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The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

Local businesses approach to taking on Winter Break

Star file photo

From coffee shops to small boutiques, local businesses in San Marcos are navigating the unique challenges of being located in a college town by preparing for less college students over winter break.

Kevin Kotara, Texas State alumni and manager of Sundance Record Lagoon, said while college students are the store’s largest shopping demographic, the recent growth of San Marcos and the loyalty of the local population helps to support the business over the break.

“Retail businesses anywhere have ups and downs throughout the calendar year,” Kotara said. “That can be magnified in a college town where a large percentage of people move in and out a few times a year.”

Additionally, Kotara said being a record store helps keep business consistent as music has an unlimited reach to all age groups, which the store aims to provide through their vast range of music genres and products to the San Marcos population.

“Many of our customers are local residents, and the local population has been loyal to us,” Kotara said. “We are very grateful for that.”

Katarina De La Cruz, owner of The Sweet Spot NBTX, said opening their business on The Square and adjusting to running a business in a college town has worked out well with the help of the local community and the presence of university students.

When approaching Thanksgiving break, De La Cruz, alongside her mom and sister that also run the store, prepared ahead of time as they anticipated students going home for break would impact their sales.

“We know that students are probably 75% of our sales,” De La Cruz said. “And then, [during Thanksgiving week] our sales were great. We [thought] that was kind of weird, but it definitely wasn’t students. It was families and locals.”

During the school year, De La Cruz said the store has numerous regulars who come into the coffee shop three to four times a week that are typically college students and professors.

When students go back to their hometowns for longer breaks, such as winter break, De La Cruz said the change in customers is noticeable in the store, but it has been counterbalanced thus far by the presence of local residents and their families coming into town.

Prior to setting up shop in San Marcos, De La Cruz also operated in Seguin, Texas, as well as in New Braunfels, Texas, where the store still operates part-time in its original role of a food truck.

“People are a lot friendlier here [in San Marcos],” De La Cruz said. “We all say that people are so nice here. All the college students are great, [and] they are very respectful.”

James Douglas-Smith, co-owner of Douglas Smith Artisan Soap Company, said their store has not noticed slower business during winter breaks, which they credit to the advantage of having the San Marcos Premium Outlet nearby as well as the local residents and other businesses.

“We love that San Marcos is a college town,” Douglas-Smith said. “The student schedule works out perfectly. When students are in town, we have a place for them to go. Bobcat days, performances, graduation, home games and parent weekend help increase traffic too.”

Douglas-Smith said the presence of the university also helps grow their business by spreading their products across Texas and the country when students from all areas drop by the store on the square.

Kotara said the fall and spring semesters typically are the most robust in business, but despite the challenges that come with being located in a college town, the locals of San Marcos and the accompanying holiday seasons help to make up the difference in between.

“Running a business in a college town is like running a business anywhere. It’s very challenging,” Kotara said. “The biggest difference between a college town and elsewhere is the ebb and flow of students throughout the year.

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