Hello and greetings from the Mayor’s office, I am Mayor Bruno Lozano and I am honored to be invited to be a guest writer for this month’s newsletter. Small businesses are the heartbeat of any community. Mom and pop shops that fill city centers and walkable streets keep the vibrant feel of any community alive. It is especially true here in Del Rio. When I think of small businesses, I think of local tastes, influences, and friendly smiles. Supporting these businesses is supporting local entrepreneurs.
Entrepreneurs are visionaries. They fill in the niche that big corporate entities cannot, simply because the small business owner is in tune with local needs in small communities. Together mom and pop shops and corporate groups can work in tandem to enhance small communities. That is true here in Del Rio with both types of business models participating in local events, fundraising, and investments within the city.
It is important to recognize the diversity of business owners; from mom and pop shops to women owned and operated store fronts. Our community showcases the very fabric of fulfilling the American Dream. Anyone that commits time and effort to create or establish a business can succeed, especially if given the opportunity.
This is why it is important that the City of Del Rio supports small businesses by providing opportunities for entrepreneurs to create and establish businesses in the City. For example, in the downtown area the City of Del Rio has reinvigorated the façade grant program. During the COVID-19 pandemic, $200,000 has been awarded to assist local merchants during financial crisis through the Small Business Stimulus Program. There have been 52 local businesses awarded grants ranging from $2,500- $5,000. Of these grants, 25% were awarded to businesses within the downtown/Main Street area. These grants helped retain 54 jobs in the downtown area. The Small Business Stimulus Program is an example of how the City is committed to save up to 300 jobs locally during the pandemic crisis. The Mayor and City Council have also supported the Façade Grant Program which has issued 2 grants with numerous applications currently pending completion.
Nearly $10,000 has been invested in painting crosswalks and adding stop signs in the downtown area and beyond. We have revitalized the water fountain near Greenwood park in an effort to continue bringing life to this culturally unique and historical area of town. These efforts showcase the commitment that the City of Del Rio, Mayor and City Council have to the downtown area. Today, for example, there are thriving boutiques and shops at the Shops on Main, serving as the gateway to our downtown businesses. These shops benefit from the city’s infrastructural investment which can create a pedestrian friendly atmosphere.
Pre-COVID, a successful art walk held monthly lit up the streets of downtown for a festive, art-filled, and family-oriented outing. Another great example of local merchants and businesses coming together is the Little Market at Greenwood Park. I look forward to welcoming these festivities when the time is right, dependent on COVID-19 restrictions. In addition, the City of Del Rio has partnered with the Casa de la Cultura to paint the traffic control boxes in the downtown area. This encourages local artists to visually enhance and use their creativity as a form of expression, all the while promoting our community’s rich history and culture.
With many varying districts within the City of Del Rio, there is always room for a small new business to be established. I completely support and welcome entrepreneurs to vision a future Del Rio that continues to be vibrant, welcoming, and above all else the best place to live.