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In the Era of Dollar Stores Comera Continues to Keep the Country Store Vibe Alive

Comera owner Henry Garza holds a sketch of the old-fashioned store. Photo: Tony Vindell/LFN

by Tony Vindell/LFN

Does anybody know what “Comera” means?

It has nothing to do with the Spanish verb comer (to eat in English).

It’s not a misspelled English word such as camera either.

Comera is actually the name of a mom-and-pop corner store located at North Stewart Place Road and FM 107.

According to its newest owner the store takes its name after its location as it’s halfway between the small communities of Combes and Primera.

The COM in Comera is for Combes and the ERA is for Primera.

“I was told there was hardly anything around here back in the old days,” said Henry Garza.

“It was all county land until somebody opened this place as a general service store.”

He said he bought the property 20 years ago becoming its second owner. A dream come true for him.

“When I was a lot younger I told my mom that, one day, I wanted to buy that place,” said the fifty year old.

“One day, I came back from working in construction Michigan and saw the store was for sale.”

Garza said he bought it on the same day his mom died.

“I kept everything in place,” he said, referring to all the signs from beer and soft drinks as well as its country-styled façade and decor.

“I wanted to keep it as rustic as it was.”

Garza says Comera was one of the few places to shop for goods for hundreds of farm workers brought to this country under the Bracero Program of 1942.

“There is was a public telephone booth outside the store which they used to make calls to Mexico,” he said.

“You have to remember, there no convenience stores like the ones we have all over the area these days.”

These days Comera is a place to grab a homemade burger or brisket sandwich as well as a few other provisions like Mexican candies, spices and cold drinks.

Judging by the types of vehicles parked outside the country-style joint, it has become a popular eatery for troopers with the Texas Department of Public Safety as well as locals.

Garza said he wants to keep Comera open as long as he can.

Unfortunately he says the advent of so-called “dollar stores” has been taking a toll on his business.

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