SAN BENITO, Texas (ValleyCentral) — San Benito residents and shop owners are hoping the downtown district will see a new era of business.
On Nov. 16 the San Benito Economic Development Corporation brought a recommendation to the city commission meeting asking the city to focus their rental subsidy and façade grant on downtown applicants only.
“Impacting that area will allow us to generate more sales tax dollars to be able to do more for the rest of the community, but in terms of demand outside of the downtown district, we do not have a high demand of applicants,” said Rebecca Castillo, the executive director of the EDC.
Place 1 Commissioner Rene Garcia was on board and said it could promote positive change city-wide.
“This would be detrimental to focusing, re-focusing on downtown, so we can get it cleaned up and revitalized and get businesses going,” said Garcia.
The downtown district is a mix of boarded-up businesses and small businesses, and one life-long resident and business owner said the EDC helped her through the pandemic.
“We were struggling of course because we weren’t having any customers, what the EDC did for me was it helped me to keep my shop open,” said Patricia Ramirez, co-owner of Las Tres Gallinas Mexican Shop in downtown San Benito.
Las Tres Gallinas is owned by three sisters who said their family members used to own stores in San Benito in the past. They said they hold the city close to their heart.
“It’s been a part of our lives we’ve been here since we were born and we love San Benito we just wish it would wake up again,” said Alma De la Fuente, co-owner and sister to Ramirez.
Their store is a vibrant addition in town with handmade gifts from everywhere in South America.
This family-owned store said they hope to see fewer boarded-up windows and more life in town soon.
“We’re very proud, we’re very proud people and we want to make San Benito proud also,” said Ramirez.