Chamber Campaign Lifting Spirits & Love For Community
It started as a striking billboard by Expressway 77/83 with a positive message for a new year.
“I Love Mercedes,’’ the billboard entering the city says boldly, with a red heart logo to show affection for the city.
“The Queen City of The Valley,’’ it continues below the bold black letters, and then, “A Place to Invest. A Place to Call Home.’’
“The whole goal was to start with something positive for the new year,’’ said Fred Gonzalez, the president of the Mercedes Chamber of Commerce. “It’s an uplifting message.’’
The billboard, as it turned out, was just the start. It wasn’t long before local residents were asking if there would be bumper stickers or yard signs with the same message as what’s featured on the billboard.
“Where can I get one?’’ Gonzalez recalled being asked.
Yard signs with the “I Love Mercedes’’ message began popping up all over town. Many businesses have placed the signs in front of their businesses. The same goes for homes, especially those in neighborhoods adjacent to downtown. It reinforces the message of a place to call home.
Bumper stickers have been sent out weekly with more requests coming in.
“Mercedes is a very peaceful and blue-collar community where everyone knows everyone,’’ Gonzalez said. “It’s wonderful how they, (signs), have popped up all over town.’’
One of those signs is by the office window of Edna Martinez, branch manager and commercial lender for Texas National Bank in Mercedes. Martinez has been busy helping local small businesses connect to the latest round of federal loans and grants related to COVID-19.
“Everyone has been affected,’’ Martinez said of the challenges created by the coronavirus pandemic. “We’re being optimistic and seeing the signs around town has been helpful.
“I’m a big believer in Mercedes,’’ said Martinez, a lifelong resident of the city. “We need teamwork by everybody and positive messages helps everyone overcome obstacles.’’
It’s a message underscored by the chamber’s campaign. Mercedes has had its share of challenges in recent years, Gonzalez said. He expressed confidence that upcoming developments to be announced will boost the city’s spirits.
“It’s going to match the description of the Queen City,’’ he said.
Gonzalez chuckled in telling an account of his son reporting that he recently saw a “I Love Mercedes’’ bumper sticker in Kingsville.
“The word gets around,’’ he said. “We have people from Mercedes living elsewhere who have called to ask for bumper stickers. It’s just great to see how much people here really love their community.’’
Ricardo D. Cavazos