SAN ANTONIO – A San Antonio small business owner says she can’t keep fighting the uptick of violent crime in her neighborhood and is being forced to close up shop.
Chamoy City Limits, located in the 400 block of West Hildebrand Avenue, has been the target of over a dozen break-ins and burglaries.
“It’s tough because I do like this neighborhood, but it’s just not working out, especially given all of the crime,” said Ana Fernandez, owner of Chamoy City Limits.
Fernandez, who has been at the location for three years, said her store has been a sitting duck for burglars. From February 2022 to the end of October, San Antonio police had 19 calls for service at Chamoy’s listed address of 447 W. Hildebrand Ave. These calls range from theft to burglary to a suspicious person report.
“There’s been about eight incidents. There’s been about 10 calls to SAPD related just in the strip mall alone,” said Fernandez. “I had gone like almost eight years in business with no incidents, and then one day, my generator is gone.”
“Somebody cracked the front window with a rock. They stole the air conditioner from the roof,” she continued. “A burglar came in in the middle of the night, cracked the door open, broke the glass and the door, stole the cash register. We’ve got kind of shady characters just throughout coming around and intimidating us at night.”
Fernandez said the increase in crime has coincided with neighboring businesses shutting down and Chamoy being the only store open at night.
“We’re just kind of sitting here in the middle of a dark neighborhood,” said Fernandez. “We don’t want to work after dark, so we had to close at 7 p.m., and now with the time change, we are closing at 6 p.m. That dramatically cuts into our business because we have the business to support it.”
Fernandez was also notified by city officials that no additional street lighting could be added to the area.
A spokesperson with the City of San Antonio said that particular stretch of W. Hildebrand already has all the street lighting it can have, and the lights are closer than what is required by the city code. The city cannot add more street lighting near railroad tracks.
“I think when we first moved in, everything seemed lively. We had Bob’s Burgers next door. The bar across the street was great. We had closure all around,” Fernandez said. “Bob’s closed, and then the subsequent business also closed within a year. Once that second business closed, we were just vacant. So we’re just kind of sitting here in the middle of a dark neighborhood.”
Fernandez has a food truck and catering business, so Chamoy City Limits will continue to operate, just not at that location. Fernandez said her lease expired on Oct. 31, but the landlords have given her until the end of November to move out.
“Essentially, when I signed my lease, I didn’t intend to rent a space in a vacant semi-abandoned strip mall, and that’s how it feels,” said Fernandez.