In a few days, El Paso’s business has been revitalized with the reopening of borders

a step — In just five days from Reopening the border with MexicoIn downtown El Paso, businesses are already feeling the effects of Mexican shoppers.

On Monday, after nearly 20 months, international bridges reopened to fully vaccinated travelers from Mexico.

“Retail sales are up 75% this week,” said Julia Borgas, 64, owner of LX Perfumes, a perfume factory located two blocks from the Paso del Norte International Bridge.

Read also: Mexican cattle are traveling with CanSino or Sputnik to the US to vaccinate agains

As of March 2020 and while the restrictions were in place, Bourgas’ business faced many challenges. She said wholesale sales saved her, and she had to devise strategies so that her customers in Mexico could order from abroad.

“Between the good days and the bad days, but always fighting,” said Bourgas. “Now we are very happy because from eight in the morning we see the street full of people.”

Outside the scope of his work he hung a balloon with the flag of Mexico and two cards with the legend “Welcome to the countrymen“.

After nearly 20 months of silence and declining sales, El Paso Boulevard looks livelier and busier. Dozens of Mexican shoppers wait outside closed stores from 7:30 a.m. to be the first customers.

Read also: Long lines and waiting for proof of vaccination in Ciudad Juárez

Although less waiting time to cross into the US was reported during the week, Borjas stresses that it’s not because the Mexicans didn’t cross, as the biggest evidence of their uptick in sales.

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Leticia Topar, 56, is one of them. I have already crossed twice this week to go shopping.

“We were all worried, I was so happy to be able to pass,” Tobar said. “I got a visa three decades ago and the truth is I love El Paso.”

He added with a laugh that the waiting period he had to cross was 15 minutes, and that they only asked him for his visa and proof of vaccination. His journey was to purchase essential consumer products, Christmas gifts, and orders from people who could not cross.

“This time I came to give gifts to my grandchildren,” Tobar said.

Yesenia Urrutia, 20, the manager of the Sabroso store, said they have been selling more burritos since the border reopened. Your business has purchased more raw materials to prepare for this week’s increased demand.

Despite the relief that the return of their customers brings to some of these businesses, there is still some concern about reopening as well.

In the case of the Sabroso Shop, a restaurant that opens 22 hours a day and is located a few meters from the Paso del Norte international bridge, reopening the bridges also means preparing for a possible shortage of raw materials.

“We knew a lot of people from Juarez would come, and many of them were merchants, so there would be a shortage of things to sell,” said Yesenia Urrutia, 20, manager of the Sabroso store. “We buy a lot, a lot, a lot.”

So far, according to Urrutia, the investment was worth it, as the purchased product was used thanks to high sales.

“If we had ever sold 100 burritos a day, we would be selling 180 burrito right now,” Urrutia said.

Also in preparation for reopening, the restaurant has hired more staff. While the bridges were closed to tourists, the restaurant was operating with two people in the first shift and three in the second. They now have five and six, respectively.

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“As we buy more tortillas and cook more, we’re hiring more people so we don’t struggle,” Urrutia said.

Aileen Morales

"Beer nerd. Food fanatic. Alcohol scholar. Tv practitioner. Writer. Troublemaker. Falls down a lot."

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