Firefighters who came to Merkel fight wild fires in 2011 and were stationed in Merkel brought a lot of business to local merchants.
"While they were in town our business doubled," Gill continues.
"They went to all four of our convenient stores in town which helped out a lot," Domingo Luna adds.
Both, Luna and Gill say their businesses have definitely seen a decrease since the firefighters left their city.
"We haven't picked back up. We still stay open during the noon hour but a lot of times we don't have anybody that comes in," says Gill.
Now several businesses are relying heavily on summer time travelers to make up for the loss.
Luna says, "Mostly everybody going on vacation and stuff has helped out a lot. You know people traveling in and out."
The firefighters are greatly missed by Merkel residents but they will never be forgotten.
Before they left they decided to leave a parting gift-the original Smokey the Bear.
"This is a 1966 model and normally when they're through with them, they get rid of them," says Gill.
In this case, the firefighters allowed Smokey to stay in a home, they had grown to love.
"They so appreciated us, that they thought we would be deserving of having ol Smokey spend the rest of his days here with us," says Gill.