SUNNYSIDE The weekend of Cinco de Mayo 2014 seemed like a good time to open a shop downtown.
Cinco de Mayo weekend always guarantees a crowd in the downtown area, a fact shop owner Maggie Alvarez counted on as she prepared to open a frozen yogurt shop.
But within days of the opening of Frio Frozen Yogurt Shop, the block where Alvarez located her shop near Sixth Street and Edison Avenue was torn up for a long planned street revitalization project.
For the first six months it was difficult for customers to access the shop’s South Sixth Street front door. Determined to stay open, Alvarez and her family weathered the summer of street construction and found a way to keep going.
Her frozen yogurt treats found a market and, as the business continued to grow, Alvarez added sandwiches for an increasingly large downtown lunch crowd.
Around the same time
Alvarez was preparing to open her specialty shop, a block away Maricela Mendoza was preparing to open Antojitos Michoacan, a shop specializing in popular confections from the Mexican providence of Michoacan.
Like Alvarez, the street construction of 2014 was difficult for the first-time business owner. But determined to make her business successful, Mendoza also weathered the construction and says business continued to improve.
Across the street from Antojitos Michoacan, A+ Pawn was opened last year by Tony Sandoval, who said he started slow but is building up nicely.
“I’m going to Seattle to get my merchandise every weekend,” he said. “But more people are coming in and finding me.”
He’s looking forward to 2016, which holds a lot of promise.
“The future looks good,” he said.
Alvarez said business last year improved as the year progressed. Looking forward, she believes 2016 will be even better.
“More people are discovering us” she said. “We now serve soup and sandwiches and the frozen yogurt business is going well.”
Mendoza is also doing well, with much of her business conducted in the afternoon as locals look for light lunches or snacks to get through the remainder of the day.
“The business is looking up,” Mendoza said. “I love my business.”
Both business women say the early months of their start-ups were difficult, but are positive that the future of their shops looks good.
Thanks to changes in city codes last year, Alvarez plans to add a couple of outside tables so her customers can enjoy their frozen yogurt outside, watching the world go by. Mendoza is also adding new treats to her menu.
“We’re happy we are still here,” said Alvarez.
Editors note: This is the fifth in a five-part series on new hope, new opportunities in the new year for Lower Valley communities and residents.