Though 2020 was not a good year for businesses across the United States, in Marshall, businesses grew, thrived and many new establishments even opened.

With COVID-19 closing down many “non-essential” businesses for months, as well as adding new and sometimes expensive safety procedures to protect employees and customers during the international pandemic, what made Marshall different? Local, supportive clients made a large difference.

Local shopping statistics show that small businesses generate $68 of local economic return for every $100 spent with them. Similarly, over $9.3 billion would be directly returned to the economy if every U.S. family spent just $10 a month at a local business. 

Many new businesses opened their doors during 2020 in Marshall, including Wing Stop, Stage Coach Coffee Co., Raw Iron Marshall Gym, Harbor Freight, El Taco, Avelar Western Wear, God's Money Gold and Silver, 92.3 FM The Depot and 4:19 Tackle.

City Manager Mark Rohr said that this was no accident, but instead was the result of plans laid out by the city well before the outbreak of COVID-19.

“As it relates to the pandemic I think we were very resilient,” Rohr said.

He said that the city’s addition of an Economic Development Office and the dedication and flexibility of its employees made the transitions needed to be made smooth, and all offices working as quickly as usual.

Unlike other cities, Rohr said that a reduction in the speed of the processing of many projects was not a problem for Marshall, which allowed businesses to get off the ground even during the COVID-19 outbreak.

For businesses such as God’s Money, the addition to the Marshall economy provided a valuable service to residents during difficult financial times. In October 2020, the business hosted a ribbon cutting, offering a convenient location in town for community members to buy and sell gold and silver, including coins and jewelry. The business is located at 806 East Grand Avenue.

On the entertainment front, the community received a new radio station, 92.3 The Depot. Director of Commotion and Product Development Chip “the fat man” Arledge also interviews members of the community to offer local insight and plays classic Texas music for community members who tune in. The radio station is located at 306 North Washington.

Several new food establishments opened in 2020 including a locally owned coffee shop Stage Coach Coffee Co. who opened on Grand Avenue, in the old Dinner Belle building.

Two owners Jackie Starr and Sherry Jones now offer Marshall’s only open drive-thru coffee shop, which also offers options for breakfast and lunch, as well as a variety of baked good for community members to enjoy.  

Two new Mexican restaurants El Taco and Taqueria Torres also opened their doors in 2020, offering a unique dining experience to Marshall community members.

Harbor Freight, and Effort Products also opened their doors for the first time in 2020, offering community members new locations to get all of the supplies they need for their businesses or home projects. Harbor Freight is located at 1201 East Grand Avenue while Effort Products is located at 1207 East Grand Avenue.

Along with all of these new businesses opening their doors, and a number of local businesses changing locations throughout the year, Marshall did see the loss of a few local businesses during 2020.

A survey done a year ago by the National Small Business Association found that three in every four small business owners feared the consequences of the economic impact these changes may have, while nearly half of all businesses had already experienced reduced customer demand. 

The Stage store in Marshall Place permanently closed its doors earlier this year, along with Neely’s Brown Pig, the historical lunch spot in Marshall that has been open for over 90 years.

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