Hilda Peña remembers having to wake up early on Saturdays after a commercial for her Western wear business Botas Juarez aired on Spanish television. There would be a line by the time she and her husband, Miguel, got to the store.
The business has been open for 30 years, operating out of the same storefront on South Central Avenue for 27 of them. It has endured significant changes in the market over the years, including the rise in social media advertising and new online competition from Amazon.
Peña and her husband always try to be prepared for emergencies, but the pandemic hit like nothing they ever expected. The couple had to close their location in Mesa.
“We lost almost everything,” Peña, 62, said. “We tried to open a new store, but the rent was too expensive. At our age, it’s very difficult to open a new business.”