A familiar sight of summer can now be seen on the San Marcos River – the yellow tubes of the Lions Club.
The Lions Club Tube Rental started its season last weekend. Although COVID-19 still lingers, general manager Mark Jalufka expects more people to visit the tube rental this summer.
“We expect more business,” he said. “I think people are getting a lot more comfortable with COVID. And those people who didn’t go out last year are going to miss it after two years of not tubing.
Lions Club tubing rental began in the 1970s from a cattle truck with a portable air compressor and recycled automotive tubing, explains the San Marcos Lions Club. The rental started with 20-40 tubes and expanded to around 800-850 tubes. Tube rentals are the Lions Club’s primary fundraising arm, with 99.9 percent of profits going to the community, Jalufka said.
“There are a few other small events but I would say 99.9 per cent of the money the club as a whole makes over the year comes from tube rentals,” Jalufka said. “Now we are a non-profit organization, we give this money. So the more money we make from tube rentals, the more money we have to give back to the community and almost everything goes back to the community.
The Lions Club used the funds generated from the tube rental for scholarships and donations. Community organizations around San Marcos as well as Hays, Caldwell, and Guadalupe counties have received Lions Club funding through tube rentals, including the San Marcos River Foundation, the Hays-Caldwell Women’s Center, the Hays County Food Bank, San Marcos Summer in the Park, CASA of Central Texas, Gary Job Corps, Texas Lions Camp, and Habitat for Humanity, among many others.
At the start of the 2022 season, Jalufka said tube rental prices had increased slightly. A single tube rental is $18 with local discounts available for those living in San Marcos, Martindale, Reedville/Maxwell, Buda, Wimberley, Lockhart, Luling, Manchaca, Prairie Lea and Fentress on weekdays.
Jalufka said Lions Club Tube Rental is always striving to improve its services.
“I strongly believe that a business that doesn’t get better, gets worse, and so I think they’ll find they’ll get better service than they did in the past,” Jalufka said. “It’s definitely better service than four or five years ago. They will see an even better selection of items for sale in the tube store. We have two new buses. We haven’t painted them yet, adorned them with our tube rental logo and all, but that will come with time. The main thing is that they are newer, cleaner and nicer than some of the other buses we had.
Jalufka also added that new faces will also be seen around tube rentals this summer.
“We mostly hire high school and college students, except for the drivers, and some drivers are even graduate students,” Jalufka said. “But college students and high schoolers have a way to graduate and start a career, or go off to college, so we have a decent turnover. So new faces, mostly new faces. But one of the reasons we opened in May without advertising is that we want a few quiet weekends, or slower weekends, to allow these new employees to get used to their jobs before we let’s not be busy. And we’re about to get busy… Next weekend will be very busy – it’s Memorial Day weekend.
The Lions Club Subway Rental is open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. weekends only through May 31. Starting June 1 and running through August 22, the metro rental will be open seven days a week from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. — hours are extended. until 8 p.m. on Thursday. Tube rentals return to weekend openings from August 23 to September 23. 26.
With more tubers expected in the coming weeks, Jalufka reminds everyone to book ahead at tubesanmarcos.com.
“We need people to book and pay for their tubes in advance,” Jalufka said. “We found that [with tube reservations] we were able to provide much better service because we didn’t have those giant rushes in the middle of the day. So we ask everyone to book online in advance, and it will make their experience more enjoyable and easier and a bit cheaper than if they came to book it at the tube store. ncastillo