Category Archives: Chamber News

McAllen ranks second in Cheapest Places to Live by Kiplinger

Kiplinger compiled the list based on the Council for Community and Economic Research's calculations of living expenses in 307 urban areas. Its Cost of Living Index measures prices for housing, groceries, utilities, transportation, health care, and miscellaneous goods and services. They screened out cities with population below 50,000. All ten finalists, while different in many ways, shared one overarching similarity: super-affordable housing options for renters and homeowners alike. McAllen is ranked number 2! Take a look at the list of the ten cheapest places to live by following the link below. http://finance.yahoo.com/news/10-cheapest-u-cities-live-040001247.html  

McAllen Fire Department to host Community Events

The McAllen Fire Department is hosting several free community events, in celebration of the department’s 100th anniversary, Friday June 7, and Saturday June 8, 2013.    On Friday June 7, McAllen families can visit their neighborhood fire house, between 4 and 8 pm, and learn about fire safety.  The following stations will be open for tours on that day:  –Central Fire Station, 201 N 21st –Station 2, 2811 N. Main (Harvey and Main) –Station 3,  213 E. Dallas (Cynthia and Dallas) –Station 5,  5521 N 23rd (Dove and 23rd) –Station 6,  5500 S. 23rd (Sara and 23rd) Saturday, June 8, beginning at 10 am, the McAllen Fire Department will host a parade of fire trucks, with participation from neighboring cities, at Westside Park (1000 S. Ware Road).  Following the parade and continuing through 7 pm, residents can enjoy several free activities at Westside Park, including a firefighter challenge (open to…

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Dr. Belinda Jordan to present at McAllen Chamber "Image of Success" Seminar

On Thursday, May 16, Dr. Belinda Jordan will make a presentation to the attendees of the Chamber’s All About Women “Image of Success” seminar at the McAllen Chamber of Commerce. Dr. Jordan will discuss the importance of incorporating healthy living into a working woman’s busy schedule and developing a diet and exercise plan for long-term success. Dr. Jordan is a graduate of the University of Texas Health Science Center San Antonio, San Antonio TX and completed her graduate training at the UT Health Science Center San Antonio/McAllen Residency Program. She was the owner and CEO of Family Medicine Physicians from 2003 – 2012 and the owner and president of BodyScripts Medical Weight Loss Center in McAllen from 2001-2012. She is presently a bariatrician with the Renaissance Bariatric and Metabolic Institute and is board certified by the American Board of Family Medicine. The seminar will also discuss how employees can project…

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McAllen Chamber to hold the first McAllen Mini Maker Faire

The McAllen Chamber of Commerce will hold the first-ever McAllen Mini Maker Faire on Saturday, June 22 at the McAllen Creative Incubator, 601 N. Main St. from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. The Mini Maker Faire brings together families and individuals to celebrate the Do-It-Yourself (DIY) mindset and showcase all kinds of incredible projects. At Maker Faire, you'll find arts and crafts, science and engineering, food and music, fire and water but what makes this event special is that all these interesting projects and smart, creative people belong together. They are actively and openly creating a maker culture. In its simplest form, Maker Faire creates conversations with Makers. It is a show-and-tell format for people of all ages that brings out the “kid” in all of us. Maker Faire is a community-based learning event that inspires everyone to become a maker and connect to people and projects in their local…

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McAllen Chamber announces McAllen’s Man & Woman of the Year 2012

The McAllen Chamber is proud to announce Dr. John Gerling, DDS, MSD and Becky Guerra owner of Nuevo Santander Gallery and The Patio on Guerra as the 2012 Man & Woman of the Year.  Since 1955, the Chamber has honored outstanding individuals for their contributions to the City of McAllen.  These men and women are not only successful in their careers, but also volunteer countless hours serving on committees and boards, supporting worthy causes and making a positive impact on our community.    Although Becky Guerra was born and raised in San Antonio, she considers the Rio Grande Valley home.  After graduating from The University of Texas in San Antonio, with a degree in Biology and a minor in Chemistry, she arrived in McAllen with her first professional job.  She met and married her husband, Che, in 1989.  They lived in the rural community of Linn-San Manuel their first 8…

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Inter National Bank First Certified McAllen Chamber "Green Business"

The McAllen Chamber of Commerce has announced that Inter National Bank has been the first to qualify as a certified “McAllen Green Business.” Inter National Bank Executive Vice President Karen Valdez was enthusiastic about her bank’s participation in the new program. “INB has been environmentally conscientious for a long time, and we are continually looking for more ways to recycle and to save natural resources ourselves and for our customers,” she said. “This program allows us to promote the fact that we are being responsible corporate citizens, and it hopefully will encourage other McAllen businesses to participate in it as well.” Inter National Bank’s designation kicks off a new program from the Chamber of Commerce, the follow-up to its 4-year-old Green Hotel Certification Program. “18 hotels are participating in the Green Hotel Certification Program,” said Nancy Millar, Vice President and Director of the McAllen Chamber of Commerce’s Convention and Visitors’…

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International Food Festival a Great Success!

The McAllen Chamber of Commerce recently sponsored the 11th annual International Food Festival at the McAllen Convention Center.  With an attendance of over 2500, the event featured over 35 McAllen area restaurants highlighting main course menu items such as Southern Style Ribs, Mexican Food, Italian, Indian, Mediterranean and Japanese.  Restaurants competed for awards in their respective categories in a blind tasting performed by recognized chefs from the area. The winner for Best Franchise Restaurant Taste  was Bar-B-Cutie and second place went to El Pollo Loco.  In the Independent Restaurant category, Kumori won first place in Best Taste and second place went to Poncho’s Mexico Nuevo Restaurant. Regarding the Best Display awards based on the Carnival theme this year, first place in the franchise category went to El Pollo Loco and second place to Jason’s Deli. On the Best Display independent category, first place went to Paris House Cakes and second place was awarded to Taste of India.   In…

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Why McAllen ISD’s iPad Push is Just the Start

By Steve Ahlenius, McAllen Chamber of Commerce President/CEO The last several weeks I have written about business models and the changing economy, and the challenges businesses have in competing in a constant state of change. Education is experiencing the same challenges. Things are changing and education is changing, whether we like it or not. The McAllen School District push in technology (iPads) is bold and important. The pace of change is being driven by technology. Ask yourself–are you using the same cell phone you were using five years ago? Why are we teaching kids with an education system that was created in the 19th Century? Online education is taking off; cars are becoming rolling “clouds” and media hubs. Smart phones and social media have created revolutions and forced changes in government. Companies like Groupon and Red Spot take off in just months and create huge market valuation. Technology, innovation in…

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McAllen Welcomes Winter Texans

                 McAllen is set once again to welcome the thousands of Winter Texans back to the Valley. “We always look forward to the time of year when our Winter Texans return,” said Nancy Millar, the McAllen Chamber of Commerce’s Vice President and Director of the Convention and Visitors Bureau.       The Rio Grande Valley has 500 RV parks, where about half of the Winter Texans stay for up to 6 months.  The remainder, Millar said, rent apartments, have second homes or stay in extended-stay hotels.      “Most of our Winter Texans come from the Midwest, all across Canada, and Northern Texas,” Millar said.       South Texas usually benefits to the tune of $802 million per year from winter visitors.       “Retirees who are ‘sampling’ the McAllen area for the first time will be pleasantly surprised by McAllen’s cost of living,” Millar said.  “They will be able to stay here…

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McAllen Chamber’s Convention & Visitors’ Bureau Shares People’s Choice & Judges’ Choice Awards With Waco and Amarillo

                Three Texas convention and visitor bureaus, McAllen, Amarillo and Waco, pooled expertise and resources to create the Texas Top to Bottom journalist hosting project in 2011. This new approach to promote tourism received two awards at this past year’s Texas Association of Convention and Visitor Bureaus (TACVB) annual meeting in San Marcos.                                 The project was voted First Place in the annual TACVB Idea Fair in the Cooperative Marketing category. TACVB members voted on this People’s Choice Award.                                 Texas Top to Bottom was also judged the best Cooperative Marketing entry by a panel of communication experts from the San Marcos area, winning a Judges’ Choice Award as well.                                  The three bureaus, represented by Nancy Millar (McAllen), Eric Miller (Amarillo) and Lori Kasparian (Waco) developed this project to attract journalists to see the entire state through these three cities.                                  As far as the…

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McAllen Hotel Occupancy Up Slightly

            McAllen occupancy and revenue numbers were up slightly for 2011 through third quarter, the McAllen Chamber of Commerce announced recently.             “We are cautiously optimistic,” said Nancy Millar, Vice President of the McAllen Chamber of Commerce’s Convention and Visitors’ Bureau. “While the third quarter itself was soft, year to date McAllen is actually ahead of where it was this time last year.”             Figures show a 2.3% increase in total room revenues and a 1.1% increase in occupancy numbers. “These are obviously modest increases,” Millar said, “but especially in today’s economy any movement to the positive is a good thing.”             Hotels with the largest increases include Homewood Suites, Springhill Suites and Residence Inn, all posting significant revenue increases. Homewood Suites’ room revenue grew by 23.1%and its occupancy by 15.5%; Springhill Suites saw increases of 27.9% in revenue and 16.5% in occupancy; and Residence Inn saw a 19.8% rise…

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Fighting the World’s Misperceptions About McAllen

            While there are myriad positive, upbeat things happening locally, it sometimes feels as if McAllen and the Rio Grande Valley are under siege by the national media.             Combatting the misperception that McAllen is a dangerous city is part of the job of the McAllen Chamber of Commerce's Convention and Visitors' Bureau, which is charged with marketing the City. So what exactly is being done?             Naturally, most of what a Convention and Visitors' Bureau does is not seen here in town, since our job is to motivate people outside of the area to visit. Advertising (except to encourage shoppers from Monterrey) is not something within our budget so we concentrate on working with journalists, usually travel writers. If we can persuade writers to cover the positive aspects of McAllen, then potentially millions of readers will be exposed not only to McAllen's attributes, but also will receive the tacit…

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Venture/Business Readiness Assessment, another Great Tool for Entrepreneurs

Venture/Business Readiness Assessment, another Great Tool for Entrepreneurs The McAllen Chamber of Commerce is pleased to offer the Venture/Business Readiness Assessment tool to entrepreneurs and potential businesses in McAllen. The tool guides the entrepreneur in navigating their way through the process of going from concept to market/business. The assessment consists of the following tools:          The Entrepreneurial Readiness Survey assesses the aptitude of the participant for the world of entrepreneurship, a path that requires special skills and personal characteristics. Key questions: –        What are your entrepreneurial strength and weaknesses? –        Do you demonstrate the entrepreneurial characteristics investors require? ·         The Risk Readiness Assessment analyzes the amount of risk removed from the business venture through the choices made in the business model, management structure, and market strategy. Key questions: –        Which areas of your business model demonstrate the most risk? –        Does your business model meet investors’ tolerance for risk? ·        …

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Daryl "The Moose" Johnston speaks at Chamber’s Annual "Man & Woman of the Year" Awards Banquet

“Don’t practice until you get it right,” said Daryl “The Moose” Johnston to the crowd at the 57th annual McAllen Chamber of Commerce Awards Banquet on Tuesday night. “Practice until you can’t get it wrong.”  Johnston, who has three Super Bowl rings, was the guest speaker at the event which filled the banquet hall at the McAllen Convention Center.  He was welcomed to the stage by the crowd chanting, “Moose” over and over again. Johnston captured the crowd with stories about playing for the Dallas Cowboys and his endearing friendship with Emmitt Smith, the National Football League's all time leading rusher.  Johnston's leading message of the evening was about how to win and succeed; his stories quietly comparing the game of football to daily business life.   He explained that no one can really play football well if they don't love the game.  He also explained that you have to be…

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TRUE STORIES OF SUCCESS: The McAllen Innovation Grant Awards

In 2010 Fernando Ramirez and Jorge Garcia embarked on a great journey, the journey of innovation. The journey began when Jorge, an inventor, recognized the need for a new product to help parents with the cleaning and sanitizing of baby products. That vision was enough for Jorge to start sketching solutions to the problem. Fernando, an entrepreneur, learned about the idea and recognized the potential to develop a new product that could solve some unmet needs. At that point, the inventor and the entrepreneur decided to formalize the partnership in a new venture: G Innovations. The next step was to move their idea off the ground. The team began attending the I&E (Inventors & Entrepreneurs) Network at the McAllen Chamber. At every meeting, they learned essential steps in the process of innovation.  The first topic they began to work on was intellectual property. Confidentiality agreements and provisional patents became part…

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