November 2, 2001


South Bay Businesses In Crisis Of Their Own Making!

You would think that South Bay busi-nessmen and their organizations would have learned by now that relying on cross border buyers as their principal source of revenue is a recipe for economic disaster. Is it so difficult to realize that if you place your business at the mercy of clients whose ability to come into this country is dependent upon the whims of the INS, the Border Patrol, Customs, the Justice Department, Congress and the President that there is a potential for disaster? Placing your business at the mercy of the prevailing economic, social and political situations of America and Mexico puts your business enterprise at considerable risk.

It is difficult to believe that the business communities of San Ysidro, Nestor, Imperial Beach, Chula Vista and Otay Mesa are unaware, on some level, of the risks involved in depending solely upon cross-border shoppers for their main source of revenue. They make little or no effort to lure American shoppers to their businesses. Suffering businessmen continuously lament the fact that they do not have customers from communities on the American side of the border. If they did, they could survive the problems caused by interrupted cross border travel. It will continue to be either feast or famine for South Bay businesses until they redo their business plans to include provisions that will enable them to survive when their Mexican shoppers are prevented from crossing the border. Unless they do this, they will always be at risk of going bankrupt.

A cursory look-see into the local media (print, radio, television), proves that there is little or no effort being made to entice American shoppers into these stores. Advertising in Tijuana, Rosarito Beach, or Ensenada doesn't cut it when the border is closed or crossing is curtailed. They ignore the buyers in Otay Lake, East Lake, Otay Mesa and their own communities within Chula Vista, Imperial Beach, San Ysidro, National City and San Diego. South Bay businesses have little or no fallback position on which they can rely. They are completely at the mercy of forces beyond their control.

Bankers, the SBA, and all financial entities that traditionally provide the funding for businesses, should insist that South Bay businesses have a marketing plan that goes beyond dependency upon cross border shoppers. To do otherwise allows the crises that surface every time Mexican shoppers are unable to cross into the U.S. to continue unabated.

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