Joseph P. Rodriguez realized a dream when he recently opened a wonderful gift, home décor, and ladies boutique store at 427 Peoples Street (corner of Peoples and Mesquite) in down town Corpus Christi. This unique store offers upscale folk art, shoes, dresses, handbags, furniture and dishware direct from Mexico. The storefront, of this corner location, is brightly painted and lined with many tropical plants. Inside you will find an ambiance enhanced with live parakeets and bolero style music. The atmosphere of the store closely resembles the shops found in colonial Mexico, and is inviting and enchanting. In Mexico, the zocalo is located in the town square where people congregate. They sit on park benches, stroll, listen to music, eat, drink and socialize. The idea of the El Zocalo name is synonymous with the efforts being made to encourage people to visit downtown and will hopefully serve as a catalyst for others to realize the potential of the downtown market. Joseph’s desire is for the business to grow and expand with the downtown.
Joseph came to the MicroLoan program from a referral from the U.S. Small Business Administration. Joseph worked with MicroLoan Program Manager, Molly Coyle Long, to secure financing for inventory expansion for his business. Mr. Rodriguez decided to try for a MicroLoan under the Innovative Bank Small Office Home Office (SOHO) program. Molly provided loan assistance, and a loan was approved in August 2004. Mr. Rodriguez directly buys his inventory down in Mexico. His fluent Spanish speaking, in addition to his International Business degree, have prepared him for success. He is driven, creative and has a passion for “El Zocalo” in Corpus.