On a recent night, Rosa Olivar watched her husband, Juan Olivar, wrap a cardboard box with duct tape on the bed of their pickup truck. The couple’s three daughters – Magdalena, Jubilee, and Ari – sat on a tool box, their loud chatter competing with salsa music booming in a Bradenton shopping plaza.
The box later would be weighed inside El Chacharas, a store located at 3561 1st St. E. in Bradenton, and set aside for the long journey to Mexico.
The Olivar family is one of many in the local Mexican community that sends items to loved ones through parcel delivery companies. In Spanish, they’re known as paqueterías. The service is available throughout the year, but in December business heightens as local residents scramble to have packages delivered to their families and friends in Mexico in time for Christmas.
“This is only our second time doing it,” said Rosa, adding that the box was being sent to her mother-in-law in Toluca, which is about 40 miles outside Mexico City. “It’s clothes. Just necessary things.”
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“Baby stuff?” Magdalena asked excitedly, looking up at her mother.
Olivar, 30, said she and her family usually visit Mexico every year. In addition to clothes, the box they’re sending this year contains household appliances such as a blender and a panini press.
“My husband thought it was interesting because you can send a lot of things for a cheap price – something you can’t do via the post office or the USPS,” Olivar said. “There’s no other way to get stuff over there.”
They send anything they want, like old clothes, that they want for their family members or televisions that are too expensive over there ... tools, mattresses. Anything that pretty much they can send over there.
Ana Rangel, co-owner of El Chacharas in Bradenton
Ana Rangel, co-owner of El Chacharas, said customers send all kinds of items – even cars – through the service she and her husband, Luis Segura, provide. Segura is set to drive to Mexico this week with the latest round of boxes in tow.
“They send anything they want, like old clothes, that they want for their family members or televisions that are too expensive over there ... tools, mattresses,” the 27-year-old Rangel said. “Anything that pretty much they can send over there.”
On a recent Friday evening, a stack of large boxes was nestled in between rows of leather boots and Western shirts. When customers bring in their boxes, Rangel weighs them on a large scale beside the store counter. The scale is programmed to calculate the cost of delivery depending on where in Mexico the box will go. If a package is being delivered to Chiapas, a southern Mexican state bordering Guatemala, it will cost $3.75 per pound. If the package is stopping at the U.S.-Mexico border, it will be $2.25 per pound.
Esau Alarcon Segura, 60, paid for four boxes to be delivered to Mexico during this latest trip. The North Port resident said it’s not his first time using the service and that he’s very happy with it.
“I’m sending clothes for my mother and my sister, toys and presents for my nephews and nieces, and a few tools because I’m going on vacation and I need to repair my home and my mother’s home. I have more than 30 years living here and I need a break,” he said. “But most of all, it’s for my mother. My sister is sick from cancer and I’m going to spend time with them.”
Segura said the prices through these type of parcel delivery companies are reasonable and that the service is faster than other methods.
“I’m very happy to have found this service,” he said.