Main Street district welcomes new businesses downtown

Kimberly Rubio

Assistant Editor

Much is underway in downtown Uvalde, where construction is ongoing at Benson Guest House and the former Rexall, and new signage advertises public parking lots.

In addition, a hair salon, hair removal studio and three real estate agencies have recently decided to join the mix of downtown businesses.

Double K Real Estate occupies one unit of the Benson Guest House at 218 N. Getty St.

Riata Realty opened at 235 N. Getty St. in the latter part of 2018, and Encina Properties opened at 221 N. Getty St. in March of last year.

Licensed esthetician Araceli Castaneda recently opened her business at 315 N. Getty St.

Premium Cuts Hair Salon opened last month at 317 N. Getty St.

Another change includes the impending closure of Getty Street Market, which is expected to bid farewell to the historic Main Street district on Saturday, June 29. Until then, everything in the store is discounted.

“Each vendor will handle their own unsold items. Our unsold items will go into storage until we find another store to move into as vendors. So we want to sell as much as possible,” said a representative of Getty Street Marketplace.

Benson House

Krystyn Huffstutler-Reyes, owner of Double K Real Estate, and husband Eric Reyes purchased the Benson Guest House in December of 2018. Huffstutler-Reyes was in charge of selling the property after attorney Mickey Gerdes sold his law practice to attorney Charlie Downing.

The Reyeses later decided to purchase the building.

“The building’s history is really interesting. It was built in 1881, making it the oldest house in Uvalde. At the library, there are letters written by the Bensons to each other,” Huffstutler-Reyes said.

The couple was inspired to turn the historic building into a guest house after staying in an Aribnb while vacationing in Napa, California.

Construction at the Benson Guest House began in February and is expected to wrap up next month. The building has four entrances and includes a common area, three bedrooms, and an office space for Double K Real Estate.

Main Street Uvalde and the Uvalde Convention and Visitors Bureau awarded the couple a $5,000 matching grant for exterior paint. Main Street Uvalde district business owners are eligible to apply for the facade grant.

“We moved one window, did some work to the two fireplaces, moved walls, added bathrooms,” Huffstutler-Reyes said.

The property also features a courtyard.

Huffstutler-Reyes said one bedroom will have a king-size bed, while the second will feature a queen-size bed and pull-out sofa. The third bedroom will feature two double beds.

“Historic charm with modern conveniences,” Huffstutler-Reyes said of the guest house, noting that freelance interior designer Gay Morris assisted with decor.

Huffstutler-Reyes said each room has a specific design them including hacienda, Victorian, and modern.

The room featuring double beds is already on the Airbnb site with an availability date of July 15. Cost to rent is $110 per night.

Huffstutler-Reyes said clients can keep track of progress by visiting the Benson Guest House Facebook Page.

Rexall

When Rexall Drug Store closed its doors in 2016, it left a large void in downtown Uvalde, something new owners Charles Downing and Chad Foster hope to fill.

The duo purchases the 7,000 square-foot building in March of 2018. Drug-store Cowboys, LLC, is now divided into three sections. The space at the back of the building is occupied by the Law Office of Charles W. Downing.

A clothing store is expected to open within the next few weeks, and the business partners are still seeking a tenant to operate a soda fountain.

The building has received a complete renovation, including all new electrical and plumbing infrastructure and heating and air conditioning systems.

They received a $15,000 grant from Main Street Uvalde/Uvalde CVB for exterior glass and to construct an additional entrance.

“There were many motives to purchase this building, with the main being to bring back the soda fountain,” Downing said, noting that as a child he enjoyed Rexall’s popular lime freezes.

Foster said a separate cooking area has been constructed to allow more menu options. The pair also hope to keep the fountain’s original kitchen, which dates back to the 1940s, along with refurbishing the original bar stools.

Signage

In an effort to create more awareness about the abundance of downtown parking options, Main Street manager Susan Rios said the program has added signage to two public parking lots.

“We wanted the signs to reflect Uvalde’s charm and welcome locals and tourists to downtown,” Rios said. “Because of this, the standard blue and white “P” signs that most communities have [to designate parking] was not going to convey that welcoming effect. Luckily, we were able to locate a sign company that would allow us to create custom signage.”

One sign is located behind city hall, 101 E. Main St., and two are located next to St. Henry de Oso on East Nopal Street.

“This sign project may be a small one, but I feel it will have a big impact on downtown,” Rios said. “Projects like this one remind me of a quote I once read, ‘Unwavering incremental change can create remarkable and monumental results.’

“Main Street Uvalde strives to make positive incremental change that will create a better quality of life for the citizens of Uvalde, encourage individuals to preserve our historic buildings, and boost tourism and economic growth of downtown,” Rios said.

(The story does not continue beyond this line.)


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