In this community, your keychain can hold access to shopping after hours

The MRKT at the Montecillo apartment community is never closed to residents – even if no one is on duty. Instead, residents of this smart-growth community on El Paso’s West Side can use a special key fob to enter the bodega and shop after hours. The cashierless concept follows the technology innovation of vendors like Apple, Sam’s Club and Amazon Go that make it convenient for shoppers to use an app to scan their own purchases and bypass a checkout line. The scan-and-go shopping concept is slowly catching on across the U.S., but mainly only available through major companies and generally limited to large, digitally savy cities. Amazon operates its Amazon Go convenience stores in Seattle, Chicago and San Francisco.

El Paso’s new Whole Foods Market raises bar on local food choices

EL PASO – More than 1,000 people daily are shopping at the newly opened Whole Foods Market, supporting local vendors while enjoying organic foods not typically found in El Paso supermarkets. “Our first day open we expected to see a lot of people, but the amount of customers we’ve had has exceeded our expectations,” said Mark Heins, store manager. Whole Foods – founded in Austin in 1980 – has more than 460 stores worldwide and opened in El Paso on Oct. 19 in the heart of the West Side near Coronado High School at the corner of Mesa and Resler streets. “All in all we’ve been having great days, and not only was the public happy we were open but all the employee and management were happy we were open to finally see the El Paso community,” Heins said.

Downtown El Paso shops outfit quince celebrations with tradition and style

EL PASO – This border city’s downtown shopping district has become a flourishing quinceñera Mecca as girls turning 15 and their families flock to buy lavish party dresses and accessories to celebrate their transition into womanhood. Outfitting quinceañeras, one of the most important celebrations among Hispanics, has become a booming business here where 82 percent of the population is Hispanic. “Customers are very faithful to this location. There’s a lot of traffic coming from everywhere. There are even people coming from outside of Texas,” said Yuridia Villagran, co-owner of Imperial Real Boutique.

5 local boutiques where shoppers can find the ‘perfect’ spring dress in El Paso

One item every gal needs in her closet is the “perfect” spring dress that can be worn to any fabulous daytime event. And the more unique the better because, let’s face it, no one wants to walk into a social gathering wearing the same outfit as someone else. El Paso’s locally owned fashion boutiques offer saavy clothing shoppers unique options because they stock a very limited selection of styles created by designers you would not be likely to find anywhere else in town. Here are five local boutiques that are known for their exclusive inventory and have some great springtime fashion options. GAL
GAL is the newest high-end contemporary boutique to hit El Paso’s West Side.GAL shoppers love that the store resembles a New York showroom and provides a personal shopping experience for its customers.

‘Mexican Black Friday’ struggles to compete with U.S. deals in border towns

CD. JUAREZ– People gather in the electronics section of Walmart two weeks before Black Friday with their shopping carts still empty, going in circles among the store’s sales staff, who today wear red T-shirts announcing “the cheapest weekend of the year.”

As they tell shoppers that the price for the 60-inch flat-screen TV in front of them is the lowest they will ever see, someone with a microphone urges shoppers not to wait until Black Friday to do their Christmas shopping: “Forget about the long lines, ‘the good weekend’ is here.”

El Buen Fin, dubbed the Mexican Black Friday, took place from November 13 to November 16 this year. In past years, El Buen Fin has rung up to 197 billion pesos in sales, according to the Confederation of National Chambers of Commerce (Conacaco), This year was expected to bring in between four to eight percent more. While El Buen Fin has been successful in most parts in México since its inception in 2011, it hasn’t had the same success in border cities such as Cd. Juárez where shoppers have access to U.S. Black Friday sales.

Punk Rock night market creates fun showcase for alternative arts and crafts

Twice a month on the far east side of El Paso, an empty lot comes to life with Indie rock music wafting in the air as food trucks gather, and sales stands display glistening Day of the Dead skulls made from putty in white and black, with paintings of monsters lurking behind them. The Punk Rock Flea Market’s creator and organizer, Mia Valdez, said she got the idea of bringing to El Paso something of this sort after learning of a New Jersey horror market that sells horror and unique art. Valdez, a sculptor from El Paso, always thought there weren’t enough outlets for her to sell and promote her handmade putty skeletons. After researching the Web she found out there are punk rock markets all over the United States except in El Paso. “This is ridiculous,” said Valdez who was born in El Paso.

Shop brings second-hand chic to university area

EL PASO — Opening to a huge crowd here this summer, the first Uptown Cheapskate store in this area specializing in used clothing, shoes and accessories aims to bring affordable fashion to students, young professionals, and those simply looking for a great buy. According to owner Kevin Drennan the store opening on August 27 drew the third largest crowd in the history of Uptown Cheapskate store franchises, resale stores with a particular point of view. “The difference between thrift and resale is we’ll pay you cash for your clothes, whereas thrift will just take your items and don’t pay you anything for it. Consignment gives you fifty percent of the profit from an item after they sell it,” Drennan said. The first franchise of the company opened in 2009 in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Juarez shop specializes in antique, unique and artisan

The owner of  a unique boutique in Juarez, called Julia & Ernestina, is hoping that the store’s mix of U.S. collectibles, Mexican antiques and artisan crafts can keep shoppers south of the border. “Everyone runs to El Paso to buy things, leaving Ciudad Juarez at a disadvantage,” said store owner Monica Renee Morales Gallo. She believes that in order for Ciudad Juarez to rebound economically money has to be circulating in the city and not outside. Julia & Ernestina is filled with products made by artisans, designers and companies from different parts of the Mexican republic. It also carries collectibles and one-of-a-kind items.

“Julia & Ernestina is a new concept here in Ciudad Juarez,” Morales said.

Teacher trades time for big savings with extreme couponing

EL PASO – Every Sunday is like Christmas for Diana Lopez when she sorts through stacks of coupons and thinks about all the things she’ll be able give and receive. “I get very excited when it’s Sunday because it’s time to go shopping and save some money,” she said as she outlined her weekly routine that has saved her thousands of dollars over the years. Her day starts at her local Dollar Tree where she picks up the Sunday newspaper to find the coupons and sales at area stores. Lopez, 27, a special education teacher at Dolphin Terrace Elementary School, has been hooked on coupons since she was 24 years old, when she realized she was paying so much for clothes and food that she wasn’t able to build up much of a savings. “Many people think that using coupons is embarrassing and a waste of time but what if I my total was $112.64 and I ended up paying $19.02 with coupons?”
Using coupons has helped Lopez and her husband save enough to be able to afford a two-story house valued at more than $190,000.