The city of Lockhart is known for being a good landing spot for manufacturing companies, but the development of an 85 mph toll road has helped the city, known as the Barbecue Capital of Texas, become an even more attractive option for businesses looking to expand their footprint.
“The placement of the SH 130 toll has been a boon for Lockhart,” said Lockhart Economic Development Corporation (LEDC) Director Michael Kamerlander. “Businesses exploring the idea of Lockhart as a home base are intrigued by it being close to both Austin and San Antonio, and on a highway with an expeditious traffic flow.”
Over the past few years, Lockhart has become home for two companies that have been in business in Texas for decades.
Fashion Glass and Mirror decided on Lockhart after looking at numerous locations in the Austin-San Antonio Corridor. The leading manufacturer and installer of shower glass and mirrors in the Lone Star state ultimately began considering the Barbecue Capital of Texas as an option so it could serve rapidly growing Austin and San Antonio, which have experienced an explosion of growth over the past decade according to U.S. Census data reported in May by the San Antonio Express-News.
After narrowing the search to two sites, the company, which has been in business since 1973, ultimately chose Lockhart because of its location on SH 130, which it said it preferred over I-35.
The company has thrived in Lockhart as new-home construction has continued to increase.
“SH 130’s ability to move goods and services to both Austin and San Antonio was the ultimate deciding factor,” Kamerlander said. “Fashion Glass and Mirror can reach its markets faster than it could from a high-traffic, high-congestion area located on I-35.”
A location near downtown Austin was no longer a good fit for Pure Castings Company, which found itself looking for some breathing room as the area around them grew more populated and more regulated.
Established in Austin in 1968, the state-of-the-art investment castings foundry was now shopping for a new home and set its sights on Lockhart’s Industrial Park. It purchased an existing manufacturing building and leased a second one from the LEDC.
“The company is able to find labor and serve its customers more efficiently while enjoying the view from inside an industrial park,” Kamerlander said. “They feel welcome in their new community.”
Lockhart has also attracted companies on the cutting edge, too, such as Visionary Fiber Technologies (VFT), which made the city its headquarters in November 2018 to commercialize a novel way to manufacture biodiesel.
The technology being utilized in VFT’s process was pioneered at Texas State University, located about 15 minutes away from Lockhart. Lockhart EDC provided some incentives to VFT to locate its corporate headquarters in Lockhart, and VFT committed to a large investment and well-paying jobs in return.
“VFT has been an outstanding corporate citizen and is active in the community,” Kamerlander said. “During the Covid-19 pandemic, VFT shifted some of its production to producing hand sanitizer for the city of Lockhart and Caldwell County employees and first responders at no cost. We appreciate and VFT as an example of the type of company Lockhart wants in its community.”
The Lockhart EDC is the economic development organization for the City of Lockhart. LEDC promotes the BBQ Capital of Texas which is located within the Austin – San Antonio Corridor with direct access to SH 130 and US 183 as the prime location for future growth within the ASA corridor. Only 25 minutes south of Tesla and Austin Bergstrom International Airport, Lockhart EDC is ready to assist with all economic development needs in Lockhart.