Texas Border Business
Weslaco, Texas – Longtime business owners in charming Downtown Weslaco are staying open late and taking advantage of larger crowds brought in by the excitement and enthusiasm of the Alfresco Downtown Street Festival. The momentum from last year’s success was the result of a history setting number of vendors (80 plus) lining historic Texas Blvd. at the September Alfresco and hundreds of festival goers followed.
For businesses like Lionel’s Western Wear who typically close at 6:00 PM, staying open late was a “no brainer.” “I had never seen that many people outside my store front window,” says store owner Sandy O. Peña. “And when they started coming in my store, many were from other parts of the Valley.”
Nearly 40 downtown businesses between Bus. 83 and 6th street, a four-block stretch, rely on walk-in traffic to stay economically healthy and a growing number are extending their hours every third Thursday of the month in keeping with the Alfresco Street Festival’s schedule.
Some of the stores staying open late include: The Story Book Garden, Busy Bristles Art Studio, H & Kay Bakery Supplies, Krystal’s Unlimited, Lionel’s Western Wear, Dance Time – Dance & Cheer Supplies, Mimi’s Attic Antiques, Antiques & More, Jump Station, Vapecation Vape Lounge, Kaboom Comics & Collectibles, Edible Arrangements, and several hair salons.
“Downtown business owners sometimes have exceptional challenges,” says EDC Board Member Diana Fuentes Aguilar, “They can be a little off the beaten path and away from high traffic thoroughfares, but you can also find rare, specialty and unique items that you won’t find in the strip malls.”
The Economic Development Corporation of Weslaco funds and hosts the street festival. It is considered a quality of life event intended to allow area residents to have family fun, and accessible and affordable entertainment options. According to EDC Executive Director Marie McDermott, Alfresco broadens the exposure of downtown merchants and stimulates the curiosity of shoppers from other cities to visit Weslaco.
The event is also a tool to revitalizing the downtown economy, providing opportunities for entrepreneurs and letting the region of the Rio Grande Valley and its business community know that Weslaco, while strategically located in the center of the Valley, is a hot spot for business and a cool place to live.
For an extended list of stores staying open late downtown, contact the EDC office at 956-969-0838.