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Campaign Urges Hill Country Residents To Be 'Boerne Strong' By Supporting Local Businesses

Boerne Strong.JPG
Jack Morgan
Texas Public Radio
Boerne's "Hill Country Mile" features boutiques, restaurants, breweries, galleries, and hotels.

The “Boerne Strong” campaign has been launched to encourage its 18,000 residents to shop locally.

Ninety-four percent of Boerne businesses rely on local rather than out-of-town trade, according to the local economic development corporation.

The city, chamber of commerce, economic development corporation and the retail and restaurant owners association have teamed up to launch “Boerne Strong” to urge residents to buy local goods and services.

The city’s Hill Country Mile is a walkable strip that includes boutiques, restaurants, galleries, hotels and breweries.

The city’s director of community services, Danny Zincke, said the business community needs residents to rally around it.

“What I can tell you is that our small businesses have had to contend with shutdowns and occupancy restrictions, increased costs associated with equipping their businesses with safety precautions to protect their staff, protect their patrons, decreased tourism,” he said.

The“Boerne Strong” campaign will be promoted on signs, social media and online at visitboerne.org and hillcountrymile.com.

“Instead of driving out of town or using large online retailers, we want to encourage residents and remind them you can keep your dollars right here in our community,” said Kim Blohm, the president and CEO of the Greater Boerne Chamber of Commerce.

Amy Story is the president and CEO of the Boerne-Kendall County Economic Development Corporation. She said the city’s heavy reliance on local trade and not on outside trade, also known as the traded sector, hurts during a crisis like COVID-19.

“The Boerne economy is actually less resilient than those communities that have a higher percentage of traded sector businesses. Currently we’ve got a traded sector that is about 28% smaller than cities of comparable size to ours in the United States,” she said.

Story said the economic development corporation is working to correct that trade imbalance.

She said the typical local business in Boerne has 20 or fewer employees and the chamber of commerce describes many of them as “mom and pop” operations.

The city plans to light up the Hill Country Mile for the holidays to lure shoppers to its main drag.

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Brian Kirkpatrick can be reached at brian@tpr.org and on Twitter at @TPRBrian