Suzette Ventura worked for Southwest Airlines for years and even commuted from Horseshoe Bay to Austin for the last bit of her working life.
She’s lived in Horseshoe Bay now for about 15 years. She’s learned to enjoy the laid-back life here, walking her two squirrel-chasing, tree-climbing dogs Pepper and Lettie.
But she wasn’t always so sold on Horseshoe Bay.
“The first time I came up I think was in January of 1998. And they were having the worst ice storm that they had ever had up here. But, my husband kept telling me, ‘But they have a lot of golf courses!’
It wasn’t a great consolation for her.
“And then the next time, it was in the middle of the summer, and it was 115, and humid, and I still couldn’t quite see the beauty in it,” she says.
Now, she says, she can finally appreciate what the town has to offer.
But, there’s a new, younger — still pretty small — crowd that’s started to sprinkle themselves in among the retirees of Horseshoe Bay. Clay Cauble is one of those youngsters.
The 31-year-old runs Hill Country Concierge, which manages several of the second homes in Horseshoe Bay. His business fills a need that he saw soon after moving there: Some of the people with second (or third) homes in Horseshoe Bay were working too hard maintaining them.
“If you have the means to own a beautiful secondary home on the lake, you should enjoy it,” Cauble says. “We’re saving our clients anywhere from six to eight hours every trip they come in. That’s time that they can be out on the boat, or play a round of golf, or grab a book and read.”
While his business exists precisely to service local second homeowners who have enough money to pay for him to do so, he doesn’t readily agree that Horseshoe Bay is made up only of rich people and the not-so-rich people who serve them.
“If you get out on a boat, you’ll see some ginormous homes,” he concedes. “You can see that there’s a lot of retirees here, but I guarantee they’re the people who put two kids through college and worked really hard to retire, and now they’re reaping those rewards, and they just want to be somewhere like Horseshoe Bay.”
Cauble, who’s from Midland originally, and his wife moved here just three years ago, but they’ve begun to observe that the community is starting, just barely, to trend slightly younger. And while he sees change down the road, he thinks that significant sea changes — like establishing a school district in Horseshoe Bay, for instance — lie pretty far ahead.
Cauble is president of the Horseshoe Bay Business Alliance, the goal of which, he says, is to promote the small businesses that service Horseshoe Bay and the surrounding areas. They’re not the type of town to court big box stores or ambitious projects, so their focus has been on supporting preexisting local businesses.
But now, there’s a hospital being built right on the edge of town — the Baylor Scott & White Hospital. Some are speculating that the influx of newly hired hospital staff could mean an increase in the size of the middle class community in Horseshoe Bay.
Cauble doesn’t speculate too much, but he agrees there’s changes afoot in the community. The question is: Are the residents of the sleepy retirement lakeside community ready for something new?
In his experience, Cauble says, the town has been nearly conflict-free. The only thing that gets people riled up, he says, is when too many out-of-towners come around.
“We know that there, on any given weekend, can be a large amount of people that don’t belong to our city here, on our streets, eating in our restaurants, and using our establishments — and I think that maybe some of the full-time residents can get a little disturbed with the amount of people here that aren’t full-time,” he says.
Whether the hospital construction — combined with the population growth all over Central Texas — affects the way the town operates, remains to be seen.
But Cauble is optimistic.
“When the time comes, you’re going to see a lot of new faces that are willing to step up and help that change,” he says, “and hopefully, everybody will be ready to see that happen.”