Category Archives: Chamber News

Spreading the Word: McAllen Business and City Leaders Help to Promote McAllen in Mexico City


The #SeeYouInMcAllen marketing campaign has been a remarkably orchestrated initiative that has further increased the visibility of the City of McAllen across multiple regions including the South Texas Triangle – which stretches from Laredo to Corpus Christi and back down to McAllen – as well as Northern Mexico and our own amazing Rio Grande Valley. But our sights have been set even higher. That’s why representatives from the City of McAllen, La Plaza Mall, the McAllen Chamber of Commerce’s Convention & Visitors Bureau, and the McAllen-Miller International Airport all joined together in Mexico City to promote the excellent international destination that is McAllen. This McAllen group was supported by a number of Mexican businesses and organizations, including generous backing from Aeromar Airlines, which offers a direct flight to McAllen from Mexico City –  the only international destination of its kind. McAllen is Happening Known as McAllen Day, the event was…

Read More

A Look Into Our Past Tells Us of Our Future


The story of McAllen goes back more than 100 years. From a dusty little border town to the international metropolitan destination that it has become today, the history of our city not only offers us a glimpse into our past but reveals the perseverance that has made our community great. A perseverance and tenacity that endures and is the foundation for future success. Our place along the Rio Grande borderland has inextricably tied our past, and future, with our neighbors to the south. From the first Spanish settlements that were established in 1749 to modern times, our cross cultural heritage runs deeps. City leaders at the McAllen Chamber of Commerce, the City of McAllen, and McAllen Economic Development Corporation believe that through some contemplation of our past, we can understand the road ahead. Small Beginnings McAllen was situated in a no-man’s land in the late 1800’s. It wasn’t until the…

Read More



Patricia Beard, President Credit: one word that can devastate someone’s life if the credit is deemed “bad.” On the other hand, “good” credit will find new cars, homes, and all manner of items acquirable, which could then land one in “bad” credit again if payments exceed the ability to pay. Tricky thing, that little word credit. But COSTEP, Council for South Texas Economic Progress, has a mission – teaching Valley residents everything they need to know about credit and financial literacy to become financially stable. “Since 2010 when the majority of student loans became a government program, our main goal at that time had been to service student loans. But we found ourselves taking a step back,” Patricia Beard, president, COSTEP, began. “We asked ourselves the question, ‘How can COSTEP continue to help the Valley?’ One answer, which became clear, was credit repair. We found numerous people were being taken…

Read More


Headshot 4.17

Atlas Electrical, Air-Conditioning, Refrigeration and Plumbing Life for Sarah Sagredo-Hammond, president of Atlas Electrical, Air-conditioning, Refrigeration and Plumbing, began in North Dakota where her parents were field workers. “It was simply the only way to make money at that time,” Sarah said. When her father joined the Air Force, he changed the course of their whole family’s future. Learning electrical and heating, ventilation and air conditioning in the Air Force ultimately led him to open Atlas in 1982. “I was 10 when my dad opened the company with my mom,” she said. “By the age of 12, I would answer phones on weekends, dispatch the technicians and do collections.” Though she went to work for attorneys after graduation, she always kept her hand in the family business, working part time in the financial end of the company. In 2008, her brother, working with their father and mother at Atlas, came…

Read More



One thing people will immediately realize when meeting the Director of Sales and Marketing of OGI Hotels, Monica Vega, is that this lady is enthusiastic. “I started with them nine years ago as night auditor,” she said. “The owners would call at 3 AM to check on the hotel. I was so cheerful they moved me to Front Desk day.” She’s been Front Desk AM and PM, Front Office Manager and General Manager, working at some point in all 14 of the company’s hotels across South Texas. But nothing has compared to her current position. “You’ve got to be a certain kind of crazy to thrive in the hotel industry,” she said. “What I love is that there’s something new and different every day. I also love how OGI is a family run business. If you work for Oceangate, you are a part of the Oceangate family.” Bringing that same…

Read More



Becoming a Bob Goodwin Award Winner takes a lot of work, persistence and love for the McAllen Chamber of Commerce. Marie Perez exemplifies what a good Chamber member and a good Ambassador stand for, and she credits it all to Bob Goodwin. “When we moved down here in the late ‘70s, I became involved with the Chamber, joining the President’s Club, now the Ambassadors,” Marie explained. “I met Bob and would watch him work. He knew everybody because he went to everything, representing the Chamber and the bank he worked for. He was somebody special everyone knew, respected and loved. I thought to myself, ‘I want to be like him.’” Because she is so like Bob in many ways, selling over $10,000 worth of memberships, she has reached her goal. Marie believes her successful 28 year career in the hospitality industry, including her 11 years at the Tower Club, was…

Read More

Eat. Play. Stay…And Live…in McAllen!


McAllen is happening and our beautiful region continues to see meaningful growth and economic trends that point towards prolonged prosperity for the area. Through aggressive initiatives and marketing campaigns – such as #SeeYouinMcallen – city leaders from the McAllen Chamber of Commerce, McAllen EDC and City of McAllen offices are working diligently to promote McAllen businesses for shopping, playing, eating, and staying. While our primary goal with these marketing campaigns will continue to focus on drawing in tourists from various regions including northern Mexico, the South Texas Triangle, and our very own metropolitan area, it is worth noting that our marvelous city of McAllen is not only great to visit but to live in as well. Undoubtedly, our ability to thrive and remain a dynamic city not only depends on drawing in travelers but also attracting a permanent population of productive, innovative and skilled workers to enhance our civic and…

Read More

9 Key Social Media Strategies to Help Your Business Succeed


Change does indeed present opportunity and today’s social media driven world is the perfect catalyst to help businesses reach new audiences and meaningfully communicate with existing ones. There are 480,000 @Facebook users within a 25 mile radius of #McAllen. #socialmedia #marketing Understandably, though, it can be a bit difficult to keep up with social media trends as they seem to change on a daily basis. From posts to grams, tweets to snaps, there are an overwhelming number of social media marketing tools at your disposal. Despite the variety of options available to you, there are a few simple guidelines to help your social media presence be as effective as possible. A Few Points to Make Your Social Media Presence Shine! Your social media program should support your overall business and marketing goals. If you already have a social media presence, that’s a great start! Now it’s time to look at…

Read More

McAllen Is Happening


McAllen is the place to be. As we market our community to the rest of Texas and Mexico, we find more and more it’s an easy story to tell. Our culture, our people, our land, and our history are remarkable. And the explosion of what we have to offer is just as unique and exciting. From amazing high-end retail stores to world class Broadway shows, gorgeous natural attractions, spectacular nightlife venues, national and statewide sporting events, and so much more, McAllen is certainly generating buzz. Visitors from within our state, across our borders, and throughout the Greater Rio Grande Valley can find everything that need here – and then some. Retail Galore It should come as no surprise that McAllen is a retail giant with a topnotch hospitality industry. All across the city we continue to see growth and business expansion that is proving to be vital in drawing new…

Read More

Change Presents Opportunity


One of the vital elements for success in the 21st century is the “connectivity” of a community, its businesses, and its leadership to the key economic drivers of the city. When elements that sustain those economic drivers change, it creates an opportunity to bring together key players and business groups to look for innovative methods to connect and drive economic development in positive ways for the community. For the community of McAllen, several conditions are driving change. Shopping patterns, the peso value against the dollar, the recent unrest in Reynosa, as well as the rhetoric coming out of Austin and Washington have created challenges and new opportunities for our city. Doing nothing or simply hoping and wishing things will get better is not an option. That is why leaders from the City of McAllen, the McAllen Chamber of Commerce and McAllen EDC have launched the aggressive #SeeYouInMcAllen regional marketing campaign…

Read More

The Birth of “Amigos Always”


While the “Amigos Always” campaign was recently created through a collaboration between your McAllen Chamber of Commerce, McAllen EDC, the City of McAllen, and our partners in Mexico, the reality is our marketing efforts to increase foreign tourism in our city and throughout the region have existed for many years now. In fact, one of our marketing initiatives began over six years ago with the assistance of RTREVIÑO Creative Marketing, who is based in Monterrey, Mexico. The team at  RTREVIÑO Creative Marketing worked diligently at that time to define our city’s highly valuable qualities and to express those expertly to our target audience – Mexican nationals and tourists. In a joint effort, we were able to establish that what made McAllen such a unique and alluring destination was our ability to offer an exclusive American experience and convenient locality. Undoubtedly, McAllen’s proximity to the border has provided Mexican tourists the…

Read More



Raquel Hochman, General Director-USA, Mexico Life in the oil industry is like a roller coaster ride. First they send you here, and then there, and then everywhere. At least for Isaac Hochman and family it seemed like that as they moved from McAllen to Tyler, Texas, then to Reynosa, and then to penguin heaven, Patagonia, Argentina. Last, Isaac moved his family to Venezuela where Raquel, last of their three children, was born. At that time Venezuela was one of the top oil producers in the world, and the government was involved in the business. “There was a need for our products, and nobody was making them locally,” Raquel Hochman, General Director-USA, Mexico, said as she told the story of her American petroleum engineer father. “Since he was already manufacturing other items for the industry and there was incentive to produce these items as well, he decided to start the company…

Read More



Joshua Hill Chief Instructor Finding a need and filling it is the mainstay of any entrepreneur. Ex-Navy Air Traffic Controller and current Air Traffic Controller for the McAllen Miller International Airport Joshua Hill’s roll as entrepreneur expanded last year. Along with VIP Travel Consultants in McAllen, Joshua is the Chief Instructor of five total for South Texas UAV, (unmanned aerial vehicle), otherwise known as a drone. It was one of his travel clients who made him aware of the lack of training for anything drone related in the Valley. Not only does UAV hold classes in how to fly a drone, it also teaches people how to open a commercial drone business, answering such questions as: Where do customers come from? How do we market our business? What insurance coverage is necessary? Most important is the class which trains people how to pass their 14 CFR (code of federal regulations)…

Read More



Gloria Gracia, General Director De Shopping En El Valle/De Shopping En Texas Gloria Gracia is a mogul of her own design, a go-getter, a traveling saleswoman, a planner, she is also a member of the International Relations Committee for the McAllen Chamber. There are many more titles which could be added to this General Director of De Shopping en el Valle, now De Shopping en Texas. Born in Brownsville, Gloria lived in Mexico until returning to Brownsville to attend college at 17 to obtain her degree in Business Administration. Developing her long time love for industry, she managed engineers who handled calibration services for local maquiladoras, and now maintains her involvement with the industry through her brother’s magazines including Mexico Industry. In December 2015, she established her commercial cleaning company, Clean Management Services, while continuing her career working for her brother. When seeing a lack in Valley promotion, he convinced…

Read More



Celina Gonzales, South Texas Marketing Liaison for Neighbors Emergency Centers, NEC, is one of the fascinating people here in The Valley. After a career as a legal secretary in litigation law, Celina decided to transition into the healthcare field. “Healthcare was the best direction for me,” she explained. “Working in the freestanding emergency department industry has kept me on my toes and taught me to be adaptive as well as creative in my environment. “We’ve been around since 2009. I love being a part of a company that’s invested in the community and doesn’t hesitate to fill the need, wherever it may be.” Being an ambassador has brought her a whole new set of friends. “I enjoy meeting everybody, and love the relationships we’ve built together.” In her spare time and after family time with her two children, she has entered the Valley’s world of polo. Between watching the McAllen…

Read More