Author Archives: George Cox

George Cox is a veteran journalist with more than 30 years experience as a newspaper writer and editor. A Corpus Christi native, he started his career as a reporter for The Brownsville Herald after graduating from Sam Houston State University with a degree in journalism. He later worked on newspapers in Laredo and Corpus Christi as well as northern California. George returned to the Valley in 1996 as editor of The Brownsville Herald and in 2001 moved to Harlingen as editor of the Valley Morning Star. He also held the position of editor and general manager for the Coastal Current, a weekly entertainment magazine with Valleywide distribution. George retired from full-time journalism in 2015 to work as a freelance writer and legal document editor. He continues to live in Harlingen where he and his wife Katherine co-founded Rio Grande Valley Therapy Pets, a nonprofit organization dedicated to raising public awareness of the benefits of therapy pets and assisting people and their pets to become registered therapy pet teams.

Big Increases in Sales Tax Revenue

Wind farm construction in the Raymondville area is part of what has driven sales tax revenue percentage increases. (VBR)

Ever since Raymondville posted a whopping 66-percent increase in sales tax revenue for October 2017 over the same month in 2016, the small Willacy County city has continued to see gains with percentage growth among the highest in the Rio Grande Valley. With a population of fewer than 12,000 people, the Raymondville economy took a blow when Walmart closed in January 2016, laying off 149 workers. At the time the…

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AEP Texas Builds Service Centers

The AEP Texas service center near Los Fresnos is a 32,350-square-foot building on 15 acres. (VBR)

Two large AEP Texas service centers under construction in Cameron County are expected to be up and running within a few months. “The Rio Grande Valley continues to be one of the fastest growing areas within our service footprint,” said Judith E. Talavera, AEP Texas president and CEO. “Building these new service centers will give our employees and the community improved, more resilient facilities that will allow us to continue…

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A Need to Build a Stronger Workforce

President and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas Robert Kaplan

Changing demographics and under-equipped workers in the United States are threats to economic growth that need to be addressed, President and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas Robert Kaplan said. He addressed the issue in December during remarks at the Border Economic Development and Entrepreneurship Symposium in McAllen. “The native-born workforce is going to continue to decline,” Kaplan said. “Immigrants and their children will make up more of…

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Coffee and Bicycles: An Odd Couple?

7th and Park owner Graham Sevier-Schultz with a selection of new and used bicycles.

Bicycle enthusiasts gather on weekend mornings at a coffee shop before taking off on a group ride. While sipping one of many coffee drinks on the menu, they can pick up parts for their bikes or get a little maintenance done. That’s what sets 7th and Park apart from most coffee or bicycle shops. “I always wanted to own my own business but the ideas kept changing,” said Graham Sevier-Schultz,…

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Valley Cheese Finds New Markets

Adam Thompson socializes with some of his goats and one of the family dogs.

After placing in the top 25 out of 400 entries in the H-E-B grocery store chain’s Quest for Texas Best competition, the pace of business at Thompson Dairy Farms has picked up dramatically. And, with a little luck, the farm’s goat cheese may next find a global market. Owner and head cheese maker Adam Thompson began marketing hand-crafted aged cheeses from goat’s milk at Rio Grande Valley farmers markets, where…

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Pharr Celebrates New Avocado Distribution Facility

Index Fresh Board Chairman John Grether and President and CEO Dana Thomas (holding scissors) prepare to cut the ribbon on the company’s 60,000-square-foot avocado packing and ripening facility in Pharr.

Officials break ground for Index Fresh Latin American avocados headed for tables in the United States have a new place along the border to stay cool and ripen. Index Fresh cut the ribbon on a new 60,000-square-foot packing and ripening facility in Pharr on Jan. 9. “I am just overjoyed to be here today,” Index Fresh President and CEO Dana Thomas said. “I love the new plant. If you are…

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BBQ Joints Listed Among Best in Texas

January 2018 cover

Texans love their barbecue. Whether grilling or smoking meat in the back yard, or visiting a favorite eatery, barbecue aficionados’ varied tastes and favorite cooking methods can spark lively debates as to what makes the best of the best. They may even argue about the correct spelling: barbecue, bar-b-que or simply BBQ. In the Rio Grande Valley, where dozens of restaurants large and small specialize in classic Texas barbecue, only…

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Exporting Basics for Small Businesses

Alberto Rodriguez-Baez with the Minority Business Development Center offered guidance on how American companies can become exporters. (VBR)

U.S. companies exporting to other countries is big business and small entrepreneurs can get in on the action if they can navigate a sometimes complex process to identify international markets and promote their products. “Size doesn’t matter. Small business imports are growing all the time,” Alberto Rodriguez-Baez, senior export manager for the U.S. Commerce Department’s Minority Business Development Agency, said during a presentation in Weslaco hosted by the Small Business…

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Texas Regional Breaks Ground on Corporate HQ

Texas Regional Bank President and CEO Paul Moxley gestures during his remarks at the groundbreaking ceremony for the bank’s new corporate headquarters.

As Rio Grande Valley temperatures plunged with a blast of winter weather, members of the Harlingen business community huddled together under a tent for a groundbreaking ceremony to mark the start of construction of Texas Regional Bank’s corporate headquarters. Just a few days earlier the bank opened its newest Harlingen branch in a temporary building at Stuart Place Road and Expressway 83, right next door to where the new banking…

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Business Buzz: A Man and His Bees

Bee Strong Honey owner Luis Slayton with a bee hive.

Not only are honey bees important pollinators and producers of one of nature’s great sweeteners, they can also be therapeutic, at least for people like beekeeper and Bee Strong Honey owner Luis Slayton. “When I go out and work with the bees it’s like the rest of the world slows down,” he said. “Everything seems so calm to me.” Bee Strong Honey is a family business owned and operated by…

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