TIJUANA (Border Report) — Nauni says inflation has driven food prices way too high in her native Los Angeles, and that’s why she makes a two-hour drive to Tijuana every couple of weeks to buy groceries.
On this day, she came to buy food, candy for her children and a piñata.
“A piñata in Los Angeles costs $25; here it’s only 150 pesos ($7.50),” said Nauni. “Here, if you’re paying with dollars you get more for your money, over there no.”
Nauni is one of several people Border Report talked with at Mercado Hidalgo, a popular marketplace not too far from the border where the parking lot is filled with cars with California license plates.
“I’ve spoken to many families who come here to shop and they tell me they are saving a lot of money by coming here at this point in time,” said Francisco, who manages the mercado.
He says it’s not unusual to see more customers from north of the border on weekends, but the rise during the week has been a revelation.
“We’ve noticed a 20 to 30-percent rise in clients from the United States Monday through Friday,” he said.
Others like Miguel, who runs a stand selling Mexican candy and piñatas, said he has also noticed an increase in customers from north of the border.
“We’re seeing people who now prefer to come here instead of buying in Los Angeles because of the prices,” he said.
Cynthia, one Miguel’s customers who is from West Covina in the Los Angeles area, said she comes here for a simple reason.
“Everything is less expensive,” she said. “We can also go to dinner with the family and it’s cheaper, buying everything at this market is less expensive.”