According to the Greater La Vernia Chamber of Commerce and the La Vernia Municipal Development District (MDD), the past year was a good one for business in the community.
“2013 was a good year for employment growth in La Vernia,” said MDD Executive Director Jennifer Kolbe. “We welcomed new businesses, including Golden Chick, Moser Engine Service, Gulf-Mark Crude, South Texas RV Super Center, Connally Memorial Urgent Care Center, Advanced Home Health, and several retailers and restaurants.”
This assessment was echoed by the greater chamber, which added more than 20 new members to its roster and held ribbon-cutting events for almost a dozen new businesses.
The face of the community has changed, with the addition of an urgent-care clinic, new realty agencies, several eateries, added industries, and businesses catering to the oil and gas exploration in the Eagle Ford shale.
The shale exploration prompted the city’s hosting of its second annual “Governor’s Small Business Forum: Opportunities in the Eagle Ford Shale,” held in June. This signature event drew attendees from far and wide, and participation from chambers of commerce, industry, government, and community organizations.
The greater chamber was extremely active, either sponsoring or co-sponsoring and hosting a number of events, such as the city’s first Wassail Walk, a late-night business opening in December, as well as the La Vernia Great American Cleanup and a fish fry social in the city park, among others.
The greater chamber took a blow in the spring, when more than $20,000 in chamber funds was found missing. Former Treasurer Patsy Ritchey was indicted later in the year on counts of theft of property and misapplication of fiduciary property.
However, the organization rebounded, establishing a new board of directors and revamping its bylaws. A new board took charge in December and will take the organization into the new year, as it plans to take on a signature fund-raising event: the La Vernia Wild West HammerFest, set for September.
Growth continues to be the buzzword for the community as the year begins.
“We look forward to steady growth in 2014 as new retailers move into the La Vernia Crossing center and as GVEC expands its fiber optic network,” Kolbe said. “H-E-B, along with our other retailers, continues to have strong sales as sales tax collections are up 9 percent over 2012. A record number of new houses broke ground within the city limits. As these new homes are completed, we will have additional tax base and our new residents will have new shopping and dining options in 2014.”
It appears a prosperous year lies ahead for La Vernia.