NOGALES, Ariz. (KGUN) — It's a ghost town in Downtown Nogales with only three to four stores open on Morley Avenue. Usually, during the holiday season, this street is filled with hundreds of people crossing from Sonora to Arizona to make their holiday purchases.
Shop after shop is showing off a new accessory— a lock. Some businesses even have signs letting customers know they won't be open for a while.
The Nogales- Santa Cruz County Chamber of Commerce explained the lack of cross-border travel has hit the border community hard.
“It's been very unpredictable and not having that influx of traffic come in and that influx of consumer database area it's definitely been something that we're seeing is a downward effect of course," said Alexis Kramer.
Sal Java, the owner of Nogales Tactical on Morely Ave, explained this isn't usually the case.
"Towards the end of the year, November [and] December, you can't find parking over here. It's really busy," said Sal Java. It's been kind of tough,[there's been] a lot of adjustments.
His business had to close and transition to phone and email orders at the beginning of the pandemic and then move in a safe in-person model months later. But since reopening his store, he said business has been steady.
Most of Java’s business comes from local law enforcement agencies,
The chamber explained the Santa Cruz County community has really come together to support local businesses.
Nickel's Diner in Rio Rico is another example of that. Owner Nick Rendon said he never thought his business would face the challenges that come with the pandemic.
Rendon opened his doors eight years ago and when the unexpected happened, he switched gears quickly adding his owner delivery service and a mask requirement.
"The community has been supporting us all 8 years this and it was our turn. At that time to support them with free delivery, you know, work as a team to keep everybody happy,” he said.
The businesses in Santa Cruz county ask the community to continue supporting them by shopping locally.