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New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - May 5, 1994, New Braunfels, Texas LifestylesFounders of Downtown Association reminisce The founders of the Downtown Association were honored at a special lunch meeting held at Tree Tops Restaurant on Tuesday April 5. Plaques were awarded to founding members Gene Chollett, C.W. Henne, Kermit Krause, Hilmar Tschoepe, Merritt F. Schumann, Hel-muth Salge, Goetge Goepf, Judge Robert T. Pfeuffer, Paul Bruner, Joe Faust, Wallace Johnson, and Louis and Russell Vollbrecht. Even though this group of founders had begun gathering informally for quite some time prior to their first official meeting, the first recorded minutes of what was then called the Downtown Merchants Association were taken on April 24, 1967, at a meeting held at the Chamber of Commerce. The first elected officers were Paul Bruner, chairman; Sid Shipley, vice chairman; Roy Allen, secretary; and Wallace Johnson, treasurer. Still very active in the association today are founders Gene Chollett of Chollett’s Men’s & Ladies’ Fashions, Helmuth Salge of Salge’s Sewing Machine Repair, George Goepf of Goepf Jewelers Inc., and Wallace Johnson of Johnson Fumiture/Innerworks. When asked how the Downtown Association has changed over the past 27 years, Chollett explained that when the organization was first formed, its two main goals were to promote business for its 2S original members and improve the downtown puking situation. ’The first members were very protective of the Downtown Merchants Association. There were strict boundaries drawn, and if you were outside of the area, you could not be a member," Chollett explained. Things are quite different now. Its current list of IOO members includes retail merchants not only outside as well as inside the downtown arca, but “anyone interested in the viability of die downtown area and the beautification that goes on amongst it" Chollett continues, "In Founders of th# Downtown Association: Wallace Johneon, Helmuth Seige, Gene Chollett, Merritt Schumann, Louis Vollbrecht and George Goepf. 1973 we amended the by-laws to call us the Downtown Association because of all the property owners and other professionals who wanted to join such as bankers, attorneys, doctors, retirees and any other individuals " Johnson believes that “this interest has helped to keep our downtown from dying as other towns have done." The founders recall the challenges of the parking situation downtown, especially when the parking meters existed. It was the days when a penny bought you 12 minutes of parking and a nickel bought an hour. Every time there was a problem with one of the meters, the car’s owner would inevitably go into the nearest store and take their frustration out on the proprietor. The founders even recall a friendly policeman who, when seeing that a meter was near its limit, would go into the nearest store, get a penny from the proprietor, and slip it into the meter so the owner wouldn’t have an unhappy customer on his hands! In 1974 off-street parking as we know it today was made a reality when the association negotiated with the Brauntex Theatre whose parking lot was used only in the evening when movies were shown. This arrangement is still in effect today. A special place in the hearts of Goepf, Johnson, Salge and Chollett are the Christmas lights, which every year turn Main Plaza and the downtown area into a sparkling wonderland. Chollett recalls that in 1968 the newly formed Downtown Merchants Association possessed about S250 worth of Christmas lights which they sold to Wurstfest. Wurstfest was in need of decorative lights for Wursthalle. This $250 served as the beginning funds for the Downtown Merchants Association’s Christmas Light Committee, formed in August 1969 and chaired by Johnson. Johnson’s committee soon dis covered how expensive an outdoor lighting project could be. But the $3800 they needed was soon raised. "In fret," says Johnson, "we actually raised $4,000, and used the extra $200 to decorate the Band Stand. Helmuth Salge remembers the founders had their own way of notifying each other if they quickly needed to get the word out about some-tiiing. Called the "hot line," the proprietors would immediately notify each other by phone of any problems such as bogus bills or if a shoplifter had been spotted. "We caught one shoplifter through our hot line," recalls Salge, "and when the police searched their car, they found a lot of stolen clothing from a San Marcos store." Downtown businessmen have seen vast changes in the area during the past 20-30 years. Chollers opened in 1962, and Gene Chollett said in those days all you had to do was open your doors and people would come. All the New Braunfels businesses were concentrated in downtown and people would come in from out of town to shop. "Also, there used to be a time when people wouldn’t take a cent out of town in order to keep their tax money local to do good things for New Braunfels," explains Chollett. "But you don’t see quite so much of that anymore with New Braunfels becoming a type of bedroom city to San Antonio. A lot of New Braunfelsers make their living in San Antonio and that's where they shop. The pie’s the same size it used to be, but there are so many more slices to choose from." Salge points out a change in the type of retail shops downtown. "Downtown used to be all retail stores of necessity, such as grocery stores and clothing. The Gibson’s opened, Lands Plaza was built and much of downtown emptied. That’s when we downtown merchants knew we had to get organized and form an organiztfion to promote ourselves as a whole.” He sees downtown filling up and ooming backX now in a different way. Antique stores and arts and crafts shops have opened which are good for tourism. And in some ways he sees the downtown area beginning to revert back to years past with the Main Street Project encouraging second story living quarters above the shops.    t Wallace Johnson says that “I am beginning to see more and more people coming into my store and saying, Td rather shop in New Braunfels,’ kinda like it was back in the *50s and '60s. I think the outlook of our downtown future is great." Chollett believes that customers like coming into a store and being called by their name — something the big cities can’t offer. And all the founders are in agreement that personal customer service is of utmost importance to a shopper. "Small, independent service businesses are coming back nationwide," says Salge. "The service industry is picking up because quality items aren’t thrown out — they are repaired.” George Goepf, whose father began his business in 1925, has been located downtown ever since then and says he’s there to stay. "Downtown is a good place to be. It’s a good shopping environment, and there are a lot of good people here," says Goepf. He believes the strength the Downtown Association offers has helped keep downtown viable, especially with all the "new young members we have in our organization." Johnson believes the best thing the Downtown Association has to offer is the cohesiveness of “everybody working together — professionals, business people, volunteers. Our members are not interested in improving just the downtown, but the entire community. There is now a cohesiveness to bring New Braunfels back on the map as a whole instead of each of our own little individual businesses.” FARM AND RANCHInformation available on how to freeze-brand horses By JOE a TAYLOR County Extension Agent A publication on how to freeze brand horses is now available from the Texas Agricultural Extension Service. There are four reasons why horse owners should identify their animals, said Dr. Doug Householder, Extension horse specialist. Identification allows easier management of large groups of similar horses, acts as a theft deterrent, discourages fraudulent practices with registration or health papers, and enables horse owners to personalize their horses. There are several identification moth ods available, including natural markings such a color, man-made marks sud) as fire and freeze branding, and a new method where electronic chips are placed in horses’ necks. "There are advantages and disadvantages to all techniques,” House holder said. "There’s no ideal technique." However, in the past few years, freeze (cryogenic) branding has become extremely popular because it is safe, economical and simple to do It can be done on horses of any age, appears to be relatively painless and does not scar or damage the horse's hide The skin of a horse contains millions of hairs that make up the horse’s coat. Each hair shaft has a color-(pig-mcnt}-producing follicle and a growth follicle below the skin, Householder said. When the intensely cold iron used in freeze branding is placed on the skin for the correct time and at the correct pressure, it destroys the color follicles at the brand site so they no longer produce pigment. However, the hair still continues to grow and appears white If a freeze branding iron is left on longer, both the color and hair folli- Author to sign books at New Braunfels stop Best selling romance author Brenda Hiatt, daughter of New Braunfels residents Geneva and Bill Deny, will be visiting to autograph copies of her newest paperback release, “Bridge Over Time." Published by Harlequin Supcmxnancc, this book is a time and travel romance with a twist: a modem day woman trades places with a woman from the early 1800s, and each must adjust to a new time, a new culture...and a new love. As one reviewer said, it's like "two books for the price of one.” Brenda will be signing books and meeting with her fans at the New Braunfels Wal-Mart from I p.m. until 3 p m on Saturday May 7. This will be an excellent opportunity to pick up a special Mother's Day gift at a very reasonable price! “Bridge Over Time" has been hailed by the reviewers: "This is one of the best time travel romances tint has been w ritten in ages ” (Affaire de Coeur); “The only disappointment is when it ends — you wish it could have gone on longer — this book cries for a sequel!" (GEnie RomEx reviews); "Twice the Brenda Htott adventure, twice the fun, and twice the romance." (NW Houston Galley) Don’t miss it! Ms. Hiatt has garnered a loyal following with five previous books, all Regency romances from Harlequin Her first “Hiatt Regency,” titled "Gabriclla," (March 1992), sold over 30,000 copies and was nominated by Romantic I imes magazine as Best First Regency “Lord Dearborn’s Destiny” (February 1993) received a five-star rc\ icw from Affaire de Coeur magazine ami "Daring Deception’’ (July 1993) landed on the Waldenbooks Series Bestseller list and received “Gold Five Stars” from Heartland Critiques In August, she will have another Regency, “Azalea,” published as half of a special two-in-one Harlequin release, ‘Regency Diamonds.” Brenda attended Texas A&M University from 1979 to 1981 in pursuit of a masters degree in wildlife science While tliere, she met her husband, Keith, a former member of the Corps of Cadets. As an Army wife, Brenda accompanied him from Texas to Hawaii and back. Currently they and their two daughters live in the Houston area, where Keith is finishing his second year of law school at the University of Houston. Brenda visits New Braunfels often. Her parents have lived here for more than a dozen years, and she also has an aunt, Mrs. Theresa Hamm, in the area des are destroyed and a bald brand is produced. On a light-colored hoise, this bald band shows up better than a white brand. Horse owners may purchase the equipment and brand their own hones or hire veterinarians or freeze-branding technicians to perform this service, he said. The freeze-branding publication addresses the common questions or concerns about the process, the type, the metal and design of the brand head felt is needed, and the procedures need ed to get the best brand. It alro contains information on brand registration and paperwork.    ' To order the publication, ask for "Freeze Branding Horses," publics; tion number L-5084, from county Extension agents. Starlight Gala TCI Cablevlelon of Contra! Texas la helping the Comal County Unit of the American Cancer Society by donating a percentage of Ha Installation faaa for th# month of February to voluntaars planning the 1994 Summer Starlight Gala. The Gala la the major fund raising avant for tho local unit of tbs Cancer Society. This year It la aet for June 10 at the Civic Cantar. Shown hare presenting the $250 chack to Laurie Heman, chairman of the Gala Planning Commata# Is Bill Wilcox and Kymberty Nauaa (right) from TCI Cablsvlslon. All Kinds raised by the avant stay In Comal County to help local programs and patients. For Information, call 629-5717.Vacation    Cel New Braunfels Merchant: interested in increasing your traffic 25% to 35% within 35 days? The New Braunfels Herald welcomes once again the successful vacation celebration promotion for your business.Package includes: (4) full page color ads identifying your business as a vacation celebration location to register for the free vacation Plus: photo of winners in paper. (2) vacations to the following destinations valued at $700 to $900 (I) 6' x 2' banner for your entryway. (I) ballot box with header (1) filii color window display 2' x 3' (2) table toppers (4) vacation celebration buttons for employees Orlando, Florida Branson, Missouri New Orleans, Lousiana Las Vegas, Nevada595 OO LET THIS PROMOTION WORK FOR YOU!!! Extra packages available for $25.00CALL NOW 625-9144to speak with your representative ;