New shops create more retail sales here

HARLINGEN — The city saw some familiar ups and surprising dips in its retail sales, with major businesses opening or expanding while sales tax dollars rumbled like a roller coaster.

New businesses opening this year included a car dealership, a call center, a wine house, a salon and a café, and that’s just the beginning.

Bert Ogden Toyota Scion opened in August at 8721 W. Expressway 83. The 56,000-square-foot dealership immediately began doing a brisk business, selling more than 200 vehicles in the first month. The dealership had been located at 602 W. Jackson Ave. where it employed 55 people.

It opened at its new location with more than 100 employees, said General Manager Adrian Burone. There were plans to add another 150 employees in the near future.

Burone, a Brownsville native, appreciated the robust sales.

“People from all sides of Cameron and Hidalgo counties have given us support,” he said. “We’ve had a lot of people who have chosen to drive a little farther just to come to our service department because of the great job they do.”

The dealership sits on 10 acres. Burone says future plans include the development of another six acres for expansion.

Qualfon opened its doors in May with 147 employees. But the call center has the capacity to employ more than 600 people.

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