From Texas Public Radio:
Colonias, some of the lowest-income communities in the nation, abound in the Rio Grande Valley. Residents often have to drive long distances for groceries and basic services.
But over time, colonia residents have overcome inaccessibility by starting businesses themselves. Residents say these small economies bolster their entire communities.
Bent Tree is a growing colonia that started in 2007 as a single row of houses. It’s on the rural side of the expressway, where the only chain stores are Dollar General, which have only recently appeared. But in the colonia, business is booming.
The colonia’s single entrance is flanked by a small row of cars for sale and a home that offers car washes and welding services. Nearby, vendors set up tents and sell a variety of food. On the weekends, they gather in front of the colonia, similar to a flea market.