By Geena Martinez
FORT STOCKTON - A new program in Fort Stockton is actually paying businesses to clean up their stores.
"As you drive down, it's very dead and abandoned looking," restaurant owner Adonna Gonzalez, said. "Things needs to be painted and everything."
Gonzalez is talking about the east side of town in Fort Stockton. That's where her restaurant, Mi Casita, is located.
But business is picking up thanks in part to a new storefront improvement program.
"We partner with the business to improve their storefronts, to beautify, basically it's a beautification program," Economic Development Corporation Exec. Director, Doug May, said.
"It's a great opportunity for the businesses, especially on this side of town because if any side of town needs a little pick me up, it's this side of town," Gonzalez said.
The program is put on by the Economic Development Corporation.
It's based on jobs created and jobs retained, and depending on their qualifications, the EDC will help fund 50% of the business improvements.
"We wanted to help our existing business improve their competitive level to compete with new business," May said.
It's good news for Mi Casita.
In the past, the restaurant's entrance was close to the cash register and the kitchen, creating lines and a lot of congestion and sometimes even causing people to leave.
But Gonzalez spent about $15,000 to repaint the restaurant and build a waiting area.
She's waiting to be reimbursed for a portion of that but she's already seeing results.
"We're working a little bit more hours and then I hired two more people also to help us in the front because we're just a lot busier," Gonzalez said.
And that's exactly what the EDC is aiming for.
"The more money that a business generates, the more employees they have and the more sales tax revenue it produces for the city," May said.
May said Fort Stockton is a hub for traffic passing through on Interstate 10, making the storefront improvement program a win-win situation for everyone.