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Opening of Texas-Mexico border boosts holiday retail in San Antonio

Retailers at North Star Mall are reporting sales equal to or higher than pre-pandemic levels.jpg
Brian Kirkpatrick
/
Texas Public Radio
Retailers at North Star Mall are reporting sales equal to or higher than pre-pandemic levels

Many retailers at one of San Antonio's busiest shopping centers report sales equal to or better than those before the COVID-19 pandemic began, according to its general manager.

"Retail is back," said Brenda Crawford, who oversees operations at North Star Mall, which is 60 years old. The mall is known for the 35-foot statue of boots resting by Loop 410, near McCullough Avenue.

Cars entering an entrance at North Star Mall on Wednesday.  A packed lot in front of Macy's can been seen in the distance.jpg
Brian Kirkpatrick
/
Texas Public Radio
Cars entering an entrance at North Star Mall on Wednesday. A packed parking lot in front of Macy's can been seen in the distance

Many San Antonians are flush with savings from spending all that time at home and/or receiving some federal COVID relief dollars. But Crawford said more than that, many are fully vaccinated and boostered and ready to get out of the house for their first real holiday shopping excursion since the pandemic began.

She said it's not just locals turning out; there are plenty of out-of-town shoppers flocking back to one of the city's best-known malls.

"The border is open from Mexico and so we are seeing those Mexican National tourists coming in and shopping," Crawford said. "And then also we are seeing the local U.S. tourists that are people getting out and doing a little a bit of traveling as well. People always like to purchase something special when their on vacation."

Crawford said this year, malls are a more appealing option for many shoppers due to a couple of problems associated with online shopping.

"Customers are able to come in and pick up their purchase and leave with it, there are absolutely no shipping delays because their able to take it with them," she said.

Crawford said the mall's merchants, more than 200 according to North Star's website, have not reported any major supply chain issues.

Children taking pictures with Santa Claus outside Macy's at North Star Mall on Wednesday.jpg
Brian Kirkpatrick
/
Texas Public Radio
Children taking pictures with Santa Claus outside Macy's at North Star Mall on Wednesday

She said the mall's sister shopping center, The Shops at La Cantera near Loop 1604 and La Cantera Parkway on the far Northwest Side, is also reporting brisk business.

Both are managed by Brookfield Properties.

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Brian Kirkpatrick can be reached at brian@tpr.org and on Twitter at @TPRBrian