San Benito shops ready to reopen for ‘retail-to-go’

Abbott's order offers ‘hope’ of lifting economic shutdown

San Benito to decide on bond package

SAN BENITO — Like David Garcia, business owners are gearing up to partially reopen their shops as part of Gov. Greg Abbott’s plan to begin lifting the state’s economic shutdown.

Last Friday, Abbott issued an order allowing “retail-to-go,” giving businesses the right to sell their merchandise via pick-up, delivery and mail order.

“This will help businesses to partially open and get active,” Rebeca Castillo, executive director of the city’s Economic Development Corporation, said. “Definitely, it will create an influx of revenue.”

However, Abbott’s order doesn’t allow customers to enter businesses.

“It’s exciting,” Garcia said as he planned to reopen part of his business Friday.

“If this is a soft start, it gives us a little more hope of seeing that normalcy is coming back,” he said.

New ‘hope’

Three years ago, Garcia and his wife Stacey started Vida Nueva Creations in their garage before opening their shop, where they offer woodwork, hand-made crafts and an art gallery.

For months, business was bustling.

Then last month, federal guidelines led to state and local orders calling for social distancing rules limiting gatherings.

“For any local business owner, it’s obviously been devastating — financially it’s been devastating for us all,” Garcia said. “We’re trying to hold on in here. I hope very soon to open our doors to see people coming in.”

Call for ‘business as usual’

At Main Street Boutique, owner Daniel Cortez said he plans to offer his boutique’s merchandise for curbside pickup Friday.

Meanwhile, Monday he reopened his shop’s Bistro section, offering deli sandwiches, salads and pasta dishes.

“We just have to get some business going again,” Cortez said. “That’s our livelihood. We’re just looking forward to getting back to business as usual.”

Working harder than ever

At Love Always Gifts, Shop & Eat, owner Lourdes Lucio is counting on reopening soon after Friday’s jump-start.

“Definitely we’re going to do it,” she said. “This was very, very hard. It’s great thinking we’re getting our normalcy back.”

Meanwhile, she’s working on sprucing up her shop.

“We’re trying to expand for when we completely reopen,” she said. “We’ve been working behind the scenes. I’m not going to waste my time. I’m going to use my time when my shop’s closed to improve my business.”

After she closed her shop March 14, she began offering on-line sales featuring jewelry and rustic home décor.

Meanwhile, she’s working with a business offering wholesale foods to help stock her deli.

“It’s small businesses helping each other,” she said. “Small businesses are the backbone of the America. If we worked hard before, we’ve got to work harder now.”

Abbott’s ‘retail-to-go’ plan

Last Friday, Abbott issued the order aimed at paving the way for the opening of the state’s economy.

“Texans are battling a colossal challenge — an invisible enemy that has tested our lives and our livelihoods — but overcoming challenges is part of who we are as Texans,” Abbott stated, stressing social distancing guidelines apply to his so-called “retail-to-go” plan.

More restaurants, car washes opening

Slowly, businesses appear to be opening.

On Monday, more restaurants opened, offering their dishes via drive-thru windows, curbside pick-up and delivery,

Last Friday, car washes began reopening as a result of Cameron County Judge Eddie Treviño Jr.’s order, City Manager Fred Bell stated.

“I know the local car washes that have automated and coin-operated bays are permitted to operate now and those in San Benito have done so,” he stated.

fdelvalle@valleystar.com