Salado: Visitors spending less, some businesses moving out

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SALADO, Texas (KWTX) Salado is a popular destination for tourists and area residents alike but a series of setbacks continues to take a toll on local business.

Some businesses in Salado weathered floods and highway work, but others didn't. (Photo by Megan Vanselow)

Some of the once-thriving businesses on Main Street have shut down and state numbers show there's been a drop in how much visitors spend from a peak of $16 million in 2010, down to $10 million in 2017.

In the last decade the area has been hit by two massive floods, inundating homes and businesses, and causing Salado Creek levels to rise 10 feet within a span of about 15 minutes.

Then the expansion of Interstate 35 barreled through the village, shutting off exit ramps and making the stretch of the highway through town the site of a series of traffic crashes.

In total the construction took nearly six years and $175 million to complete.

Some businesses weathered the floods and the highway work, but others didn't.

“Unfortunately the Strawberry Patch, after 30 years here in Salado, I was going to close at this location at the end of September,” store owner, James Rousch said.

As all the stores deal with a changing economy, some admit the shoppers aren’t visiting and spending, like they used to.

“We've had years that we're good and we've had years that weren't,” Springhouse owner, Dolores Marshall said.

“Business has actually been kind of rough in Salado as far as the market goes,” Rousch said.

Some owners attribute the loss to a number of things, remaining optimistic that the area will thrive again.

“We’re small and when a few people go out of business it sounds like we're really destitute here but it's not that bad,” Marshall said.

The Springhouse has been a part of the community for 25 years.

They say the biggest hit was the construction on I-35, while newer shops like 21 Main saw it as a positive thing.

Kaye Coachman is a co-owner of 21 Main.

“We actually open during the construction on I-35 because we knew that it was going to be better when that was done,” she says.

They all agree, running a store in the village is no easy feat.

“Sometimes it's a struggle for people because it's just a small locally owned mom-and-pop business it may be hard to mend the hours,” Coachman said, especially when customers sometimes can’t hit all the stores in a single trip.

“We are closed on Mondays here a lot of the stores are closed on different days so it's kind of confusing,” Marshall said.

But they remain optimistic, trying to adapt as the world of shopping continues to evolve.

“Through the years business has changed antiques sort of fell by the wayside for a while and we've always been changing,” Marshall said.

“People have to read discover Salado we've changed a lot and we're changing again and I don't know what we're going to end up being here but whatever it is I think it's still going to be pretty special,” Rousch said.