Brownsville business owners see more customers as border welcomes visitors

Local News

Editor’s note: Interviews in this story were translated from Spanish to English

BROWNSVILLE, Texas (ValleyCentral) — Business owners in downtown Brownsville see the buzz of shoppers crossing from Matamoros as the holidays approach.

It has been over two weeks since non-essential travel was opened to fully vaccinated travelers, but some business owners said though business is picking up there are some things that have changed due to the pandemic.

“The items are not in the store and customers think we haven’t ordered them but in reality, many items have not been delivered,” said Erica Tirado, a manager of a holiday decoration store in downtown Brownsville.

Tirado said that though business has improved, there are some store items that have not returned to shelves due to supply chain and distribution issues.

“It is because there is no product, they don’t exist, or they discontinued the product,” said Tirado.

Another business owner, Lupita Urquieta, said that the foot traffic has increased and some new stores have opened though her business has seen a slight uptick in customers.

Credit: KVEO Iris Karami; Lupita Urquetia inside her store

Urquieta said that people mostly cross from Matamoros to shop because items are more affordable to buy in Brownsville.

“Yes, many people have come because the reality is that the things, we sell here I feel are re-sold in Mexico a little more expensive,” said Urquieta.

A vendor in Matamoros who was shopping in Brownsville on Wednesday said she agrees.

“People are coming here to shop more because everything is so expensive in Mexico right now,” said Silvia Lara. “I came to buy toys and second-hand clothing to sell.”

Urquieta said that though business is slowly returning to normal, many businesses had to shut their doors due to the pandemic.

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