WESLACO, RGV – Economic development leaders say new retail business will soon be making its way to the Mid-Valley as a result of a comprehensive study undertaken by the City of Weslaco.

Joey Treviño
Joey Treviño

Local consumers should begin seeing retail they have never seen before in the Mid-Valley, according to EDC director Joey Treviño.

“We are planning expansion of our retail activity,” Treviño told the Rio Grande Guardian when asked about what he foresees in the immediate future. “I think we are at a prime spot in the Mid-Valley to create that.”

The City of Weslaco has embarked on a new study being conducted by the Retail Coach, a market research and retail recruitment firm charged with formulating the plan to increase and retain business in the mid-Valley.

The firm will help Weslaco plan for anticipated growth and recruit those businesses that the area’s needs, Treviño said.

Retail Coach will conduct the study in two parts. The firm will begin by establishing a Retail Trade Area Determination, finding out which areas in Weslaco are attracting the most business. The second part will include a Retail Gap Analysis that will determine the goods and services consumers are leaving the city for.

Using data specific to Weslaco and national and regional site selectors’ criteria, the team will create a Retailer Match List, or businesses that would likely be successful and welcomed in Weslaco. Customized marketing packages will be sent to contacts with these national and regional brands and developers in hopes of recruiting them to Weslaco.

“The retail character is not only going to be helping attract new retail, they are here to expand and help expand existing retail opportunities with our existing retailers in the study,” Treviño said.

The community in Weslaco has welcomed a variety of new retail businesses, including Chick-Fil-A, Walmart Neighborhood Market, Motel 6 and TruFit Athletic Club. The city also plans to open its first Chipotle Mexican Grill and Dunkin’ Donuts by fall 2015.

“Our approach is very hands-on,” said Retail Coach Senior Vice President Aaron Farmer in a press release. “We want to get to know Weslaco as if we were a resident, so that when we recruit new retail, we know we are choosing brands that are the best fit for the community.”

Overall, sales tax in Weslaco is up nearly five percent from a year ago, according to figures from the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts. Data released on July 10 shows that the city generated more than $7 million for the first five months of the year, a 4.52 percent increase that is tops among all Valley cities. Only Pharr and Edinburg had a bigger percent increase in sales tax revenue; 9.2 percent and 6.19 percent respectively.

Sales tax helps pay for city services.

Collectively, all cities in Hidalgo County reported a total of more than $89 million in sales taxes for the first five months of 2015, a 3 percent increase over the same period last year. Cameron County did just slightly better percentage wise. Cameron County gained more than $40 million from January to May 2015, which is a 3.61 percent increase over 2014.