Author Archives: Ricardo Cavazos, VBR content editor

Ricardo D. Cavazos is a journalist and business executive who has over 30 years of experience as a reporter, editor and publisher and is currently managing allied health schools in the Rio Grande Valley and Laredo. Working for Freedom Communications, Cavazos served as editor of The Monitor for eight years and was publisher of The Brownsville Herald for 14 years. He also served as publisher of the Valley Morning Star for one year and launched two Spanish-language publications - El Nuevo Heraldo and El Extra. He is an Edinburg native currrently living in Harlingen.

Weslaco EDC Assists Businesses With Much-Needed Loans

Small businesses in Weslaco are the recipients of a special loan/grant program from the city’s EDC.

The Weslaco Economic Development Corporation has awarded 37 local businesses with financial assistance from its small business loan/grant program. The program was announced in early May to help small businesses cope with the fallout of COVID-19 hardships. The EDC said the loan/grant program helps with payroll, mortgage, rent, utilities and basic operation costs.  “The growing economy in Weslaco has based its success on the traditions set by our small business…

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Longhorn Cattle Company Is Back

Plates of hot meats and tasty sides are heaping and ready for Longhorn customers.

It was a day before the Longhorn Cattle Company reopening and owner Bill Turner was raring to go. “The fires are lit and the beans are cooking,” said Turner on June 2, the eve of his barbecue restaurant reopening after weeks of COVID-19 closure.  The San Benito mainstay business along the expressway is a destination restaurant in the Rio Grande Valley. The days of closure were long ones for a…

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Valley Businesses Regroup, Adjust To Life

Dien Nguyen says business is returning to his nail salon in San Juan. (VBR)

Adam Shidler stayed busy in the two weeks his Weslaco business was closed. Government-mandated shutdowns due to COVID-19 kept his downtown coffee shop temporarily shuttered. Shidler used the time to do maintenance and upkeep at Weslaco’s Daily Grind. Working in his shop, customers would see him inside and knock on windows and wave hellos. Weslaco’s Daily Grind’s customers missed their coffee shop – and the feelings were mutual.  “Our friends…

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Weslaco Western Store Creates New Opportunities 

Sandy Pena looks over inventory she wants to feature on her store's website.

Sandy Pena is at one of her store counters, entering inventory to soon be featured on her website. It’s early June and in downtown Weslaco the temperatures already feel like mid-August. Inside Lionel’s Western Wear & Boutique, Pena is upbeat and feeling the new possibilities in the midst of a pandemic.  “I’m not depressed or dejected at all,” Pena said. “I’m optimistic about retail. I think there’s still a place…

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Project COVID Care Helps Elderly & Disabled

Johnny Llanes and Drea Labanzat make a delivery to a resident in need. (Courtesy)

Violet Metz became concerned in March as grocery store lines grew and local governments issued shelter-in-place orders. “At my age, security is such a huge concern,” said Metz, 81, a McAllen resident. “If I really need something, will I be able to get it?” It was an extraordinary period of time in March going into April as the COVID-19 pandemic set in. The general panic being felt in the community-at-large…

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Pharr Reaches Out During Pandemic

Pharr has remained busy during COVID-19 era. (Courtesy)

The City of Pharr set up an emergency business loan program similar to other cities – and then did one better in reaching out to its community. The city established the Pharr COVID Recovery Center at its events center to handle all sort of inquiries related to the pandemic outbreak. Among those questions is how local businesses can apply for funds from the Pharr CARES Small Business Loan Program. It…

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Moonshiner Bring Slice Of Ozarks

Jerrod Leon Henry stands by his copper still in Los Fresnos.

Tape holds up a distiller’s and rectifier’s permit from the state to the front window of Jerrod Leon Henry’s emerging business. A gold 120-gallon copper still made in Tennessee sits inside of what will become the Rio Grande Distillery and Magic Valley Moonshine. It’s on Highway 100 on the outskirts of Los Fresnos. Traffic buzzes by on the way to Port Isabel and South Padre Island. Henry is bringing a…

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Pipes Turn Into Artist Canvases in McAllen

(Keep McAllen Beautiful photo)

The Rio Grande Valley is known for its irrigation pipes alongside the network of canals that have historically provided water from the river to farm fields. The pipes remain standing amid a now urbanized region with farming pushed further out from expanding city limits. McAllen is among the Valley cities that have utilized property alongside canals for hike-and-bike trails. There are more than 200 irrigation pipes in the city, many…

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San Benito Pharmacy Recommits to Community

Smiles and great customer service are the rule of thumb at the Medicine Shoppe Pharmacy of San Benito. (Courtesy)

David Garza opened his San Benito pharmacy on April 1, 1980. That same day, his wife Dorothy gave birth to their first child.  It’s 40 years later and The Medicine Shoppe Pharmacy endures. The landmark anniversary has been met by a worldwide pandemic in the spring of 2020. The COVID-19 virus has put a dent in the longstanding community pharmacy. It perseveres, however, under the primary watch of a second…

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Harlingen Loans Support Local Businesses

Small businesses in Harlingen can seek emergency loans through an EDC program to help during the COVID-19 crisis.

The rush to apply for and receive emergency federal funds during the COVID-19 crisis didn’t reach everyone. The result of the first come/first serve component of the Small Business Administration-affiliated loans is many American businesses left out of the funding loop. In Harlingen, city leaders and the economic development corporation are doing something about it. The EDC put aside $1 million in funding in establishing Harlingen’s Emergency Loan Program, HELP.…

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