Category Archives: Chamber News

Great attendance at the seminar on Business Growth: Efficiency vs. Effectiveness


Thanks to Oscar Apac from Core Concept Business Consulting, who presented a great seminar today as part of our Lunch and Learn Business Seminars. The title of his presentation was: “Business Growth: Efficiency vs. Effectiveness.” We had a great attendance at the seminar and we appreciate all the support from our local business people and entrepreneur.  Everybody enjoyed Oscar Apac’s presentation!!

Ray Wilkinson Iron & Metal, Inc.

Ray Wilkinson

“Above the Ground Miners” Aluminum, every kind of motor, iron, appliances, copper – the list goes on and on for these “above the ground miners.” “They used to call this type of business a junkyard. My grandfather Sheffield took tires and cow bones,” an enthusiastic Ray Wilkinson, owner, said. “Today, recycling is a big part of everybody’s life, trying to keep the environment clean. We recycle, make new things, and clean up the area.” Sheffield started the business in Laredo 80 years ago. Next, Ray’s father, Westbrook Chula, entered the family business after serving during WWII. Joining the firm, Ray and his two brothers made it a third-generation company. Starting their own yards – Ray in McAllen, Gary in Laredo and Jim in Brownsville – the brothers brought their sons into the fourth-generation business. When sons Bradley and Stuart joined the firm, Ray was ecstatic. Ray’s yard began in 1987.…

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TX Comptroller Glenn Hegar Addresses McAllen Leaders


Hegar’s speech was themed around Texas’ economy being well-diversified and its future, extremely bright. On its own, Texas is the eleventh largest economy in the entire world. Hegar mentioned that he is determined to conduct an in-depth analysis of economic indicators throughout the state that are specific to its various regions, such as South Texas, McAllen, Edinburg, Mission, rural areas, etc. The Texas Comptroller is critical to McAllen as the tax collector and funding estimator for the state. State-funded projects depend on the accuracy and calculation methodologies of this statewide office. Comptroller Hegar discussed his significant ties to McAllen and his commitment to expand business opportunity in our city. 

Livability: McAllen, TX 2016 Now Available

McAllen Magazine 2015

The McAllen Chamber of Commerce recently unveiled Livability: McAllen, Texas 2016, a print and digital program that promotes the area to newcomers, visitors and relocating businesses.  Stories highlight McAllen’s quality of life, business climate, attractions, restaurants and must-do activities. Articles focus on the city’s mosaic standpipe public arts project, which is transforming the local landscape;  the Chamber’s establishment of TechPlace, a collaboration area for local tech-minded entrepreneurs; as well as the expansion of McAllen-Miller International Airport. Other articles highlight the quality-of-place amenities that attract people to McAllen, including an innovative public school system, an expansive health care scene and an attractive business climate. Find more great content about McAllen on, a national website with information about more than 15,000 of America’s best places to live and visit. The website includes articles and photo galleries, maps, videos and demographic information. For a free digital version of the magazine optimized for iPads, tablets and other…

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People You Should Know – Rosy Villarreal

rosy villarreal2

Tres Dimensiones Ropa Usada, Inc. A confident Rosy Villarreal walked around the corner, dressed to the hilt, striding easily in four inch high heels, the hard concrete warehouse no match for this strong woman. Raised in a foster home in Mante, Tamaulipas, Mexico, she was the oldest of seven siblings. Becoming emotional when asked if she had been a fashionista all her life, Rosy described the one dress she had had and the harsh conditions in which she was raised. However, it quickly becomes apparent that the little girl didn’t let life’s roadblocks stop her. The woman sitting behind the desk was completely in charge of her empire of clothes, clothes and, yes, clothes. “When I was 17, I started working for another used clothing company, gained experience for 14 years and decided to open my own business with a partner,” Rosy said of her 27 year-old business. Named Tres…

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Customer Service Award Committee Chairman Debi Maqueda

For Those Going the Extra Mile Debi Maqueda Customer Service Awards Committee Chairman Singing to the customers is one of the joys for Consuelo, a waitress at Ponchos. One day Consuelo happened to be waiting on Marty Charles, Chamber Ambassador, and her mom who thought she was headed to the hospital because of the way she felt. All three were to learn a big lesson – never underestimate the power of a caring smile and touch. “Cheering up Marty’s mother with a song, patting her on the back and telling her she was going to be ok made all the difference to her mom,” said Debi Maqueda, Ambassador who heads up the new Customer Service Awards committee. “Marty’s mom walked out of there feeling refreshed and like a million dollars!” Knowing full well there are many more people doing their jobs, taking that extra step, lending an extra hand, in…

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McAllen High sending 4 mariachi vocalists to nationwide competition

4 Finalists 2015 MVE Vocal Competition

Four vocalists from McAllen High School have been named finalists for the 21st Annual Mariachi Vargas Extravaganza Best in the U.S. Vocal Competition. Only 22 high school students nationwide were selected from more than 250 entries submitted. “These four young ladies have been working hard the last couple of months preparing to record their songs and vocal submissions for the biggest mariachi soloist vocal competition in the nation,” McAllen High Mariachi Director Alex Trevino said. “We submitted their recording auditions on October 1 and we are excited to find out that all four of them advanced to the final round.” McAllen High earned the most spots of any high school. The judging panel included industry professionals, educators and university vocal professors. The vocal finals will be 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 21 at the Lila Cockrell Theatre in San Antonio. The judges consider vocal tone, technique, interpretation, stage…

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Congratulations to the 17 participants in the Good Pitch Competition October 22. In the words of judges, “Every idea pitched here today….should be fleshed out.” From among all the worthy presentations, the following pitch presentations were chosen as the 2015 winners. 1st – Samuel Shipp 2nd – Lamar Jones 3rd – David Sage-Olivares Good Pitch Competition 2015 1st Place Winner Samuel Shipp accepts his award from the Judges Aaron Gonzalez, Jacquelyn Michel, CEO  Steve Ahlenius, Matt, Kennedy and Ivan Gonzalez Vice President of Business Development. 2nd Place Lamar Jones         3rd Place David Sage-Olivares  

Business You Should Know: De Alba Bakery


Leo Lara, account executive, is passionate about De Alba Bakery. “Ever since I’ve been working here, we’ve seen a lot of changes with great things going on. I love working with people who have a passion and a cause,” he said. Grandma Garza started the business in 1959 with a tortilleria. Ready to call it quits in 1992, her daughter Dora and son-in-law Uriel De Alba convinced her they needed to fight for the business. Putting their hearts and souls into De Alba Bakery, they succeeded. Today there are four locations in McAllen, Mission, Pharr and Edinburg, with the De Alba’s daughter AnaBeth in the executive chair. “The parents and AnaBeth don’t do anything without the three of them getting together, synergizing and looking for the best overall interest.” Lara’s enthusiasm is obvious. “They started with just tortillas, then moved to pastries and mastered that. The owners are detailed oriented,…

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Meet the Santa Fe Steakhouse Chefs Preparing for a Night to Remember


This year, the Santa Fe Wine Classic is scheduled for Friday, October 16 at Quinta Mazatlan in McAllen and will feature hundreds of wines from around the world and delectable food from some of the best local restaurants in McAllen. Staring into the faces of the chefs behind the incredibly delicious food served at Santa Fe Steakhouse was riveting. Three of Santa Fe’s four chefs stared back at me as they sat with Sony Rego, the genius woman behind the success of the company’s three restaurants, Santa Fe Steakhouse. Republic of the Rio Grande and University Draft House in Edinburg. “We’re a success because I have a great team. If it wasn’t for them, we wouldn’t be able to do what we do,” she said. Mexico City born Chef Fernanda Leal began her life with food early. “It’s quite simple. My mom always liked to cook. Since I was a…

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People You Should Know: PODS Moving and Storage of the Rio Grande Valley


Like a precisely choreographed ballet, PODS (portable on demand storage) are delivered with a specially built truck. Podzilla, the unique concept delivery mechanism, breaks away from the main truck and maneuvers PODS carefully into position. Pick the size for the job, either an 8’x8’x7′, an 8’x12′ and/or an 8’x16′ and the waterproof container is put exactly where you choose, according to the dimensions. Packing the PODS is totally up to the customer, morning, noon or night. It’s all about convenience for the client. Believing in their product, PODS motto says it best: The Best Moving and Storage Idea Ever! PODS was created in 1995 by a man in Clearwater, Florida, who sold it in 2008 to a national company. CTC Distributing in Edinburg was looking for something to add to its warehouse/storage facilities, and acquired the PODS rights for Hidalgo and Cameron County, recently adding the Laredo area. “It’s the most convenient storage unit you can get,” Kelly Madden, president, PODS of the Rio Grande Valley, said. “It’s a little more expensive than a storage unit, but the convenience makes up for that. We pick it up, bring it…

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McAllen Chamber & Santa Fe Steakhouse to Award Scholarships to McAllen ISD Students


On Monday, June 1, the McAllen Chamber of Commerce and the Santa Fe Steakhouse will award fourteen $1,000 scholarships to graduates of McAllen High School, Memorial High School, Nikki Rowe High School and Achieve Early College High School. The students will be honored at a reception at the Santa Fe Steakhouse where they will receive their scholarship awards. The Chamber’s Education Initiatives Program is funded through the efforts of the Santa Fe Steakhouse Wine Classic, which has been held every year since 2009 to benefit the Chamber’s efforts in education and student advancement. This year, the Classic is scheduled for Friday, October 16 at Quinta Mazatlan in McAllen. This past year, through the Chamber’s Education Initiatives Program, the Chamber has awarded $1,500 to the UTPA alumni association, $1,000 to the Friends of the IB, $2,000 to the International Baccalaureate Program for its science lab, $1,500 to the McAllen Education Foundation,…

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LiftFund and City of McAllen to offer Business Loan Program


Apply for a Small Business Loan with Rates as Low as 0.0% LiftFund, a nonprofit organization, and the City of McAllen have formed a partnership to provide loans to small business owners who have limited access to capital from commercial sources.  Through this partnership, LiftFund can offer McAllen small business owners: Loans from $500 to $250,000 with a maximum loan term of 60 months Assistance available for startups and existing businesses in the City of McAllen A quick and easy application process A stable source of credit for your business The chance to establish or rebuild your credit history Apply now by calling 1-888-215-2373 or online at  Visit us at 220 N. 10th Street McAllen, TX  78501.

Site Profile – another great tool for Chamber members and entrepreneurs


Site Profile, another Great Tool for Chamber Members and Entrepreneurs. The McAllen Chamber of Commerce is pleased to offer a free tool to our Chamber Members and entrepreneurs that are considering expanding or growing in McAllen. SizeUp McAllen (, a free business intelligence tool designed to help all businesses grow. SizeUp McAllen shows businesses how to make more money, outperform their competition, and find the best places to advertise. The tool also provides many of the same demographic, industry, geographic, business, transportation, and cost-of-business data that large corporations use, but provides it at no cost, using powerful analytic search tools to enable all businesses to make smarter decisions. “Services such as SizeUp McAllen are most successful when they are implemented to leverage the maximum value for your organization” said Ivan Gonzalez , Vice President of Business Development and Governmental Affairs for the McAllen Chamber of Commerce. SizeUp provides three core…

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