By Robin Blackburn – San Marcos Record
Sunday, May 19, 2019
It has been some time since San Marcos has had a Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, but on Wednesday, another organization serving small and minority-owned businesses will launch a new chapter here.
The Texas Association of Mexican American Chambers of Commerce (TAMACC) will hold the first meeting of its new Hays County chapter on Wednesday at 6 p.m. at the historic Hays County Courthouse on the downtown square.
“It started off as a San Marcos chapter, but the interest is there,” said J.R. Gonzales, executive vice chair of TAMACC, about the decision to make it countywide.Gonzales said most of the chapter’s activities will take place in San Marcos, since it is the county seat, the largest city in the county and home of Texas State University, which holds the status of a Hispanic-Serving Institution.
“It’s a prime location,” Gonzales said.
Moreover, TAMACC recently moved its headquarters from Austin to Buda, bringing it into Hays County. Additionally, TAMACC has agreed to host its Hispanic Business Convention of Texas in San Marcos for several years in a row, Gonzales said; last year’s convention was the first.
“It only makes sense that we get the local community involved,” he said.
The TAMACC chapter will not be quite like a Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Gonzales said.
“It’ll work like a chamber, but it won’t be a full-fledged chamber,” he said, adding that over time it could morph into a Hispanic Chamber of Commerce if it chooses.
Gonzales noted that in other cities, the Hispanic and main chambers of commerce co-exist in different ways. In New Braunfels, he said, the chamber of commerce has a Hispanic division; in Corpus Christi, the Hispanic and main chambers merged into the United Chambers of Commerce.
Gonzales said that Texas is home to more than 700,000 Hispanic-owned businesses, and the number of Latina-owned businesses in particular is growing.
“As the Hispanic population grows, one thing that’s for sure is that in the Hispanic community, entrepreneurship is alive and well,” he said.
TAMACC is active in advocating for businesses during the Texas Legislature, offering leadership training and providing other opportunities for business owners. The organization recently took a delegation to China and, in 2020, will be taking a cruise ship to Cuba, Gonzales said. TAMACC also has plans for visiting Mexico City.