Marble Falls is part of the economically vibrant Austin metropolitan area and a gateway to Texas’s storied Hill Country. From 2002 to 2012, Marble Falls saw its employment levels increase approximately 40 percent, a trend that was forecasted to continue. However, rapid growth throughout the region also presented challenges for Marble Falls. Namely, leaders sought to understand how the community would stand apart and compete for new opportunities with well positioned suburban and exurban rivals.
To ensure their community achieved a competitive advantage, the Marble Falls Economic Development Corporation (EDC) hired TIP Strategies to conduct a target sector analysis. TIP sought to provide a baseline understanding of opportunities within the EDC’s business recruitment activities. The resulting analysis was organized around two underlying assumptions for economic growth: 1) trends within the wider Central Texas region’s economy would influence local opportunities; and 2) pursuing niche opportunities would advance the local economy while preserving the city’s quality of life. As a result of its analysis, TIP recommended that Marble Falls pursue opportunities related to medical offices, entrepreneurship/IT services, light manufacturing, specialty distribution, resort-related destinations & activities, sustainable agriculture & ranching, and niche retail. These recommendations were strategically selected to play on Marble Falls’ strengths: a high quality of life, location at the intersection of US 281 and TX 71, proximity and access to Austin and San Antonio, available sites within the 300-acre Marble Falls Business & Technology Park, a unique workforce that included a substantial executive retiree population, and emerging opportunities (including the construction of the Scott & White Medical Center).