Mothers’ Day came to the rescue of a moribund restaurant industry in Tijuana last weekend. Revenues doubled, according to César Escandón, the president of the local restaurant association.
Some eateries in the Distrito Gastronómico had lines of diners extending into the streets. (Mothers’ Day is to Mexico what Cinco de Mayo is to the U.S.A., a holiday born elsewhere but taken seriously by its adoptive country.)
Such an influx of diners has not been seen for several years. Although some of the customers were from the U.S. (visiting family relations in TJ), the majority of the business boom came from the locals, who must have felt that public safety was secure enough for a day on the town.
Other traditional Mothers’ Day purchases — such as purses, watches, jewelry, stuffed toys, flowers, cards, and balloons — did not enjoy an uptick in sales in the traditional retail outlets. (Some cracker-barrel analysts claim that the “informal” economy of street vendors has cut into the sales and profits of local merchants who operate stores.)
A gift-shop owner who was interviewed said that sales had been dropping steadily for the past three years, but blamed the decline on increased taxes and regulations imposed by the government on shopkeepers.