Buda marketing fund aimed at helping small businesses

From Austin to San Marcos, there are plenty of shops along the I-35 corridor that draw big crowds and heavy competition. That's why a new program in Buda aimed at helping locally-owned businesses is key for the small town.

At first glance, you may not expect to find a fine arts gallery tucked away just feet from a sign of "Buda Mill and Grain."  And not too long ago, neither did Theresa Jones.

"I've been gone for 20 years this year, and this facility used to be where I picked up my horse feed and my hay after school," explained Jones, one of the owners of Assemblage Contemporary Craftsmen Gallery. 

Back then, Jones and co-owner Jacquie Hollis Martinez were students at Jack C. Hays High just down the road. 

Two months ago, they opened their fine arts store, one of a string of new businesses to open along Main Street in Buda. 

As a small business -- Martinez and Jones are the only two employees -- marketing is key. 

"It's everything. It's huge. It's extremely important," the pair said, finishing each other's sentences. 

Sitting at the very end of Main Street, drumming up support to draw people in has been a challenge. 

"I think one of the biggest hurdles has just been people realizing that we're open down here, that there is just something down here at the end of the Buda Mill and Grain," said Jones. 

It's a call to attention, taking place up and down Main Street. 

"We want to be sure that people find us," said Maggie Gillespie. 

They just launched the Downtown Co-Marketing Fund, which provides up to $500 or 50 percent of marketing projects per quarter for qualifying businesses to work on advertising. 

"All of these types of funds assist us with creating more jobs for our downtown, putting more money into our city as a whole," Gillespie explained. 

"It does kind of give us the opportunity to play the part as a larger business perhaps," Martinez added. 

And while business owners hope to grow, many want to do so while keeping the fabric and feel of this tight-knit community. 

"That's a key competent," said Gillespie. "Making sure that as we are growing, that we are making sure that we keep our historic presence in the downtown area."

It's a balance of preservation and profit, one business owners are embracing in Buda. 

There is $20,000 allotted to the program, which is funded from hotel taxes. A maximum of $5,000 will be allotted to businesses on a first-come, first-serve basis per quarter. 

© 2017 KVUE-TV


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