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Local small business market forced to close shop

Three days before the event to showcase local businesses, the coordinator of the market received an email from the City of Laredo saying their application was denied because of the hospitalization rate increasing.
Published: Nov. 30, 2020 at 10:15 PM CST
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LAREDO, Tex. (KGNS) - A market featuring dozens of local businesses has been shut down.

The Mercado Urbano opened shop just a few weeks ago to help local entrepreneurs sell in an open space.

A project meant to help local entrepreneurs sell items and help boost the local economy is no more.

The coordinator for Mercado Urbano says the ending to the event was shocking and devastating.

Earlier this month, less than 20 businesses lined up showcasing their art, food, and handmade crafts at “Mercado Urbano.”

After their first market event, the turnout led to 80 local businesses asking about the next events which were set to happen on November 22nd and December 6th.

Fifty vendors were looking forward to setting up a booth while thirty were on a waiting list.

“A lot of local vendors such as myself, we started from home, we don’t have money to pay rent at a location spot to try to grow, and I was given a platform for all the local small vendors,” said Kike Chapa.

But three days before the event, the coordinator of the market Kike Chapa received an email from the City of Laredo saying their application was denied because of the hospitalization rate increasing.

When we asked the city about why this event was shut down, city officials said it was based on a review.

But Chapa still has questions, saying they were complying with health protocols like temperature checks and designated walking routes.

“I want to postpone it.... I don’t know why the city is cancelling it when there’s a lot of clubs open. The pulga is open. You can go to a club right now with a mask and take it off inside.”

After letting the vendors know, Chapa says they were disappointed to have received the news on such short notice after preparations were made.

“It was upsetting to see everybody else do the handcrafts and create the products firsthand, and then maybe for the vendors that sell food it was hard to make the purchases in advance to make those hard sales,” said Andrew Mata, a fellow vendor.

For many, trying to make this event happen has come a long way.

“It was our fourth attempt trying to be a part of something Laredo needs.”

Chapa says Mercado Urbano is an opportunity for small businesses to thrive and he says he will continue to try to help local entrepreneurs, especially during this difficult time.

Chapa says he hope he’s allowed to open again once the hospitalization rate goes down.

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