North Main Center Anchors Revitalization
Once upon a time Boerne’s North Main Street buzzed with commerce. The town’s agrarian bent welcomed as many visitors from northern Kendall County as it did from Bexar County to the south.
Boerne’s only full-scale grocery store once operated at the intersection of School Street and North Main. Smaller general stores, restaurants, even a Little League baseball field helped to light the stretch.
As Boerne became more of a San Antonio bedroom community and less of an agricultural county seat, its commercial focus shifted south. North Main was left starkly different than in its heyday.
Eventually, only thrift shops, mechanic shops, honky-tonks and low-budget restaurants lined the stretch.
Times, they are a-changing, however. North Main is looking up, so much so that Drs. Wendy and Charles McCurley are relocating their medical clinic there. About a year ago, they acquired a tired 10,000 square foot cinder block retail center built in 1960. A complete interior and exterior overhaul of the property is nearly complete.
“My brother-in-law thought it was a good deal, so we pounced on it,” Charles McCurley said. McCurley's sister is married to San Antonio real estate broker Jason Adkison, a partner with Peloton Commercial Real Estate.
“Boerne’s south side is such a hotbed. Going north is a breath of fresh air. Things are more laid back,” McCurley said. “It actually may not take some of our patients any longer to get to us because they can stay on Interstate 10 longer.”
The McCurleys’ office will have twice the parking and nearly twice the interior space.
“It will be a lot more pleasant experience,” McCurley projected. “We will be able to handle our growing patient load more efficiently.”
McCurley remembers a time when it didn’t take much space to handle his patient count.
“We actually had one day in the beginning when we didn’t have a single patient. We sat around looking at each other and putting together office furniture.”
That was five years ago. Today, the practice boasts three MDs, two physician assistants and a number of front and back office personnel.
McCurley attributes his success to timing. Two primary care doctors were retiring about the time he and Wendy opened. He also credits old-fashioned networking. He volunteers frequently at school athletic events. And then there’s the three As of any successful practice: accessibility, affability and ability.
“In a town of this size and this character, you need to be excited to go to HEB and have someone grab you and ask you about their knee,” McCurley stated. “We are flattered, surprised and excited that every single day we see several new patients. We’ve built a good reputation and word spreads.”
He acknowledged that customer service is a challenge in healthcare.
“In medicine, if people are calling, there is something inherently wrong in their life. But no matter what kind of mood they’re in, we want them to feel loved and cared for.”
It’s a philosophy he shares with one of the tenants of his north side building: Foundation Physical Therapy. Foundation owner Christian Compean says that’s how patients should be treated.
“We don’t just treat symptoms,” he said. “We offer sustainable solutions.”
“Even though we’ve been located in Leon Springs until now, Boerne has been good to us,” he said. “Patients recognize that we have something different to offer. For one, we only hire fellowship-trained therapists.”
Foundation provides every patient with a full body evaluation. According to Compean, the location and the cause of someone’s pain are not always the same. Sometimes they are far removed.
“For example, low back pain might be caused by ankle inflexibility if someone is walking improperly,” he noted.
Like McCurley, Compean is bullish on Boerne’s North Main Street.
“North Main has good energy and room to grow. We’ve been happy there so far and are super-excited about what the next five years hold.”
The McCurleys’ third tenant is a restaurant user, Thunderbolt Tacos. A native of Corpus Christi, proprietor Cristopher Brown lived for more than two decades in central Mexico. There, he met his wife, Rosalía, who drew on her family recipes for Thunderbolt’s menu.
Thunderbolt offers central Mexico specialties such as al pastor (pork shoulder) and a sweet, dessert tamale made with raisins and brown sugar. All tamales are made in-house.
“We make everything fresh,” said Brown. “Our flour and corn tortillas are made right here everyday. Unlike some places, ours aren’t so thick and bulky.”
Brown should know his grains. He spent eighteen years in the grain business in Querétaro, Mexico. Even before he moved to Boerne, he knew he would be in the taco business. He is certainly not alone in Boerne.
Brown said his plans started on a gut feel but that he also conducted market research. Good traffic, good exposure and a unique theme (loteria cards cover Thunderbolt’s walls) composed his business recipe.
“Boerne is currently supporting three fried chicken franchises,” Brown noticed. “There are a lot more tacos being consumed than fried chicken. Anyone who has good food, good prices and good service will do well. There’s room in the market.”
McCurley likes his tenant mix.
“Foundation is one of the best physical therapy practices in this part of the state. Their outcomes are fantastic. Our sports medicine business and Foundation’s physical therapy will make for a good marriage. And everyone loves tacos.”
Foundation's Compean thinks his fellow tenant has as good of a shot as any taco shop.
“Variety is good,” he said. “Let the market decide. People will vote with their dollars.”
McCurley believes the destination aspect of his practice will ultimately drive visitors to the center.
“We’ve hit our stride as an office,” he explained. “If we were a water skier, we’re past the point of water pounding us in the face. We are out on the plane. We’re able to see more clearly now.”
He plans to keep it that way for a long time to come.
“I want to practice medicine until the day I drop dead, or until Wendy tells me I’m endangering lives,” Charles said with a chuckle.
McCurley is unmistakable about who gets the credit for his burgeoning practice.
“Jesus is the bedrock of my life,” he asserted. “Wendy is the bedrock of our practice.”