Category Archives: Chamber News

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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McAllen announces largest holiday illuminated parade in Texas

McAllen’s biggest, brightest and most anticipated event of the holiday season will be held on Saturday, Dec. 6. City of McAllen leaders and parade sponsors hosted a press conference today at La Plaza Mall and unveiled details regarding the newly revamped McAllen Holiday Parade. This year the City has plans to grow it on an even bigger scale to match the City’s tremendous growth. La Plaza Mall will serve as a presenting sponsor for the parade. The City will partner with major event and parade production companies to produce the largest illuminated holiday parade in Texas. It will feature a large array of giant helium-filled balloons similar to those seen in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. It will also showcase decorated, colorful and illuminated parade floats including some from Blaine Kern Studios in New Orleans, the company that creates the magic of Mardi Gras. The floats that will be featured…

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McAllen Education Foundation honors grant recipients

McAllen Education Foundation honors grant recipients: Pictured are McAllen ISD teachers who received a grant from the McAllen Education Foundation Sept. 1. The grants include violin classes for elementary students, an outdoor science lab for high school students, solar-powered car kits and supplies to create a garden. The Foundation provided $24,250 to fund 12 grants which will benefit more than 3,000 students during the 2014-15 school year. Standing with the grant winners are MEF Executive Director Maricruz Abbott (far left) and McAllen ISD Assistant Superintendent for Instructional Services Rachel Arcaute (far right).

Ylianna Guerra of McAllen wins Miss Texas USA

Miss Ylianna Guerra from McAllen, Texas proudly represented the Rio Grande Valley and earned the title of Miss Texas USA 2015! This year’s pageant competition saw Miss Guerra as Miss Tropics of Texas USA, along with 113 young ladies from across the Lone Star State, competing for the crown on August 31 in Houston, Texas. In the pageant preliminaries she also earned the title of Miss Photogenic and was a Top 5 finalist in the Swimsuit division. Ylianna’s journey to Miss Texas USA began with her first pageant win where she was crowned Miss Rio Grande Valley 2011, she then went on to become Miss South Texas in 2013. Ylianna is currently a senior at The University of the Incarnate Word in San Antonio, Texas, majoring in Communications, where she is on the Dean’s List and a member of the National Society of Leadership & Success. Ylianna is the daughter…

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Kirk Clark to be honored at Collage: Legacy of Generosity

This year, the International Museum of Art & Science will be honoring Kirk Clark at the annual COLLAGE: LEGACY OF GENEROSITY. Kirk will be honored for contributing and enriching the community of the Rio Grande Valley, along with his lifetime of service to the International Museum of Art & Science. Saturday, September 27, 2014 6:00 p.m. to 12:00 a.m. Tickets can be purchased at the IMAS front desk or by calling 682-0123.

Chef Larry Delgado to represent Texas at Great American Seafood Cook-off

Lt. Governor Jay Dardenne and the Louisiana Seafood Promotion and Marketing Board are hosting the 11th annual Great American Seafood Cook-Off at 11:30 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 2, in New Orleans. Eighteen chefs from throughout the U.S. will compete for the highly coveted crown honoring the best seafood chef in the nation. The event will be held at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center and is open to the public. Tickets are $5 in advance at the Broad Street, Arabella Station, Veterans Memorial (Metairie) and Towne Center (Baton Rouge) Whole Foods locations, or $10 at the door. Many states hold their own cook-offs in spring and early summer to qualify chefs to compete in New Orleans. Participating chefs in this year’s event will represent Alabama, Alaska, Florida, Idaho, Indiana, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, Utah and Virginia. “I'm thrilled to…

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DHR named Top 82 Physician-Owned Hospitals to Know

Doctors Hospital at Renaissance (DHR) is pleased to announce it was named among Becker’s Hospital Review’s Top “82 Physician Owned Hospitals to Know.” The report, which was issued last month, highlights some of the highest performing hospitals that are partly or fully owned by physicians. In the United States, there are approximately 240 physician-owned hospitals. The 82 hospitals on Becker’s Hospital Review’s list have earned recognition from various reputable sources, including Truven Health Analytics, Healthgrades, The Joint Commission, Press Ganey and CareChex. They have also earned high scores from CMS' Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems survey. The Becker's Hospital Review editorial team chose hospitals for inclusion based on these accolades. As evidence of the success that led Doctors Hospital at Renaissance to be named among the Top “82 Physician-Owned Hospitals to Know,” DHR was ranked among U.S. News and World Reports “Best Hospitals” for 2013-2014, receiving high…

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McAllen Chamber gets 5-Star Accreditation from the U.S. Chamber

McALLEN—The McAllen Chamber of Commerce recently achieved a distinction shared with few other chambers across the country. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce gave its “5-Star Accreditation” to the McAllen Chamber, recognizing the local organization’s procedures, organization and community imprint, according to an April 4 news release. “This effort took over a year to complete and I am very proud of every person who made a significant contribution,” Steve Ahlenius, president and CEO of the McAllen Chamber, said in the release. “The McAllen Chamber is one of only seven chambers in the state of Texas to accomplish the five-star status – and we are very proud to be among the few.” Ahlenius said via email that the McAllen Chamber is among 81 across the country that have received the five-star distinction. “Accreditation validates a chamber as having programs that benefit their local economy and for positively influencing action in their community,”…

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Engaging McAllen

There’s much to be said for a community that keeps abreast of national and state issues and strives to bring new ideas, businesses, perpsectives and business models to the area. And that’s exactly what McAllen has been demonstrating via the overwhelming public support of the Newsmakers Breakfast Series, a partnership between the McAllen Chamber of Commerce and The Monitor, and sponsored by IBC Bank. We are pleased to announce that the series will feature U.S. Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-San Antonio, who will be interviewed for an hour by Monitor Editor Carlos Sanchez on Thursday at the McAllen Chamber building at 1200 Ash Ave. This is the fourth such event held at the McAllen Chamber since the Newsmaker series kicked off in October with Washington Post syndicated columnist Ruben Navarrette Jr. Other speakers have included former U.S. ambassador to Mexico Tony Garza. The events are unscripted and allow Sanchez to interview…

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Jim Laffoon steps into the role of president and chief executive officer at Security Service Federal Credit Union

 Jim Laffoon has been named president and chief executive officer (CEO) of Security Service Federal Credit Union (SSFCU) by the credit union’s Board of Directors. Since 2012, Laffoon has served as the credit union’s president. As president and CEO, Laffoon is responsible for day-to-day operations of the enterprise and strategic direction for SSFCU’s nearly 2,000 employees in Texas, Colorado and Utah. SSFCU’s former CEO, David E. Reynolds, retired in March.   Laffoon began his career with SSFCU in 1989 and steadily advanced into roles of increasing responsibility, serving as the credit union’s primary strategist, corporate planner, technologist and operations manager. He was named executive vice president and chief operating officer in 2002.  Laffoon earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration with an emphasis in finance from The University of Texas. Before joining SSFCU, he served as a senior consultant with Arthur Anderson and Co.  About Security Service Federal Credit Union Security…

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