CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Nikki Riojas is the owner of the Made in Corpus Christi store. The store partners with around 30 local vendors and designers to sell locally sourced products.
When the pandemic started, Riojas was fortunate to be able to move all her business online, which allowed those vendors and designers to still sell their products.
“We were one of the luckier businesses, because we were already 100% online, so it’s easier for us to say, ‘okay we can’t have people in the store, but we can certainly drive traffic to the website,’” she said. “It was really amazing for us to be able to still have an outlet for people to sell.”
Last April, 'Visit Corpus Christi' reached out to Riojas about the Visit Corpus Christi Cares campaign, which would raise money for the local hospitality industry.
“They reached out to us, and they wanted to partner, and they wanted to do something to help promote small businesses, while also helping promote the community, and those who were affected,” Riojas said.
So, Made in Corpus Christi started selling “We ride this wave together” t-shirts as part of the campaign.
“It was a huge campaign, so we hired a local designer to create the artwork, we had them printed locally, we had all the different products created, manufactured, and then sold right here in the city. So, all that revenue stayed in town, as well as provided monetary support for their campaign,” Riojas said. “It was a great way to keep our machines running, keep our doors open, metaphorically, and keep the community involved. It was probably one of the biggest campaigns we’ve done so far, and we’re still continuing it even after a year.”
Riojas and her husband are transplants to the Coastal Bend. She is originally from Omaha, Nebraska, he is from West Texas, and they have lived in Corpus Christi for the last six-plus years. Riojas said she has always stressed the importance of supporting small businesses, and when they got here, they wanted to provide that support.
“We saw people that were really needing some pride in the city and the community, and we were able to provide that by using local sources, creating, and then of course providing the revenue that stays in the city as well,” she said.
While the last year has not been easy for many, Riojas said she is thankful for the support the community has showed her and her business.
“We’re thankful for all of the creatives who are here, and we want to keep them, we want to retain them, and we want to keep them in this environment. So, the more we can do to support that, the better,” she said.