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BROWNSVILLE, Texas – Businesses in most Rio Grande Valley cities depend on shoppers and tourists from across the border.

With the border closed to non-essential traffic during the pandemic, businesses have suffered huge financial losses.

“There is drop and we’ve seen the effect it’s had in our businesses,” Hector Zavala, owner of Main Street Deli said in Spanish, as he looked over the glass window of his downtown Brownsville restaurant.

Zavala, like many other business owners, has seen first-hand the effects the pandemic coupled with a closed border have had on profits for the past three months.

“We’re just trying to see what we can do to keep our business running,” Zavala added.

While Zavala’s business is slowly picking up traffic, that is not the case for many other small businesses who depend primarily on cross-border traffic. Now help is on the way.

“We were able to develop a certified workshop called, Get Digital,” Josh Mejia from the Brownsville Community Improvement Corporation said during a Zoom interview.

Mejia said businesses can benefit from a special workshop which provides resources and the necessary tools to help them sell their products, goods and services online.

“The community had a very real disconnect with technology and connectivity. That also hindered how quickly the businesses were able to maneuver so that they can supplement the loss, with some additional revenues that they could’ve captured if they were online. This is the result of that finding, being able to provide that workshop,” said Mejia.

Resources that could help small businesses like Zavala’s Main Street Deli succeed during tough times.

The program is available for up to 300 small businesses within Brownsville on a first come first served system

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