CALEXICO, Calif. – The devaluation of the Mexican peso is making things tough for Calexico. It went from an exchange rate of twelve pesos to the dollar last year to the current of approximately seventeen pesos to the dollar. That’s a lot of lost buying power for the shopper coming across the border.
Devaluations of the currency south of the border are nothing new to Calexico’s business community, but it does make things very difficult.
Calexico council member Armando Real said, “Mexicali is our strength but at times like these it can also be our weakness. The peso has taken a jump from somewhere around twelve to almost sixteen – seventeen! The exchange rate is really hurting downtown. It’s really hurting all the commerce in Calexico and maybe Imperial Valley.”
Calexico businessman, Morris Reisin, agrees that current times are very challenging for everyone in business along the border.
“It’s going get tougher. It cannot get better as long as the peso keeps moving. We’re in trouble,” he said.
Robert Gronish of Garlan’s said that the devaluations of the peso come and go in cycles. He is not surprised, but that doesn’t take away or lessen the pain of the current economic situation.
He added that it will probably take about a year and a half for shoppers to get comfortable enough to start spending again in the way that Calexico is accustomed for their customers to do.
Reisin says that the problem is not that people are not crossing, but that they’re crossing for personal reasons – not to shop. He added that the solution lies in the approximate 40,000 Calexico residents.
“We need help from the 40,00 that live in Calexico that can help us on this,” he concluded.
Gronish refuses to be pessimistic, though.
“We’ve been through these devaluations many times before. We’ve been here for fifty-four years, we’re going to be here for another fifty-four,” he said with a smile.