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Bookstore owner bringing Kingsville to life with podcast

By Althea Castro De La Mata

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    CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas (KRIS) — Historic downtown Kingsville is a place where Tom Difrancesca recently started his own podcast called ‘A Series of Crazy Conundrums’ in an effort to bring downtown Kingsville back to life.

Difrancesca instantly fell in love with downtown Kingsville, which is why he decided it would also be a perfect place for him to open his bookstore, The Novel Blend Bookstore, four years ago.

Kingsville is a city with its own unique small-town charm.

It is located approximately 45 miles of Corpus Christi, with a population of nearly 26,000 people.

This historic town has so many things to offer, but not many people see it this way.

“I have read study after study that when a downtown flourishes, the entire community flourishes, because it’s the heart of the community,” Difrancesca said.

“We have people who will come downtown maybe once a year, we even have people come in here and say ‘Did you just open?'” Difrancesca said. “(So) we will tell them we have been open for four years, and they’ll say ‘Oh well I haven’t been downtown in like six years.’”

Which is why Difranseca decided to recently start his own podcast called ‘A Series of Crazy Conundrums’, a podcast about fiction and mystery.

in his podcast, Difrancesca tells stories with real life downtown store owners but in a fictional, Twilight Zone story plot.

“I am describing downtown Kingsville, I am describing the business and the owner,” Difrancesca said.

“I am building up an interest for people, so that in that back of their head they might say, you know we go on vacation next year why don’t we drop down to Kingsville and check it out,” he said.

Difrancesca’s latest episode was a story on the pharmacy down the road called Harrel’s Kingsville Pharmacy, a pharmacy that has been opened for over 100 years.

Nick Harrel, the owner of the pharmacy, told KRIS 6 News that the podcast can benefit Kingsville by bringing downtown to life.

“Part of it you are educating people without even realizing, they are entertained, but they are getting history at the same time, so they will be able to know more about Kingsville,” Harrel said.

That is Difrancesca’s goal, to not only bring Kingsville back to life and promote small businesses, but to educate the people on the rich history downtown Kingsville holds.

“Having a global audience for the podcast, we make have someone from Europe come to visit Texas and maybe Kingsville will be on their bucket list,” he said.

You can find the Series of Conundrums on all podcast platforms.

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