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Calexico swap meet vendors continue to preserve despite COVID-19 hurdles

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CALEXICO, Calif. (KYMA, KECY)-Now that shopping centers in Imperial County can reopen, Calexico’s Indoor Swap Meet has opened its door to customers.

Vendors from the swap meet have been faced with trial after trial and have had to overcome countless obstacles to keep their livelihoods and their businesses intact.

But if the 2018 Santo Thomas fire didn’t take them down, neither would COVID-19.

“Obstacles are good because they make you stronger, and we have overcome a lot of things," said Miguel Rodriguez, Perfumeria Cristina.

Rodriquez and his family have had their business for over 35 years. They lost everything in the fire that ravaged through Santo Thomas 2 years ago, and now with the coronavirus, the business has been rough, but he says they’re pushing through.

“The day they told me that we were allowed to reopen, I was like yes, let’s go I’m ready to work," said Rodriguez.

Rodriquez says curbside pick up didn't go as expected.

“We came to the conclusion that it wasn't convenient for us. We have clients that like to come in and browse and see what they like. We found ourselves taking all these products outside to them and running back and forth inside. It just didn't work for us," said Rodriguez.

Like many businesses in Calexico, Rodriquez says Mexicali consumers are the backbone of his shop.

“There’s not a lot of people right now, but when the border restrictions get lifted, God willing we’re going to see some of the results of our labor," said Rodriguez.

We spoke to one man who says he lives in Mexicali and has the privilege of crossing the border every day for work.

“We're their consumers. I’ve been buying from them my entire life, over 20 years since they were at the swap meet. This is where I get good deals and I buy all my tools for work here," said Manuel Medina, client of 20+ years.

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Alexandra Rangel

Alexandra Rangel joined KSWT in March 2019 as a multimedia journalist.


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