This article originally appeared in the Friday June 14, 2019 issue of the Progress Times.
While most students spend their summer vacation resting after months of hard work at school, one incoming senior at McAllen ISD’s Lamar Academy is putting her business skills to use by accomplishing her dream of opening a store-all for a good cause.
Regina Daniella Martinez, 17, celebrated the grand opening of her store The Broadway Stop last Friday, June 7. The Stop is a clothing and accessory pop-up shop with products from a dozen local shops located at 311 S. Broadway Street located near the new location of the Sacred Heart Humanitarian Respite Center. The Center will donate a percentage of proceeds to purchase materials to be donated to the respite center.
With plans to major in business in college, and as president of her campuses International Business Internship Program-which sponsors a business in Nigeria, Martinez put her skills to use to open the shop.
She contacted her father who owns the building the shop is currently located at and contacted local artists to provide artwork for the shop, and the local businesses to provide items to sell in the store, ranging from accessories, pet products and clothing.
The artists, most of which were fellow classmates, provided “Instagram walls” where attendees can pose with walls decorated in Instagram-worthy murals.
Among the shops featured at The Broadway Stop are Shop 112, Love and Lemonade, In Style Accessories, Amri Soap and Maria Bonita Accessories — all local boutiques.
Martinez summarized her intentions with The Broadway Shop with three goals: To use the shop as a platform for students to show their artwork; to help immigrants who are crossing over and to help local shops.
“There’s a bunch of amazing students in my school who do amazing artwork and also local awesome artists, I wanted a place to give them a platform,” Martinez said. “A lot of them don’t have that. This is an interactive space for that. I wanted the local shops that provide all these amazing products to also have a space to showcase their work. They have that place here.”
11 classmates of Martinez are helping her with the store in a myriad of ways ranging from inventory to managing the shop.
Martinez said that most of the proceeds will be used to purchase educational materials for children in the respite center.
“It did not hit me until I volunteered how many of them were little kids and they all wanted to learn,” Martinez said. “The kids did not want to play; they wanted to learn how to speak, read and write English.”
Martinez said opening a store has been a dream for her and has spent years preparing for it.
Last year she attended a program at Harvard University though the Harvard Student Agencies and coordinated a Harvard Student Agencies Weekend Business Academy at her school where she promoted and marketed her campus to visitors from Harvard.
“So I have experience with marketing thanks to skills I’ve learned here and in the program which has helped me so much in opening up the store,’’ she said.
She admitted that she was nervous about the opening of her store due to the current political climate and how people would react if they found out the store was created to help the respite center.
“But it’s been a surprisingly positive reaction,” Martinez said. “What’s helping is that our goal is to help people and no matter what your political standing is, everyone can appreciate someone helping others out.”
The Broadway Stop is open Tuesdays to Fridays from 12 pm – 6 pm and Saturdays from 10 am – 2 p.m. The shop also caters activity days such as Taco Tuesdays, Father’s Day activities set for this weekend and more.
The Broadway Stop will close June 26 due to the amount of schoolwork Martinez and her classmates are expecting to have later this summer.
After completing her dream of opening her own shop, Martinez said she is ready to conquer her next dream: attending either New York University or Carnegie Mellon University in Pennsylvania to major in business.
For now though, Martinez is reveling in the impact her store is making.
“I want customers to leave the shop knowing that there are shops here that are worth shopping at that help make the Rio Grande Valley so amazing,” she said. “And that there’s always room to help.”