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The book isn’t closed on Laredo’s quest for a city bookstore

LatinaLista — There may yet be a happy ending to the city of Laredo’s quest to have a bookstore in their town.


If you remember, the town lost their last bookstore, B. Dalton, when the national chain felt they needed to take their retail concept in another direction that didn’t fit with Laredo, for some reason.

Since then, the community has rallied together to try to attract a bookstore to come to the city — but they didn’t have to look far. Laredo-born Mary Benavides, had been a longtime B. Dalton employee (over 30 years) and when her former employer left her without a job and the town without a bookstore, she knew what she had to do.

She put together a business plan for a new bookstore to be called Laredo Books & More and has been busily trying to raise the money to go into business.

One source of money is from the Pepsi Refresh Challenge where Pepsi awards money ranging from $5,000-$250,000 to the top two ideas in each of their six categories that get the most votes from the public.

Benavides entered Laredo Books & More in the last Pepsi Challenge but came in 62nd place. In any other contest, the book would have been closed on anymore chances to win the money — but not this story.

According to the rules, all those ideas that were in the top 100 have an additional month to try to win. So, the city of Laredo is back in the running to win $250,000 to open the only bookstore in town, but they need votes.

To vote online, visit and, click on the Vote For This Idea button, and follow the short menu to submit your vote. Votes can also be sent by mobile phone. Text 101933 to PEPSI (73774); standard messaging rates apply. Supporters of Laredo Books & More can vote once per day, via each option, until September 30.

There’s another contest that Laredo Books & More is entered into that has a prize of $30,000 and also requires votes — Love a Local Business.

Log on to, and select the I’m a Fan of a Local Business icon, and on the map, find the heart that reads Laredo Books & More. Click on the icon, and follow the short menu to sign up and vote. Vote everyday to help raise the profile of this business so that it may also win this award.

As Benavides said in her application to the Pepsi Challenge:

If Laredo had a general bookstore its community would not have to travel 250 miles to purchase their reading material, much less having to go online due to the cost of the travel. That a bookstore exists means education is at hand, providing words, passages, and thoughts to build a better future. A community without books is one without a soul. Purchasing a book means it’s yours. A library book does not belong to you. There is a difference.

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