Category Archives: Chamber News

TRAVEL TIPS BEFORE YOU “TAKE-OFF” THIS HOLIDAY SEASON

McAllen International Airport shares tips and reminders when traveling by air this holiday season  Prior to arriving at McAllen International Airport (MFE), be sure to check the safety guidelines for the destination that will be visited, including hotel of choice or accommodations. If traveling to an international destination, visit the United States Department of State website: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/international-travel.html for the most up-to-date information. For domestic travel, be sure to visit the official website of the State you will be traveling to for the latest health and safety guidelines in that community. For travel during this pandemic, airline partners have implemented increased opportunities for contactless service including self-check-in kiosks and free downloadable apps to connect travelers directly with the airline in real-time while providing airline and flight information at one’s fingertips. Some examples of airline app tools include booking flights, completing the pre-boarding registration process, access to flight status, and current airline…

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Keep McAllen Beautiful Announces Holiday Home Lights Contest 2020

The Holiday Home Lights contest, sponsored by Keep McAllen Beautiful, is an opportunity for residents to show off their holiday spirit and decorating skills to help beautify and illuminate the McAllen landscape by lighting up their McAllen home. “I really love Christmas and one of my favorite traditions is driving around town and looking at all the beautiful holiday lights and decorations,” said McAllen Mayor Jim Darling.  “Whether those decorations are religious or traditional, whether homes use white lights or multi-colored lights, or even if they use a simple wreath, this is a beautiful way to celebrate the most wonderful time of the year.  And this is a dazzling way to keep McAllen beautiful!” Residents interested in competing in this year’s KMB’s Holiday Home Lights Contest should follow four simple steps to register to become a contestant – and possible winner. Go all out on holiday home decorations; Snap a…

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Two Things Customers Want

The last eight months of COVID-19 have posed challenges, as well as opportunities, for small businesses on so many different levels. One key question we get asked many times is, “How should I continue to do my marketing, and should I be marketing at all?” Marketing is storytelling and branding, and branding is critical during tough times. What it all comes down to are image and one critical question – what do your customers want?  So how you talk to your customers and who you want to gain as a customer are important and more critical today than ever before to your success. Humans are complex creatures who may not articulate precisely what they want or what they are looking for, but know it when they experience it. So, it comes down to doing two things for your customers:  THEY WANT THEIR PROBLEM SOLVED THEY WANT TO HAVE A CUSTOMER…

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SHIPLEY DONUTS “MAKE LIFE DELICIOUS” – DAVID DUFF, FRANCHISEE

Everybody loves a good donut. What better way to enjoy the delicious treat than heading over to get a freshly baked Shipley Donut. “McAllen loves their donuts!” David Duff, franchisee of Shipley Donuts, said. “Over these 40 plus years, I’ve come to see it as a generational thing. I look out at our customers and see the kids who used to stand on the chairs and watch me make donuts coming in with their kids standing on the chairs watching the employees make donuts. Now, as those kids graduate from college, get married, and bring their kids in to watch, it will be the fourth generation of families that has followed us.” Duff, born and raised in Kankakee, Illinois, sixty miles south of Chicago, moved to the Valley with his family as a senior in high school when his father cried, “Enough!” “In 1975, we had a 500-year winter and…

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WHY YOU SHOULD JOIN THE McALLEN CHAMBER OF COMMERCE

By Gerry Garcia:   I spent a moment remembering an article I read in 2015 by David Larson of the Pleasant Grove Chamber of Commerce that gave six reasons a business owner should join its local Chamber of Commerce, and during this pandemic, I thought it would be a good idea to revisit the reasons and see how the McAllen Chamber has instilled the changes we’ve had to adapt to make it work.  And even though you might feel you are already busy with work, these six reasons give great benefits not only to your business but to your personal life as well.  1. Relationships The article mentions how building relationships is not only about networking but about actually gaining friends, associates, and advocates. Not only will you gain friends, but you could gain lasting relationships. As you go on in the Chamber world, when our lives adapt to a new…

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MEET YOUR AMBASSADOR – MURPHY JEFFRIES

Murphy Jeffries Account Executive NBC, Channel 23   Murphy Jeffries, a father of three who plays guitar, loves to ride motorcycles, and play golf, is an account executive at NBC Channel 23.  He is the personification of a Chamber Ambassador.  He is an extrovert who loves to meet people with high energy and optimistic personalities, who found his niche in sales. “My degree is in Broadcasting/Journalism, but I found it not as exciting as expected,” said Jeffries. “After some years in medical marketing, a friend suggested I join the sales team at Channel 23. I told her I didn’t want sales again but went to the interview anyway and was hired right away.” As you might have guessed, he found his love in TV sales. “Being able to meet so many different people and help them grow their business is what I like best.” Becoming a Chamber Ambassador was a…

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Sally Fraustro Guerra

If you don’t know Sally Fraustro Guerra, you are missing out on someone who always sees the best in people and situations and someone who knows how to connect with a wide range of people. Sally has been involved with the Chamber for 25 years. She is a person who has a passion for her businesses and her charitable efforts. Sally is a “go-getter.” We all want good things to happen. Sally understands the “Slinky Effect.” We all remember the childhood toy, the Slinky, the wired metal wrapped in a cylinder, that when you would set in motion down a staircase, it would fall and fall over itself down the stairs. Sally knows working and spending time investing in people will pay off; maybe just not immediately.  Just like the Slinky, the efforts Sally makes create the energy, and the results follow. Sometimes things happen slowly, and Sally understands, better…

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Click and Collect Business Model

For the last five months, I have written about the emerging role of online sales for small businesses. The survey the Chamber has conducted shows local retail stores that had an online sales platform saw an 18% increase in sales. The COVID-19 pandemic created an urgency for small retail businesses to create another business model of online sales. So how does a business blend brick and mortar with online sales? Click and collect. Click and collect is a strategy where shoppers order their items online and pick them up in the store. Retail businesses that have had several business models have found that sales due to click and collect has grown 155% in the last four years. Also, over 33% of shoppers this last holiday season were click and collect customers. The click and collect model allows for a more integrated shopping experience, plus creates a more seamless process. Here…

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McAllen Chamber Seeking Nominations for McAllen’s 2020 Man & Woman of the Year Recognitions

We have all had the opportunity to be associated with individuals from the McAllen area who have distinguished themselves for their outstanding volunteer service to our community, and sometimes these members of our community do not receive the recognition they deserve.  Every year, the McAllen Chamber of Commerce Man & Woman of the Year Selection Committee selects two outstanding volunteers to receive the honor of McAllen’s Man & Woman of the Year. Our community is currently going through a time where we must do things differently.  But we do not want the people who have continued to make McAllen their priority and have made sacrifices to ensure our community stays safe and our economy survives to go unnoticed, especially now.  We ask that you please take a moment to nominate commendable people to receive this recognition.  The McAllen Chamber of Commerce would genuinely enjoy letting our community know about these…

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Be the Turn-Around Person

Everybody has a bad day. For many of us, the COVID-19 seems to be a bad day that has lasted several months. This pandemic has been challenging for so many reasons: the self-isolation, the uncertainty, health scares, the constant changing of opening, to stepping back, or slowing down the reopening, and just the unknowns. We are human, and we like our routines, and we like being in comfortable moments that don’t threaten our wellbeing, financially or healthwise. So how can a person adjust and handle a moment like COVID-19? When everything seems to be going sideways or off track? Here are five simple things you can do to turn a moment, a week, or even a bad month around. Focus on the moment. Stop thinking about the future or what went wrong last week. You cannot change the past, and the future has not arrived. You have this moment and…

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A PLACE TO CALL HOME – HEARTHSTONE APARTMENTS

Susana Cole Property Manager Have you ever gone looking for an apartment to live in? Maybe back in college days? Maybe yesterday? An apartment complex can be many things to the variety of people who live there. However, the one thing that is most important is that it feels like home. That is exactly how it feels to many of the residents who live at Hearthstone Apartments. When you are first looking for that new apartment to turn into a home, taking in the lay of the land, surveying the landscaping, and inspecting the care of the buildings might first garner your attention. The warm, inviting colors of this well-kept complex will easily catch the eye of an apartment hunter. The meticulously maintained landscape of Hearthstone could possibly make your car pull directly into the office located in the center of the 308-unit complex. “This property was built in 1996,”…

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PEOPLE YOU SHOULD KNOW – CAPABLE KIDS FOUNDATION

We have all been through some sort of trying time during this pandemic, from staying home, staying six feet apart from each other, washing our hands consistently, following city and state COVID-19 guidelines, making sure our kids and families remain safe – not to mention the families who know firsthand the devastating conditions this pandemic can bring. But I never stopped to think about the special people in our communities who, from the instant they were born, go through trying moments every day of their lives. Getting to know the Capable Kids Foundation and recognizing what it achieves was quite inspiring. Co-founder and physical therapist Melanie Watson and Executive Director Sofia Peña both spoke about the program and what they do to motivate the kids they help throughout the year. The organization’s mission is to improve the quality of life for children with all types of disabilities. The idea first…

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MEET YOUR AMBASSADOR – JOHNNY RODRIGUEZ

Johnny Rodriguez Public Relations Bert Ogden Auto Group Johnny Rodriguez, a happy, enthusiastic fisherman, golfer, gardener, and Public Relations Director for the Bert Ogden Auto Group, had two significant family role models, whom he said, shaped his life. “My dad was a World War II hero. He had his face blown off and survived to the age of 91,” Rodriguez said. “He could have lived off the government but instead worked for 50 years before retiring. He was a humble and great man. My mother was a cafeteria worker. They both showed me the way, making me a better person.” After 22 years supplying Bert Ogden with employees and where he developed a close business and personal relationship with Janet and Bob Vackar, he sold his business. His life then got even better. “Mr. Vackar asked me to come to Bert Ogden and do PR for them. I feel extremely…

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The Future Arrived Ahead of Schedule

Like so many businesses and people, we are all trying to navigate territory that feels unfamiliar and foreign to all of us. Finding our way in the future will not be a straight line or something we can map out step-by-step. We are going to make mistakes. We are going to have to side-step, change directions, and pivot many times. Steve Jobs said, “Get closer than ever to your customers. So close, that you can tell them what they need well before they realize it themselves.” There is information everywhere; what is needed is an actionable insight that is surprisingly hard to come by. What does the present moment mean for your business? The key will be to listen to and understand your customers and their needs, more deeply than just listening to and understanding surface responses. Here are some essential questions to start asking and exploring: What is the…

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