As city council members push for redevelopment across town, one member in particular is doing that with her personal business.
District 5 Councilwoman Shirley Gonzales dedicated her family's pawn shop business along West Commerce, encouraging other business leaders to do the same to revitalize the area.
Gonzales said it's been a long time in the making. Since 2009, Gonzales said she's worked toward opening the new Bill's Pawn and Jewelry, adjacent from the old location.
Now the 10,000 square foot building is a reality.
"I can tell people, developers, when they come in the city, 'I'm not asking you to do anything that I haven't already done myself,' " she said.
Gonzales received a loan from the Small Business Administration. City leaders say no incentive packages, loans or grants came from the city.
Gonzales said it's the type of hard work that must be done to reinvent the West Side. Private developers have done it with residential spaces, she said, as well as VIA and others.
"And those projects are all examples of infill projects that I think are really critical to the growth of this community but also they're difficult. It's hard and it's expensive and it's challenging but ultimately I think it's worth it," she said.
City Manager Sheryl Sculley, along with other council members, congratulated Gonzales on her efforts.
"We're really excited that we see this reinvestment in the west side. It demonstrates that it's possible and that there can be many successful businesses," Sculley said.
The grand re-opening comes on the heels of the city's new Café Commerce opening, helping small business owners find the money and resources they need to get started.