Author Archives: Contributor

Brownsville Scrap Paper finds cash in trash

The bottom line is not the only measure of a successful business. Keeping more than 13 million pounds of waste annually out of a landfill means success to Ruben Guerrero Jr., plant manager of his family-owned business, Brownsville Scrap Paper, Inc. The dynamics are two-fold, no matter how you say it – reuse, repurpose, recycle, upcycle.  Trash comes in; trash goes out. The lucrative business has plenty of markets in…

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Going mobile: Dr. Cynthia Garcia

“Most physicians don’t know what a physiatrist [fi-zee-AT-trist] does,” said Dr. Cynthia A. Garcia, whose Harlingen practice, Rio Physical Medicine Center, has been in operation for the past 13 years. “But boy, you want to know one.” An interdisciplinary medical specialist that originated in response to the polio outbreak in the 1930s, a physiatrist is a nerve, muscle and bone expert who treats injuries and illnesses that affect mobility. With…

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European-style bakery takes off

“We want everybody to feel at home,” said Leticia Garcia, picturing what diners should experience at the new bakery-café, Antigua. She and co-owner Brenda Araneda located Antigua in a cozy three-dining room house that seats 27 on Harlingen’s East Harrison. The café has a laidback and intimate ambience that is attracting a solid customer base built on word-of-mouth and return business. Open since mid-February, Antigua serves homemade pastries, soups and…

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Interviewing Employees

In this section we will review the second phase of the employee lifecycle- interviewing the candidate. The following are some basic guidelines that can lead to a more effective interview. Structure your interview by basing questions on job duties.  Use specific job-knowledge, situational or behaviorally-oriented questions and objective criteria to evaluate the interviewee’s responses.  Keep control of the interview and take brief notes. Prepare for the interview by holding it…

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Increasing Your Influence

If I were to tell you there is one skill, if improved upon, that would increase your influence with clients, employees, employers, friends and family more than any other skill, would you want to hear more? It is a skill most everyone can improve, yet only a very small percentage takes the time or realizes the power of improving this skill. Dale Carnegie said, “You can make more friends in…

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Fantasy Destination

“I’m a dreamer. I’m a visionary,” said Bob Harris, owner of Bobz World, where dramatic sights and sounds have sparked visitors’ imaginations for the past six years. “We have entertainment; we have fun; we have food; we have gifts,” Harris said. “I don’t know how else to describe it.” Perhaps the Valley’s most unique adventure experience, Bobz World, is the three-acre complex located along Hwy 100 just east of Los…

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Ten IT considerations

Some businesses don’t need the presence of a formal office building to be successful.  If your services are primarily delivered at your client’s place (for trades like electricians, plumbers or even professional services like bookkeeping) or if you are a sole trader or small family partnership, there are benefits and disadvantages to running your business from home.  Here are ten technology considerations for home-based businesses. The computer  Let’s look at…

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San Benito’s Water Connection

One of the most treasured commodities in the Rio Grande Valley is water, especially good-tasting, clean water. Much of the water in the Valley comes from the Rio Grande and is full of minerals and pollutants and often has an unpleasant taste. Municipalities around the Valley do a good job of cleaning up their water supplies, but the water is nevertheless mineralized – hard water. Restaurants, hospitals and families can…

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Q&A Tip Johnston

Tip Johnston, owner of CENTURY 21 Johnston Company, has been in real estate for over 30 years and is a member of the Board of Realtors in McAllen, Harlingen and Brownsville-South Padre Island. He talked with VBR’s editor about the unprecedented, unnerving real estate market including REOs, the property held by lending institutions. Q  What is going on with the housing market in the Valley? A  The real estate market…

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Valley Fruit Boxes are a Christmas Tradition

While Pittman and Davis’ famous grapefruit has deep roots in the Rio Grande Valley, it’s the ability to adapt that has kept them in business for 86 years. “We have to keep developing new gifts. And every new gift is something else everyone has to learn,” said Andy Graham, Vice President and General Manager of Pittman & Davis. This year, they have more than 30 new gifts. To survive in…

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