New Starbucks Adds To Growth Of Mercedes
It has been an active year for Starbucks in the Rio Grande Valley as the company has opened three new coffee shops along the Expressway 77/83 corridor.
San Juan and San Benito locations opened in the first quarter of 2023. Most recently, and perhaps most importantly from a regional strategic perspective, a new Starbucks store opened in Mercedes in early April. It filled a void the company had long sought to fill.
“We didn’t have a presence like this between Weslaco and Harlingen,’’ said Joe Castro, a Starbucks district director. “Being here in Mercedes at this location fills that spot.’’
`A Great Location’
The Starbucks opening was met with much fanfare during its April grand opening in Mercedes.
The local Chamber of Commerce and its president, Fred Gonzalez, provided a warm welcome as the organization always does for events in Mercedes. City Commissioner Jacob Howell spoke of the excitement the community feels in having a new Starbucks in the city and thanked the company for the jobs it’s providing. A brass section from Mercedes High School added a lively beat to the festivities.
Cesar Cid, the manager of the Mercedes Starbucks, spoke enthusiastically of opening a new store in the community and what it will add for the company in the Valley.
“We’re super excited to be in Mercedes and to provide the Starbucks experience for the community,’’ Cid said. “We’re going to create an inclusive atmosphere and make everyone feel welcome.’’
Like Castro, the district manager, Cid was delighted in saying the new Mercedes Starbucks provides a strategic “in-between location’’ in the midst of larger urban areas of Hidalgo and Cameron counties. There’s also the added element of the new store being located in close proximity to the Rio Grande Valley Premium Outlets, which also counts a Starbucks as a mall tenant. The new along-the-expressway location provides greater convenience for busy RGV commuters who can now make a quick Starbucks pit stop via quick roadway exits in Mercedes.
“It’s such a great location,’’ said Cid of the store he manages being in the heart of the Valley.
A Gathering Place
Beyond the convenience, Castro spoke of how fulfilling it is for Starbucks to open a new store in a smaller RGV community.
He described “the hustle-and-bustle’’ of larger cities where customers are often rushed and are more in-and-out type of patrons. There is sure to be some of that in Mercedes as well, but the more relaxed pace in a smaller community can be more conducive to customers meeting friends at a Starbucks and kicking back for coffee and conversation.
“For smaller communities,’ a Starbucks is a gathering place,’’ Castro said. “There are more spaces to do that in larger cities, but in a smaller town there’s fewer places to meet so we can be that place.’’
Some of the newer or remodeled Starbucks, such as the ones in Harlingen, are geared more for the drive-through or in-store pickup customer. The Starbucks in Mercedes offers all of that, of course, but it also has ample seating space with soft chairs, just the sort of place where a relaxing hour with a hot cup or an iced coffee can pass by too quickly before a day’s responsibilities set in or resume again.
It’s all part of the retail and restaurant growth Mercedes has seen in recent months with a new Chick-fil-A, Wendy’s and a large travel center nearing a grand opening – all along the expressway and near the new Starbucks. In town, on Texas Avenue, ground was broken recently on a new McDonald’s restaurant.
As Alberto Perez, the city manager of Mercedes put it, “business always attracts more business,’’ and it appears more is on of the way for the Queen City.