Category Archives: Chamber News

SOUTH TEXAS – BUICK • GMC NOT THE BIGGEST, JUST THE BEST!

Gathered around the desk were Executive Director Victor Pardo, Digital Marketing Manager George Castillo, and General Sales Manager Eduardo Garza. It was easy to see the pride as each spoke about South Texas Buick & GMC. “Our company purchased South Texas Buick GMC in January of 2006,” began Victor. “We bought it with the expectation that this was going to be a great dealership.” Knowing they had a long road ahead since the dealership had been low-volume and family-owned, and knowing that General Motors was going through its bankruptcy process, the men dug in and got to work.  It had been a Saturn dealership that had brought Victor and George together.  “I had been in the banking business, but was asked to find a General Manager for the Saturn dealership by the company I worked for,” Victor said. “After three months without the right candidate, I decided to take the…

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BUSINESS YOU SHOULD KNOW – METRO ELECTRIC, INC.

If it hadn’t been for an independent grocer in San Antonio, Metro Electric, Inc. might never have been. It was there that Jack Gerdes, a bag boy, was approached and told he should consider working for Alterman Electric Contractors. Jack took the suggestion and worked for them for years, learning the industry by beginning at the bottom – digging ditches.  “My grandfather worked his way up as high as he could get with Alterman,” company estimator Derek recalled. “At that point, he decided to venture out on his own, and in 1973 moved from San Antonio to Brownsville to start Metro Electric, Inc.” A family-run operation with son Michael as vice-president and another grandson, David, as an electrician in the field, the 45-year old company, with approximately 150 employees, has garnered many awards.  Among the awards are Service Contractor of the Year for the Independent Electrical Contractors, (IEC), and Subcontractor…

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MEET YOUR AMBASSADOR – RUBEN PEÑA, IV

Ruben Peña Cadravo Communications Ruben Peña is a mover and shaker. Working for Cadravo Communications as Software & Technology Developer simply wasn’t enough of a challenge for him. He embraced the company, which is designed for businesses on the go, to be able to be in communications with customers and clients any way and anywhere.  Taking phone systems to a whole new level by incorporating computer backups, phone encryption, Hunts Group technology and so much more including a state-of-the-art, virtually military grade secure server, Peña handles marketing, software development, and public relations. Never one to sit still, Ruben loves being an Ambassador, which gives him a sense of belonging in the business community. “Being an entrepreneur at heart, I love talking to clients in other businesses and learning what strategies they’re using – what’s working, what’s not,” Peña said. With a daily life calendar: Monday – gym; Taco Tuesday; dancing…

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PEOPLE YOU SHOULD KNOW – CHRIS LASH

Chris Lash Keep McAllen Beautiful Nestled on the grounds of the Recycling Center sits the mobile home offices of Keep McAllen Beautiful (KMB). Out of these humble settings a team of dedicated employees guides the volunteer projects of Keep McAllen Beautiful through clean-ups, mosaic works, house paintings, and neighborhood revitalizations. Leading the team of enthusiastic staff and volunteers is Chris Lash, Program Director. “I really love the way we are enveloping our culture and having more quality things to do for families, such as the hike and bike trails,” Lash said. “McAllen is growing tremendously, and our events and projects are a great way to get involved in the community.” Lash developed her passion for the environment from her parents. “When we were young, our parents would take us to parks and monuments, teaching us not only to enjoy the outdoors, but also not to litter,” she said. “As I…

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As the Unemployment Rate Decreases, Opportunity and Hope in the RGV Increases

Change is happening in McAllen. The work for a better tomorrow over the past year has produced record-breaking results that have improved the quality of life to the citizens of the McAllen-Edinburg-Mission metro area. It is our privilege that the McAllen Chamber of Commerce provides the backbone necessary to build a strong, sprouting business, and when more businesses plant their roots into McAllen’s soil, more jobs become available to our citizens. While we all share in this success, it wasn’t an easy win to obtain. Thanks to our programs—such as the McAllen Chamber of Commerce Innovation Grant, 1 Million Cups, and IdeaPlace powered by Wells Fargo to name a few—that foster ambition, reward innovation, and inspire hope, local entrepreneurs both inexperienced and experienced are realizing their true potential. Because of our dedication to nurturing these small businesses, job vacancies have been created, effectively decreasing the unemployment rate throughout the metro…

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The McAllen Chamber of Commerce Entrepreneur Programs

Innovation, creativity, and entrepreneurship are driving our economy in the 21st century. McAllen is building the infrastructure and networks to foster innovation, creativity, and startups. Ideas and innovation drive wealth creation in communities. Our goal at the McAllen Chamber of Commerce is to provide technical support, connections, funding and a vetting process that allows entrepreneurs to explore ideas without wasting a lot of money. We are creating the culture and working to lower the transactional costs for young companies and the success is paying off. We have worked with over 160 startups and have assisted in securing 16 patents, nine trademarks, and seven copyright protections filings. We have created 36 jobs, but more importantly, we have helped young McAllen companies generate more than $4.5 million in revenue over the last five years. We have assisted three finalists in the H-E-B Primo Picks Competition, and we have more coming. It is…

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An Oasis in Life’s Stormy Weather Cryo Body Perfections By Roda Grubb

Out of pain comes gain ― if you let it. Though this saying has been around for ages, Margret De Bruyn, Managing Director of Cryo Body Perfections, knows it for a fact. After a major war with an 18-wheeler, De Bruyn, a pilates instructor, weightlifter, and health advocate living in San Antonio, was in major pain due to back injuries and pinched nerves. “I’m allergic to painkillers and nothing was working to help stop the pain except ice treatments at the chiropractors,” De Bruyn explained. “When a tri-athlete friend suggested I try a new treatment that had helped her called cryotherapy, I thought, ‘Why not?’” Hoping for immediate results, it wasn’t until the following morning she discovered she had miraculously slept all night and had been able to get out of bed in 20 minutes instead of 45. The more she underwent cryotherapy treatment, the better she felt. She found…

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Boost Metal Wins $7,500 from the McAllen Business Plan Competition

McAllen, TX – Since 2011, the McAllen Chamber of Commerce and the McAllen Economic Development Corporation have provided more than $45,000 in awards to 8 different entrepreneurs. The contest awards a prize $7,500 every year to the winner. The intent of the program is to foster new business creation and expansion in McAllen. The competition is for new, independent, for-profit ventures in the seeding or start-up stages in the McAllen. The competition is intended to simulate the real-world process of entrepreneurs soliciting start-up funds from early-stage investors and venture capital firms. The judges function as venture capital investors deciding on which business venture they would most likely fund. The quality of the idea, the strength of the management team, and the clarity and persuasiveness of the written plan and oral presentation, all influence the judges’ decisions. Ultimately, the winning team should be the team in which the judges would most…

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Four Key Elements to Leading

If you have followed the news for the last several months (or maybe it has been years), you may have noticed a huge drop in civility and leadership. We see people in leadership positions insulting and degrading people with whom they disagree. We seem to think voicing our thoughts and opinions on social media is synonymous with having an impact. We “exaggerate” our involvement and activism, and yet we don’t even get off the couch to try to make a real difference. True leadership requires more than voicing one’s opinions and thoughts. There are four key parts to leading: History. What a person brings to the table when leading is an accumulation of strengths and weaknesses that have developed over a lifetime. There are no shortcuts to effective leadership. It takes time as well as success and failure. Our desires for instant gratification and to solve problems quickly do not…

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You Own It!

“You own it!” This is a phrase that has several meanings. It can be, “Congratulations, you are now the proud owner of a new house or car,” or it can mean that you own the outcome or decision you just made. Unfortunately, our culture today is allowing an attitude of deflection and denial to creep into our thought processes, which is preventing us from taking responsibility for our choices. I don’t want to go as far as the victim persona, but there is a shift toward not taking responsibility for our own decisions. We are quick to blame other people: “They said this first,” or “They did this to me first.” Instead of owning what we do and say, we deflect and deny. When my kids were teenagers, I was quick to point out that they owned their decisions, actions, or words. It didn’t matter what their friends did; it…

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McAllen Chamber Seeking Nominations for Prestigious Man & Woman of the Year Awards

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 don’t 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. To distinguish these deserving individuals, we ask for your nominations to make this recognition a reality for McAllen’s most deserving people.  If you know individuals you feel need to be recognized for their acts of exceptional kindness and tireless energy, or someone who has organized a program for the betterment of our community, given their time and talent to teach, lent a helping hand to those in need, or just made the special effort to ensure that “good things…

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Why Business Cards Still Matter

Many of my staff members think I am “old school” when it comes to certain things. For one, I still keep a paper calendar to track my meetings. My paper calendar has never crashed, been deleted, and is easy to find (it sits on my desk). The Chamber staff can look at it any time to see my schedule. I have kept a paper calendar for the last 31 years and that will not change. What many of you/us have already discovered is that technology can be an “X” factor in many things, but in building personal relationships and connecting with people, what is old is new again. Another one of my “antiquated” systems is the use of business cards. Lots of people probably think, “There is an app for that.” Here is an interesting side note: the average person has 21 apps on their smartphone but only uses five…

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Nature Birding Giveaway 2018

The McAllen Chamber of Commerce is giving away a guided birding tour to one lucky winner. Winner will be picked on Sept. 10, 2018. Please enter your name, phone number and email address on the entry form. One entry per household. Winners will be given a choice of hotels and birding guides. Good luck.               By submitting a form you agree to posted terms and conditions.  

Four Myths About Customers

If you say it long enough, people begin to believe it. An idea or a belief starts and gets repeated and repeated, and before long, it becomes a “fact”, and then becomes a myth. A myth is a belief or story that is imaginary or fictitious. In our current political climate, many politicians claim certain things as truth even though they are untrue, and after time, more and more people begin to believe the claims. Once a myth is born, it’s hard to un-spread. I see it every day at the Chamber. Many business owners come to believe certain things about customers because they have been told certain myths since they started their businesses. Here are four myths that need to be corrected: The customer is always right. You see these types of signs in a lot of businesses: “The customer is always right.” Sounds good, and the attitude does…

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Two McAllen Chamber Innovation Grant Winners Are H-E-B Primo Pick Finalists

A Bit About Our Champions The companies and individuals that make their way through our Innovation Programs, and who are chosen as recipients of our Innovation Grant, are always a special breed. Their passion for innovative products and their ability to turn an idea into a reality is not easily found. But once you have found a true trailblazer, you’ll know. There’s a reason why Cappadona Ranch and Nuts & Cows have been chosen as Primo Picks finalist – their products and their passion. Cappadona Ranch Established in 2012 by Victoria Barrera Cappadona, Cappadona Ranch has developed from a simple family treat into the growing juggernaut that it is today. Developing a variety of healthy, home-made products from mesquite beans, including Mesquite Bean Jelly, flour, coffee, and more, Victoria has turned a food forgotten to history into a Texas favorite. Essentially discovering the value and tastiness of mesquite beans by…

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