Wanted: More Manufacturing in Marble Falls

Christian Fletcher

We are a scenic town known for our lakes, golf, summer camps, and Pie Happy Hour, in search of a financially fit manufacturing firm (or firms) to help us expand our horizons.  We’ve enjoyed growth in retail, healthcare, and construction, but some industrial variety will help us get to the next level as a community.  If you employ between ten and twenty good, honest people and could benefit from easy access to Austin, San Antonio, and all other parts of Texas, then give us a call.  We’d like to kick off Phase III of our Business & Technology Park with an extension of roads and utilities to accommodate a business like yours.  All inquiries are welcome.

If only recruitment were as easy as placing an ad to pitch sunsets and small-town charm, then areas west of Interstate 35 would look a lot different than they do today.  Instead, the Texas Triangle is growing exponentially, pulling from areas west (and all other parts of the country, for that matter).

In between those two poles sits Marble Falls.  Even as the regional economic hub for the Highland Lakes area—which has led to sales tax collections and a variety of restaurants and stores that very few other cities our size can match—we’ve been somewhat insulated from the explosive growth to our east, but that is changing.  Development pressures are coming our way faster than ever before, especially as more and more people see the value in all that Marble Falls has to offer with only a fraction of the headaches that are associated with more populous places.

But even minimal headaches can be challenging when you’ve operated for so long without any headaches at all.  This is the pressure, I think, that many cities in Central Texas are feeling today.

One way to manage demands on the retail, service, and hospitality sectors in booming small towns is to stimulate growth in other sectors, namely light manufacturing.  Not only would we create primary jobs and bolster our export activity, but we would be able to expand our economy without adding additional pressure to our physical infrastructure; manufacturers don’t need a lot of visitors in order to be successful.  More money from more diverse industries would help to balance our economy and reduce our reliance on sales tax and discretionary spending.

Please don’t get me wrong.  I am one of the world’s biggest proponents of tourism and the benefits of outside dollars in a community, but there has to be a balance in order for a place to truly thrive.

Clearly, we have work to do, but we’re off to a better start than many other cities.  Marble Falls has a more balanced economy than most people give us credit for, in terms of both seasonality and industry.  In the last ten years, no more than 52% of our sales tax collections have come from the “busy” period from April to September.  With regard to industry, retail still dominates, but manufacturing is second, well ahead of accommodations and food services, construction, and other industries.  In 2015, total gross sales in manufacturing totaled $109.4 million, a 15.2% increase over 2014.  Compared to some other notable cities, Marble Falls already stands out.

So, if you enjoy sunsets, walks by the lake, and making widgets in an established but growing manufacturing environment, then Marble Falls may be the perfect match for you.