Responsible for revitalizing the city with evens and projects centered on community involvement, San Marcos native Samantha Armbruster spearheads the Main Street Program. The University Star caught up with Armbruster to discuss the program and its events, her time in San Marcos and what it takes to make it in such a popular career field.
LB: What made you want to work in San Marcos?
SA: After I graduated high school, I went on many adventures and ended up in Austin. Out of all the places I lived and visited, I couldn’t think of any other place to settle down and raise my child. For me, the best place is downtown San Marcos.
LB: What made you want to get into this field?
SA: I had previous experience in tourism and marketing. I had my own business doing social media marketing. I just saw that there was such an opportunity to market our downtown and city using new technology, and that’s my passion. I saw an opportunity to come to this place I love using all the new technology available.
LB: How can others get into this field?
SA: The first and foremost is you have to like promotion. You have to like dealing with people and event experience is helpful. The best advice is to get involved any way you can. There are always volunteer opportunities. You can learn so much in a classroom but the experience is the most helpful.
LB: Tell me a little about the Main Street program.
SA: The Main Street Program is a nationwide program (run by) the National Trust. In Texas we are managed by the Texas Historical Commission and we are a program under the City of San Marcos. Our goal is to support and revitalize downtown. We have a lot of construction going on right now, so we say, “What can we do to help the small businesses downtown?” We keep our downtown looking good. We’re a thriving and growing community.
LB: What does a typical day look like for you?
SA: Everyday can be different. One day we will be hauling food and ice and coolers and packing up boxes and making chalkboard signs. Another day we’ll be taking pictures and cleaning ashtrays. Other days it will be lots of meetings with people wanting to do things downtown. It’s equal parts logistics and promotion and customer service.
LB: Are there any other responsibilities?
SA: We are also in support of the businesses. We have several grant programs if businesses want to put a new façade or sign for their building they can apply for it. We’re always looking for new things to get involved with and support. A lot of what we do is driven by the people who approach us with good ideas.
LB: How do you come up with the ideas for events?
SA: Well, I think some of it is inspired by events in other places that I’ve seen done. We try to have as many conversations with people as possible. We have Coffee Talk in the morning and afternoon to talk about anything—mostly downtown. Anyone can come to Coffee Talk. The majority of people we see are really involved—students, business owners and engaged citizens. Students have been a great energy because they have great ideas and can think outside the box.
LB: What’s next for summer and fall?
SA: Summer and fall are going to be some of the same but bigger and better. Last year was our first Passport event but this year should be better. June 14 is our MAP tour that features makers, artists and performers. There will be more activity on the sidewalks and street as part of the new construction. We’re about to launch a new era for downtown.
LB: How important is it for the community to be involved?
SA: It’s more important than ever for them to be engaged. An idea that maybe you got may be good for your own town. Getting involved in any way you can. With social media so successful, it’s easy to be involved. It doesn’t take much.