Category Archives: Chamber News

McAllen Chamber Innovation Grants – Changing Lives

McAllen Chamber of Commerce Innovation Grants is a program designed to encourage product innovation and venture creation in the McAllen trade area. Every year, the McAllen Chamber provides up to $50,000 in grant funding to McAllen innovators, allowing entrepreneurial pioneers to advance their groundbreaking ideas towards reality. Meet the grant winners whose ideas were the strongest, best presented and most potentially viable ideas. While most of the Valley population goes about its business working, sleeping and eating, there are individuals who delight in discovering new goods and services to offer the world – be it food, fun, or problem-solving ideas. McAllen Chamber Innovation Grants of 2015 highlight the variety offered. Be-live Deodorant Starting off the list is an all-natural deodorant. Alejandra Rabago was studying to become a Health Coach, which sent her searching for healthier options in eating and lifestyle habits. “I started paying more attention to my personal care…

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People You Should Know: Mike Hernandez, McAllen Parks & Recreation Director

Mike Hernandez was raised in the Valley and proud of it. Being part of a very large family is what ultimately brought Mike back to the Valley after he graduated from St. Edwards University in Austin. “I had found Mrs. Right and began asking myself questions,” Mike Hernandez, Director for the City of McAllen Parks and Recreation Department, said. “What if we decide to have a family? I want our kids to have the kind of life I had. There’s no better life than growing up in the Rio Grande Valley, getting to enjoy the outdoors and small town life.” Moving back to the Valley, he began his work in the media/communications field as a photographer for Britton’s Photography in McAllen. Working a multitude of events, learning his craft, his expertise with people was evident to his clients, one of which was Sunglo Fellowship. He was hired by Sunglo Fellowship to…

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12 Questions with McAllen Chamber Board Member Brian Godinez

BRIAN GODINEZ, CHIEF MARKETING OFFICER/PRINCIPAL, ERO A/E 1) What is your favorite book? I’d have to say To Kill A Mockingbird. 2) What is your favorite movie? To Kill A Mockingbird. It reminds me of growing up in Pharr, small town, just like the community in that movie. My father was an attorney; he was my Atticus. He had cases very similar, civil rights cases. It’s a perfect snapshot of my years that I can remember from the ages of 4 to 13. 3) What was your favorite vacation spot? Huatulco. It’s a part of the Mexican Riviera on the Pacific side. Spring of 1996, that’s where I proposed to Leigh Ann. Everything I love to do we did – fish, golf, party, drink, dance. On top of that, I won a grito contest! 4) What is your life’s motto? Connected Communities. It’s what I do. It’s what I live…

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On January 29, City of McAllen & McAllen Chamber to host Open Carry Law Seminar

The City of McAllen and the McAllen Chamber of Commerce will host a Texas Open Carry Law Seminar on Friday, January 29, at 8:30 a.m. at the McAllen Chamber of Commerce, 1200 Ash Ave. in McAllen.   During the 84th Legislative Session, new legislation passed that will affect handgun licensing in the state of Texas, and since the law became effective on January 1, there have been many questions from the community regarding the new open carry laws, in particular the authority of a person who is licensed to carry a handgun to openly carry a holstered handgun. In response to these questions the City and the Chamber have organized this informative seminar for the business community and any interested citizens who wish to get answers to some of their questions. Topics that will be covered: The eight requirements to be eligible for open carry Four things that must be completed…

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The McAllen Chamber of Commerce, United Way and Wells Fargo schedule the first 2016 session of Latina Hope on January 20th.

The McAllen Chamber of Commerce, United Way and Wells Fargo are joining forces to promote the creation and/or growth of micro-enterprises in the McAllen area. The LatinaHope Business Network is designed to facilitate the learning, networking and acting of Spanish speaking micro-entrepreneurs that have a new business idea or a small business and want to move their venture to a more tangible point. The program begins with basic workshops on finance, single entry bookkeeping, operational management, marketing and business plan development. Additionally, each session attendees will have the opportunity to learn at least two of the following skills: candle making, card making, jewelry making, knitting / crocheting / quilting, sewing and alterations, soap making, toy making, and wreath making. After attending the two trainings, participants will have the opportunity to prepare a project plan (basic business plan) and present their business idea from the to the LatinaHope judging panel. The…

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The McAllen Chamber of Commerce presents the Spring 2016 Lunch and Learn Business Seminars Series

The McAllen Chamber of Commerce presents the Spring 2016 Lunch and Learn Business Seminars Series McAllen – The McAllen Chamber of Commerce will be hosting the three presentations during its “Spring 2016 Lunch & Learn Business Seminar Series.” The first seminar entitled “: How to Organize your Records” is scheduled for February 16 and will be presented by Art Lopez, CPA and Crystal Solis, CPA at Burton McCumber & Cortez LLP. Learn current best practices regarding what tax and financial records should be kept by individuals and businesses and if and when it’s safe to destroy information. The second seminar entitled “Developing a Mindset to win as an Entrepreneur” is scheduled for March and will be presented by Chis’mere Mallard, “The Golden Voice of Motivation”. Chis’mere owns and manages CLS Devices, LLC, representing several multi-million dollar companies, as well as his own life-coaching and inspirational speaking company, Chis’mere Mallard, LLC.…

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McAllen, Tx Ranked #1 for 3rd consecutive Quarter in 2015 as the least expensive city to live in U.S.A.

McAllen, Tx Ranked #1 for 3rd consecutive Quarter in 2015 as the least expensive city to live in U.S.A. The Council for Community and Economic Research, a nonprofit group that provides information on local economic trends, recently compared the cost of living in 265 urban areas in the U.S. Based on the price of housing, utilities, grocery items, transportation, health care, and miscellaneous goods and services McAllen is the least expensive city for living in the U.S.A. The rankings were compiled based on the ACCRA Cost of Living Index produced by the Council for Community and Economic Research. Average in New York(Manhattan) NY to more than 20 percent below the national average in McAllen, TX. The Ten Most and Least Expensive Urban Areas in the Cost of Living Index (COLI) Third Quarter 2015 National Average for 265 Urban Areas = 100   Most Expensive   Least Expensive      …

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Save the Date, April 2, for the “Sizzling in the Tropics” BBQ Cook-off

Mark your calendars!  Join H-E-B and the McAllen Chamber of Commerce for the 5th annual “Sizzling in the Tropics” BBQ Cook-off competition on Saturday, April 2, the McAllen Chamber. The event is designed to help the Chamber underwrite programs in the arts, innovation, small business development and education. Thirty cooking teams will be cooking up delicious Ribs, Brisket, Pulled Pork, Chicken, Beans, and Pan de Campo for everyone to enjoy. The teams will also compete in Showmanship and for the People’s Choice Award. Other event sponsors include The Monitor, L&F Distributors – Budweiser and AEP Texas.  Tickets to attend will cost $15.00 per person for a wristband that will allow attendees to sample from all 30 cooking teams, and also includes beverages and live entertainment.  Kids 10 and under eat free! For more information, please contact Gerry Garcia at the Chamber at 682-2871.

The McAllen Chamber of Commerce concluded the fall Latina Hope program

The McAllen Chamber of Commerce, United Way and Wells Fargo joined forces to promote the creation and/or growth of micro-enterprises in the McAllen area. The LatinaHope Business Network is designed to facilitate the learning, networking and acting of Spanish speaking micro-entrepreneurs that have a new business idea or a small business and want to move their venture to a more tangible point. The program begins with basic workshops on finance; single entry bookkeeping, operational management, marketing and business plan development. Additionally, each session attendees will have the opportunity to learn at least two of the following skills: candle making, card making, jewelry making, knitting / crocheting / quilting, sewing and alterations, soap making, toy making, and wreath making. After attending the two trainings, participants had the opportunity to prepare a project plan (basic business plan) and present their business idea from the to the LatinaHope judging panel. On Wednesday December…

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People You Should Know

Debi Chavez Debi Lou Modeling & Debi Lou Productions Debi Chavez, owner of Debi Lou Modeling and Debi Lou Productions, sat behind her desk gazing at walls covered in pictures of beautiful faces. Smiling back at her were the women, all of whom were students of one of her companies. Especially prominent was a face now known around the Valley, Texas, and the entire U.S. – Ylianna Guerra, first runner-up in the most recent Miss USA pageant. Guerra began her career at Debi Lou Modeling. Moving to Debi Lou Productions when she decided to go into the pageant world, Debi’s companies have had contestants place in the Top 15 and Top 5 respectively of Miss Texas USA and Miss Texas Teen USA pageants. Her first history-making winner in 2011 was Danielle Doty from Harlingen, who won both Miss Texas Teen USA and Miss Teen USA. “I’m very proud because it’s…

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Business You Should Know

CPR – Cellphone Repair Most Repairs Done While You Wait Don’t let the name fool you. Along with phones, CPR Cell Phone Repair also fixes most other technology – laptops, iPods, iPads, Mp3 players, tablets, GPS devices, game systems – and it also buys and sells phones. Ruben Peña and his son, Ruben Peña IV, wanted a business they could run together. Working with Cesar Cepeda, they opened a CPR franchise in Centennial Plaza on Highway 83. “It’s the biggest franchise for cell phone repair in the states, with over 200 stores nationwide,” Ruben III said.  “We were voted number one in cell phone repair by Entrepreneur magazine for this year.” Obtaining training in Florida added to son Ruben’s expertise with his Computer Science degree. “I love this work. I’ve always liked helping people out, and this business actually helps people with their devices,” son Ruben said. “Having a phone…

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Amistad Wholesale Foral & Crafts

Bringing Events Life! When planning an event, and you want it to be special, where do you start? Where do you go? Amistad Wholesale Floral and Crafts, of course. Marcelino and Francisca Garcia started the business out of their living room 39 years ago. When it got to the point that it was threatening to take over the entire house, they took a leap of faith and opened Floreria la Amistad Wholesale. “My father had worked for a wholesale floral company for eight years, doing every part of the business as the right hand man,” said Sylvia Cantu, manager and one of the two Garcia daughters working at Amistad. When customers began asking him to open his own business because they didn’t like the way the owner did business or how the employees were treated, he decided to do it.” We were a small business but he had faith in…

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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.

“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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