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‘Together We Rise:’ Local business on overcoming pandemic

The Phoenix Bookstore rises again, after COVID nearly put them out of business.
Published: Apr. 6, 2021 at 10:03 PM CDT
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LAREDO, Tex. (KGNS) - A local bookstore rises again, after COVID nearly put them out of business.

A phoenix rises from ashes after hardship. The namesake for the Phoenix Bookstore in downtown Laredo and the 136-year-old building it occupies reflects just that.

”When we walked into this building, that was what it felt like it was,” said Margarita Govea. “It was coming down on itself. The debris from it was here untouched for decades. When we started building it back up and cleaning the debris out, it felt very reminiscent of the name of the phoenix.”

Also reminiscent of how the owners Margarita Govea and Jose Cantu navigated the pandemic.

“When the pandemic hit, it pretty much knocked our business flat. It just got to the point it was like, you know what this is as far as it’s going to be able to go.”

They opened their doors December 28, 2019, just three months before the world shut its own doors due to COVID-19.

Like other businesses, they spread out tables and required masks, but they also got creative by offering and delivering book of the month boxes, which include other items from local artists.

”Book marks, and these are all locally made.”

By last June, they decided to close, not knowing if they would open again.

”We didn’t take any of the books off the shelves. Everything remained as it was because we were very hopeful that maybe we can just standby, let this whole phase of the pandemic go by, maybe we can reopen.”

Reopen they did, now operating on the weekends, selling both books and coffee… and following their motto “Together We Rise.”

The owners’ six-year-old daughter Alondra is happy about the reopening.

”I like it because it brings education to kids that can learn how to read.”

In addition to their weekend store hours, the Phoenix Bookstore hosts community events such as a bi-weekly markets where local vendors can showcase their homemade items to sell.

The next one will be April 17th.

To read more about The Phoenix Bookstore’s history and how they highlight LatinX authors, you can click here.

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