Mercedes Native Returns Home & Grows Her Business
Janie Rodriguez traded one Mid-Valley city for another – and found more business in Mercedes.
Rodriguez operated her events and catering company from Weslaco’s Villa De Cortez for 20 years. She enjoyed her years there, which also included operating a restaurant at the same site. Her time in Weslaco ended in 2018 when her lease was not renewed. Relocating her business turned out to be a blessing in disguise.
In June 2019, Rodriguez moved her business to her hometown – Mercedes – after a short stay in Donna. Today, Jose’s Cafecito Courtyard, with catering services also offered, operates out of two of the most historic buildings in Mercedes.
The First National Bank and the State Theater did business side-by-side for decades, opening in the 1920s, on Texas Avenue. One hundred years later, Rodriguez’s Cafecito hosts weddings, bridal showers, quinceaneras, corporate meetings, and other events in the same spaces once occupied by the old bank and movie house.
Rodriguez utilizes the adjoining spaces in offering an ample venue to host events with up to 250 people attending. A beautiful courtyard at the Cafecito is where movie-goers once sat to watch films of bygone eras. Elegantly adorned tables with overhead decorations dressing up occasions just right light up the night when the venue hosts a special occasion.
“We have a larger venue here than what we had in Weslaco,’’ she said. “We have more space so we can offer more packages and options.’’
The return to Mercedes has been personally rewarding for Rodriguez – and it’s grown her business.
Being more centrally located in the Rio Grande Valley has generated more business from the eastern half of the region, with an improved location for her company to better access the entire region with on-site catering, décor, and event planning.
“Before we would get business from that (eastern) side, but mainly just for catering,’’ Rodriguez said. “Now that we’re in Mercedes, people from Harlingen and San Benito are coming here to have events with us while we’ve kept our business from the McAllen area. Our customers followed us to Mercedes.’’
Rodriguez is a 1987 graduate of Mercedes High School. She is happy to be back home. Doing business in such historic local structures adds to the satisfaction she feels in being Mercedes based.
“I love it here,’’ said Rodriguez, who also offers wedding planner services. “It’s very meaningful to be in these (historic) buildings and making special memories for our customers.’’
- Ricardo D. Cavazos