Category Archives: Chamber News

13 Questions with McAllen Chamber Board Member Nora Shah


1) What is your favorite book? Gone with the Wind.  I’ve read it and seen the movie several times. 2) What is your favorite movie? I watch so many movies. I love funny or action movies like “The Proposal” and “The Fugitive.” 3) What was your favorite vacation spot? Paris is one. It’s so romantic. It’s old and I like the history. In Europe you see a lot of that. I love to see the old buildings and think how it was in the past. 4) What is your life’s  motto? I’ve been going through life doing what’s best and learning from people who inspire me. I love to learn. We never stop learning. 5) Where were you born? Brownsville, Texas 6) What was a life-changing event in your life? Having my four children and opening the business, I’m always dedicated to that. It keeps me changing, it keeps me focused. 7)…

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Passion for the Chamber Leads to Bob Goodwin Awards


Four Chamber members have been awarded the Bob Goodwin Award after having sold over $10,000 worth of memberships. “I worked at the Chamber as the Membership Director for five years in the ‘80s,” said award winner Francy Jones, Public Relations and Marketing Director for Castle Hospitality, LTD. “I had the pleasure to work side by side with Bob Goodwin. He was an Ambassador along with Alida Hernandez and Dora Brown, and many others. They were always competing with each other to get more members,” she continued. Bob was a unique individual, a handsome man always in a suit with one of his great ties! He would go to every ribbon cutting and almost every opening. Bob was the face of the McAllen Chamber of Commerce. It means a lot to me to win this since I knew him personally.” Winning this was no easy feat and came as a surprise…

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Public Art – A Reflection of our Humanity


The Clarks Donate the  stainless Gatekeeper, a sculpture by Tobolowsky Art is a part of Clark’s soul, and has been since he was very young. Selling his first painting for $400 at 10 years of age was the start of his career in the colorful, captivating world of art. “I was a sculpture and drawing major at the University of New Mexico,” Kirk began. “I was a ‘found object’ guy using automotive found objects-bumpers, fenders and things like that. I used to go to junkyards, eyeing these giant mounds of steel and stand next to the crane operator who moved the pile from one side to another. “‘Stop, stop, stop!’ I’d yell, and run up the pile of metal, which would have probably cut my leg off if I had fallen, and pick up some odd piece I’d seen unveiled. “What the heck are you going to do with these pieces of…

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The Romero Group – Where the sales are happening!


ROMERO GROUP  3901 North Jackson Road McAllen Texas 78501 USA  TO SELL OR NOT TO SELL? IS THE ADVERTISING QUESTION  Romero Group an international ad firm, just opened an office at The Monitor managed by Mr. Joseph Romero de Velasco Sr. Creative Director who hails from Dallas where he opened the agency with Larkin, Meeder & Schweidel, a spring child from GSD&M, Austin in 1993. “Our objective here is to expand sales to the local businesses via innovative technologies and ideas including shopping and investments from Mexico.” Said Mr. Romero a former mad man at Campbell Mithun – Esty in Minneapolis. After winning the 3M Thinsulate account vs. BBD&O, moved to Dallas where Romero Group assisted his client Ford Motor Credit (Associates Financial Services) develop a joint venture with the Puerto Rico’s government with an ad campaign to promote Puerto Rico’s Olympians such as former boxing champion Daniel Santos. “Joseph’s…

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Chamber Member in the News: LaserLux Team Welcomes New Owners


Welcome to the LaserLux Team!! New owners, Cruz and Laura Lopez, want to Thank Our Valued Clients, for their support during our transition in ownership this year. As Richard Salinas writes the next chapter in his “Book of Life,” we pray for many blessings in his new adventures and want to express our gratitude for the many opportunities he has given the LaserLux family. Cruz and Laura are excited to work with the LaserLux Team, and continue to offer the same Excellent Service and Products to all LaserLux Clients for the last 27 years. Please join us in welcoming the Lopez family to LaserLux and the Rio Grande Valley. The first day of school is just around the corner. Do you need a few more calendars to get you through 2016? Come by and pick up your 2016 calendar and meet the Lopez family. Open to the Public  Monday-Friday  8:00am-5:00pm 2000…

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Lift Your Spirits Balloon Decor Earns Certified Balloon Artist Status


Nilda Paxman of LIFT YOUR SPIRITS Balloon Decorators in McAllen, TX recently earned Certified Balloon Artist (CBA®) status. Nilda is one of a select group of balloon professionals who successfully completed a series of tests, including oral and practical examinations. The certification was administered by the Qualatex Balloon NetworkSM (QBN®), a professional organization dedicated to the pursuit of excellence in balloon decor and bouquets. There are currently less than 3,000 Certified Balloon Artist professionals worldwide. To order or discuss possible balloon décor for your next event, call Nilda at LIFT YOUR SPIRITS, 956-467-1922. They offer all occasion balloon décor for your various events such as: quinceañeras, birthday parties, bat & bar mitzvahs, school events, business events like ribbon cuttings and grand openings.

People You Should Know – Veronica Whitacre, Comfort House Services


Nestled in a quiet neighborhood in the middle of McAllen is a wondrous place where God’s love is felt in abundance. Comfort House is a 10-bed Palliative Care Facility established by Sister Marian Strohmeyer as a ministry to the dying in 1989. “Sister Strohmeyer’s mission was to run Comfort House on God’s blessings, which meant by monetary donations alone,” said McAllen City Commissioner and new Administrator Veronica Whitacre. That is exactly what has happened with this facility for those in need of a quiet place to let go of life. Fundraisers are a part of what makes it possible – the February Walkathon, May’s Pretty in Pearl Luncheon & Styleshow, September’s Poker Tournament, November’s evening dinner, and the upcoming July 16th event, Summer Barbeque and Market Days are all organized to support Comfort House. Otherwise it’s the community that lends its support, along with United Way Services, foundations, and donors.…

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The McAllen ISD Lamar Academy International Baccalaureate Diploma (IB) Programme offers the diploma to students who want to develop and demonstrate their scholastic intensity through accomplishments in six academic subjects.  IB at Lamar is globally ranked, boasting a 98% diploma completion rate against an 80% worldwide average.  At Lamar Academy, students receive support through the development of approaches to learning, and they engage in rigorous courses and take academic risks in developing research, writing, and communication skills.  Although the IB curriculum offers a more humanistic and integrated vision of education, it is still rooted fundamentally in helping students develop expertise in the conventional academic disciplines and the arts.  IB integrates the curriculum around problems or project-based investigations, which lead to authentic learning that can bridge across all disciplines, including Medicinal Chemistry, Molecular Biology, Developmental Psychology, and Mathematical Explorations, among others. Different from other programs, IB does not rely only on…

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Business You Should Know – Mail-Pak Your Box Store


Need shoes, a Christmas tree, or perhaps a TV with a surround sound system you sold on Craig’s list packaged and shipped? Where do you go to be sure the item is properly packed and safely shipped? Mail-Pak Your Box Store, offers just those services. Owner Ray Norton, a former executive, stays current with the trends in shipping stores. Offering a variety of services such as year round gift-wrapping, the rentalof private mail boxes, packaging, boxes, and shipping, he’s recently added new services. “The traditional mail and parcel center stores are becoming a thing of the past,” Norton said. “In order for us to continue to flourish, we continue to add other services.” Norton said. Norton listens to his customers and follows popular trends covered by Retail Shipping Associates, the industry organization he belongs to. He recently installed FotoZoomer, for instance, which prints color pictures, banners, posters, signs, and calendars…

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Chamber Member in the News! Carats’ Simple Strategy: Make It Special For Everyone


McAllen, TX—It’s all about the customers. While that is a common saying among better jewelers, Carlos Melguizo and Saul Sanchez, co-owners of Carats * Jewels * Living * Gifts, have implemented some fairly rigorous inventory changes to keep Carats customers interested and returning—often. “So many things were changing,” said Melguizo, recalling the market conditions of 2012-13. “Prices were changing and we had been focusing on the high end. We wanted to continue offering some everyday items as well. We added niche perfumes, high-end crystal, fancy candles and $30 – $40 perfect gift ideas. We do a fancy giftwrap on all these, wrapped to the max, in the same style as our high-end items. People know when they get the box/bag, that they are getting the Carats brand. Whatever they pick will be a unique gift.” And is that new merchandise segment growing? “Tremendously,” says Melguizo. “We think of it like…

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McAllen Chamber to hold Business Seminar on the DOL’s New Overtime Exemption Regulations

Glass - Valorie

The Department of Labor’s new overtime exemption regulations will go into effect on December 1, 2016, giving employers less than six months to prepare. The DOL has raised the salary threshold for exemption eligibility to $47,476 per year.  What will this mean for your business?  The McAllen Chamber of Commerce will hold a seminar entitled, “Making Sense of the Department of Labor’s New Exemption Rules” on Friday, July 8 from 8:00 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. at the McAllen Chamber of Commerce.  Labor and employment attorney, Valorie C. Glass with the firm of Atlas Hall & Rodriguez, will conduct a fast-paced, one-hour refresher course on an employer’s obligations under the Fair Labor Standards Act.  She will also cover the details of the DOL’s final rule and how this impacts “white collar” exemptions and overtime, as well as practical considerations in managing reclassifications of employees from exempt to nonexempt status. Ms. Glass…

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Business You Should Know – Valley Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery

Dr. Gary Schwarz

   As a child, all Dr. Gary Schwarz wanted to do was become a farmer. “That’s what my dad was and I loved working the land. I was influenced at an early age because the woods where my dad and grandpa used to hunt were no longer there, only fields of agriculture. Where had it all gone? I wanted to be part of bringing it back,” Schwarz said. However, his mother put a stop to that. “You’re not going to put your family through that!” she stated emphatically. “Be a doctor!” said his father. And so, while in college, he tried watching various medical surgeries but found himself passing out cold at each one. Choosing Dentistry instead, he enrolled at Baylor Dental College. While there discovered Oral Surgery, an extremely competitive field. “I watched the surgeries, didn’t get sick and was fascinated by them. I walked out of there knowing…

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People You Should Know – Elizabeth Davis

Elizabeth Davis

Nuts and Cows & Mi Cocina by the Hour Looking at a building in Mexico for a business, she realized it would make a great restaurant. Elizabeth Davis has bravado. She didn’t cook and wasn’t quite sure how to open a business, but that didn’t stop her. She went to the local Coca-Cola plant, and through her passion in what she believed would be a terrific business, she convinced them to paint her building and give her equipment,  tables and chairs. Opening her restaurant led her to a ten year catering business that eventually fed up to 4,000 people a day in factories’ cafeterias. “I learned to hire multi-functional employees and focused on building a strong team, taking care of them and their lives,” Davis said. Coming to McAllen, Davis decided once again to tackle the business world, this time with pecans, and created Nuts and Cows. Davis won the…

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Business You Should Know – KUMORI


Sitting in his office, Francisco Paez began his tale as Kumori co-owner with two brothers, no relation, Fernando and Eduardo Paez. With 19 years of success behind him Paez said, “I had promised myself never to be in the restaurant business again. I had a terrible experience and said, ‘Never Again.’ I was living in Monterrey, Mexico, and saw how U.S. citizens liked sushi. I thought, ‘Let’s bring it to them.’” Proposing the idea to his childhood friend, Fernando’s response was enthusiastic. “Let’s do it!” It took them about a year to get their first Kumori opened in McAllen. “Everything was a challenge because of a different culture, different country, different way of working with employees. But, we’ve always been blessed and people have been very loyal. That is what has made us succeed,” Paez explained. Several other factors have also contributed to their success. “We adapted to our markets.…

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Dr. Carlos Ayala “Simplifying the Beauty in All of Us”

Dr. Carlos Ayala Newsletter

Double-board Certified in Otolaryngology and Facial Plastic Surgery, and the only board certified facial plastic surgeon in the Rio Grande Valley, a clinical associate professor of surgery at the UTRGV School of Medicine, a retired military man, Dr. Carlos Ayala is a multi-faceted physician. I knew I wanted to be a doctor since I was a kid,” he said. “I went to my mom’s doctor’s appointments with her to translate and learned all the complicated lingo. Though I was born and raised in the Bronx, New York, and learned English in school, I lived in a home where no one spoke English. I decided I wanted to be a doctor because I wanted to help people like my mom. I saw the doctor helping her and thought it was great.” Entering the Navy after graduating from high school, he worked his way up through the ranks until he obtained a scholarship…

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