Nogales boasts a long history of entrepreneurship and mercantilism. The arrival of two railroads in 1882, the Mexican Revolution, the presence of the U.S. military, and the mining industry have all served as catalysts for the community’s growth in the early 1900s and its survival during the Great Depression.
Learn more about Nogales, Arizona’s commercial history at the Nogales Economic Development Foundation website.
The resilient pioneer families of Nogales—undaunted by the winds of change that continually swept through the area—built businesses that thrived on the local conditions and later endured through international trade opportunities. For the Nogales Border merchants, the market included not just Santa Cruz County, but all of northern Sonora as well.
Early Nogales merchants situated themselves as an integral part of the community, serving on the board of directors of many civic and charitable organizations, holding elected positions in local government, and serving on the local school boards. In fact, most of Nogales’ mayors and city council members have been border merchants at one time.
Many of the descendants of these families still live in the area and continue to cultivate the business legacies built by their grandfathers.