merchants that would have gone elsewhere, that would be a direct impact of $1,500,000. Take a simple 3x multiplier (assuming the money circulates to three distinct businesses before leaving San Marcos) and that’s an immediate $4,500,000 impact to our community. Circulate those same dollars one more time and you get the picture. That’s significant, no matter how you look at it. And it can start, right here at home, with each and every one of us.

My message this holiday season? If you are selling in San Marcos, by all means, sell globally, but please make every effort to buy locally! Buy here – it just “makes cents” for everyone. The San Marcos Chamber of Commerce is focused on business – Focused on you! Check us out on the web at www.sanmarcostexas.com. If your business is looking for the power of referrals and a business partner that will work for their success in 2010, call the Chamber today.

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0 thoughts on “Getting through hard times together

  1. There are too many Texan fools who will continue to shop at and thereby support places such as Wal-Mart due to their unethically low prices. Everyone should watch the documentary Wal Mart: the High cost of low price. Buy local is the only answer, buy wal-mart to sell out your country and your countrymen.

  2. You make a good point Christian. Buying local and buying from a local businessman do not always mean the same thing. National franchises export their profits from a community in a far greater way than truly local businesses do.

    But I understand that the Chamber is not in a position to display favoritism amongst its members. I do applaud its Buy Local program. And agree with it wholeheartedly.

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