Category Archives: Chamber News

MEET YOUR AMBASSADOR – MARTHA GARZA

Martha Garza Owner, Breadsmith After purchasing Breadsmith a few years ago, Martha Garza decided she wanted to get more involved with the community. “I wanted to expand the business and let people learn about us,” Garza said. “Since we are in the bread business, we wanted to help the community have fresh bread every day.” Becoming an Ambassador was her doorway. “I love it. Going to the events gives me the chance to tell people about our business. I love when they ask me to help. I truly feel it’s them helping me get the word out about Breadsmith.” She believes businesses who join the Chamber need to reach out and become active in chamber events. “We always get to meet new people and as a business owner that’s what we’re really about – meeting people and telling them about our business.” Proud of the fact that nothing goes to…

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STC names faculty of the year honors

MCALLEN, TEXAS (July 16, 2021) – Even while managing through a global pandemic, Dr. Jennifer Guerra worked diligently to develop the pathways that would connect Culinary Arts to academic and workforce programs statewide and on a national level. At issue during the pandemic, Chef Guerra placed a priority on ensuring that classes continued in person while ensuring a safe and active learning environment as well as student involvement. Through Guerra’s efforts, South Texas College also developed a food pantry program to assist students in need during the pandemic. “We are focused on being a model program. We are intentional about our actions and efforts to serve both our students and our community,” said Dr. Guerra, Chair of STC’s Culinary Arts Program. “While so much focus has been placed on the struggles created by the pandemic, we are focused on building a bright future for our students, the program, the college,…

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Tocqueville, Pascal and Existential Angst

The last 15 months have caused each of us to question our purpose and what we are trying to accomplish with the constant pursuit of so many different things and activities. As Americans, we appear to be pursuing diversion and distraction for their own sake, making us miserable. We appear to be in a frantic search for something beyond ourselves. We seem to be on an endless search for happiness and contentment, but the search leads us to envy, loneliness, and acrimonious political debate. We spend a great deal of time running around, taking kids to youth sporting events, piano lessons, planned get-togethers, school, and tutoring.  We go to work, we take care of the family, we attend meetings, and we take care of the house and yard. We live in this frenetic state of activity and then realize there is no satisfaction in the life we live. We are…

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What Is Causing Inflation and How Long Will It Last?

Globalization typically depresses prices of goods, but the pandemic changed that. Because fewer people were working in production and distribution facilities over the last 15 months, supplies were constrained and the supply chain lengthened, causing a sharp rise in prices. All the experts point to this inflation as being temporary and believe it will return to the normal 2-3% per year range.    I wrote about the chip shortage two weeks ago. Another big part of this temporary inflation deals with the service inflation. Most inflation is labor related in the service sector and is connected by six inter-related constraints that affect the labor supply. These six constraints are: 27% of the schools were still closed in April, forcing parents to choose between employment and taking care of their children. Many jobs are entry-level jobs and they are traditionally low-paying Generous unemployment benefits have affected the decision for parents to…

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Opportunities During the Chip Shortage

Underlying vulnerabilities in the global supply chain became apparent in the recent chip shortage. Chips are the indispensable core product for autos, personal electronics, and home appliances. Because of the shortage and delays in the supply chain, the auto industry could experience a $61 billion loss in revenue.   The problem has escalated to the point where governments are getting involved to help alleviate short-term bottlenecks and to develop policies that protect the stability of the semiconductor supply chain in order to avoid disruptions over the long run.  The United States is the global leader in chip design, with American companies accounting for 47% of global chip sales in 2019. America has the edge because we still attract top talent from around the world to design chips, and also because American companies invest over 16.5% of their R&D spending on semiconductors.  The key challenge comes from the fact that the…

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Business Promotion Spending Guide (Part II)

  Last week I wrote about promotion of your business, in general, and cost-effective ways to promote your business. This week, I will talk about one promotion spending guide that helps you determine how much to spend in promoting your business. First, answer the following questions by checking “Yes” or “No” to the questions. If you don’t know, it is a “No”.  1. Our sales are increasing each year?    Yes No 2. Our profits are increasing each year? 3. The number of walk-in customers is growing? 4. Everyone in our trade area knows we are here? 5. Our location is visible and easy to find? 6. Everyone in our trade area knows what we sell? 7. Our location has “high drive-by” traffic and lots of parking? 8. We have been in the same location for more than three years? 9  We have very little competition in our trade area?…

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How to Produce a Good Day

We have all experienced it – a bad day! Many times, it starts before or on our way to work. Our spouse says something or we get cutoff in traffic, and our minds are set – we are having a bad day. Things go downhill from there. Everything becomes an issue, and by the time we get home, it has become a terrible day.   What if I could show you there are ways to have a good day, even when bad stuff happens? You want to ask yourself three fundamental questions when it comes to your workday: 1) Do you feel you have spent your time and directed your attention to things that matter? 2) Do you feel you did a good job and enjoyed yourself? 3) Do you feel you have enough energy at the end of the day to wake up the next day and do it…

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Four Negative Traits in Leadership

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about jumping the chasm and the challenges of staying relevant and impactful in your business or organization. A couple of those key points were being a life-long learner, having a sense of curiosity, being willing to commit resources in technology or people, and taking action.   On the flip side, some weaknesses can be addressed through thought and self-awareness. Here are four things to watch for in your leadership style: ① Lack of vision. There is nothing more frustrating than being in a business or organization with no vision or that is stuck in the ‘90s business model. The business feels listless and rudderless. Employees pick up on the lack of direction or “no true cause.” The organization may be making it now, but in short order, things will change, and the money will stop flowing; then a crisis will come. A smart…

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How to Effectively Promote Your Business, Part I

With the pandemic end in sight, I hear and see more businesses working to develop new promotional ideas and concepts.  I am occasionally asked what would work best, and my response is – it depends. What works best depends on your business, your specific products or services, your community, your competition, and your skills to promote your business. Keep in mind these six critical points as you think about promoting your business:   ① Promotion’s one primary goal is to get the right message to the right people at the right time. ② The cheapest promotions are word-of-mouth referrals. Keep your current customers happy, because it is cheaper to keep customers than to go get new ones. ③ Great promotions will never make up for inferior quality or poor service. ④ Promotion is an investment in the future. ⑤ If your promotion doesn’t point out benefits to your customers, it’s…

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A TRANSPORT EMPIRE BUILT ON INTEGRITY – Parker & Company

Frank Parker, Jr. President / CEO   As you drive down the road, have you ever looked at your dashboard and wondered how all its parts came together? Have you ever noticed a cargo container of Mission Wonderful Citrus orange juice trucking on down the road and wondered where in the world it was going? (Check toward the end for the answer.) Have you ever gotten in a convoy with a line of trucks and wondered who figured out how all this stuff was getting moved from point A to point B? One company that has been in the transportation business for 36 years is Parker & Company led by its President/CEO, Frank Parker, Jr. “I’m a third generation Brownsville, Texas, resident,” Parker said. “My dad worked in the ship loading and unloading business at the port. I grew up around the port and understood the international trade early.” After…

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13 QUESTIONS WITH MCALLEN CHAMBER BOARD MEMBER – HERSHAL PATEL

Hershal Patel Co-owner Perspective Hospitality Management Services   1) What is your favorite book? Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts. It’s a book about a fugitive from New Zealand/Australia who ends up in India. The way he describes Bombay reformed the way I see India.  2) What is your favorite movie? Hands down, the 007 series.  The one on the top of my list is From Russia with Love. The reason I like the series is because each movie was a guide to the time in which the movie was made. Another reason is one of my favorite cities in the world is Istanbul and a good part of that movie takes place in Istanbul.  3) What was your favorite vacation spot? The greatest place I’ve been to is Istanbul. At the time we went, it was just before some of the civil unrest there but you would never have known.  4)…

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McALLEN CHAMBER WINS KALIFF MARKETING AWARDS FROM THE TFEA ASSOCIATION

The Texas Festivals and Events Association (TFEA) held the Kaliff Marketing Awards competition this past summer.  The competition recognizes and encourages excellence in festival promotional campaigns. The McAllen Chamber of Commerce entered several categories in the competition to celebrate the success of McAllen’s newest festival MXLAN 2019. The McAllen Chamber and PolluxCastor, the event’s Creative Advertising & Production Company, teamed up to host the event at the McAllen Convention Center. MXLAN is a 5-day event where traditions rarely seen outside the interior of Mexico happen alongside modern artists and revelers honoring their cultural roots. The festival, which included a Mexican arts & crafts mercado, food from Mexico and the Valley, a Mezcal & Tequila event, a Neon Nights 5-k Run, live concerts with music from local and up-and-coming talented musicians, and a dance troupe leading a Calenda-style parade from La Guelaguetza (an indigenous ceremonial celebration that happens once a year…

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Naikan and Three Questions

Our world has become such a rush! We jump from one thing to the next. We are trying to manage meetings, work schedules, kids, spouses, and a myriad of other things that demand our attention and efforts. The stress of daily life is taking its toll on us physically, emotionally, and mentally. The ability to step back and reflect is more crucial than ever before in our world. The Japanese have a psychology called Naikan that challenges an individual to self-reflect. The idea is based on the psychology of action, which means doing things you can control and letting go of things you cannot control. We live in a complaint-based life. We complain about people, work, situations, the world, and even the drive to work. Where you focus is where your mind is. When we think and talk negatively, guess what you become – negative. The challenge in the modern…

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Jumping the Chasm

History is replete with businesses that could not adapt or change to stay relevant and make money, such as Sears, K-mart, Blockbuster Video, Service Merchandise, Pier 1 Imports, Toys R Us, Payless Shoes, and the list goes on. So, what happened? There are varying degrees of issues: too much debt, not making critical investments, or losing sight of customers. All of the above businesses had intelligent people running them, but there comes a moment when things change. I call the moment “jumping the chasm” when a dramatic change or risks has to occur, or failure and demise is the end game. Human nature allows us to get comfortable with the status quo. Things are working fine, money is being made, customers are walking in the door, and good things are happening. Then slowly, or sometimes instantly, change starts. Change is hard. If we do not build change into our DNA…

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My Parents Didn’t Love Me

Growing up, I was convinced my parents didn’t love me. They were not much into “wildly praising” how smart I was, or how great I was, or even some of my significant childhood accomplishments. Sometimes I would get a polite nod or smile, but not much more. I don’t think my parents were much into developing my “success ego.” I don’t think my parents loved me. At the age of 11, my mom informed us kids she would no longer do our laundry. She explained to us that white clothes should be separated from the colored clothes, and you should not wash white clothes and colored clothes in the same load. After I turned my underwear and socks pink a couple of times, I learned to wash my whites and colored clothes separately. I don’t think my parents loved me. In middle school, my mom stopped making our lunches. She…

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