Author Archives: Ricardo Cavazos

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.

Branding to Reach the Top

A group of Top Branding TV participants whose work has been documented on YouTube. (VBR)

Years spent in the media business made clear to Vanessa Sarabia that there is no lack of abundant young talent looking to make their mark, if only someone would give them a chance. Sarabia has a deep background in the media business that includes photography, magazines, event promotions and production of commercials. She used those platforms of experience to create a niche business that would connect to young talent in…

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Organic Growth of a Business

Russon Holbrook left an international banking and financial services career to return to the Rio Grande Valley and help build the family business. (VBR)

Russon Holbrook lived the go-go life of international banking and financial services. It meant many days away from his family, managing investment portfolios and relations with frequent trips to Mexico. In 2013, Holbrook gave all of that up and did something he vowed never to do. He returned to the Rio Grande Valley. The lure of the Holbrook farming legacy in the Valley brought him back. It started with his grandfather,…

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A Warrior for Good Health

Muniz Rio Grande Pharmacy owner Bobby Muniz in his Harlingen store. (VBR)

In 2015, Bobby Muniz was praying and holding on to hope as his wife prepared to give birth to their youngest child, Ariel. Some doctors did not give the baby girl much chance to survive long after birth, but she did, with surgeries soon to follow to bolster her health. The miracle and joy of his daughter’s birth inspired the Harlingen pharmacist and school board member to re-examine his work,…

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Idea Takes Flight Across RGV

Daniel Pompa and Bobby Saenz took an idea and built into a Valleywide chain of restaurants. (VBR)

They came from two different walks of life – the cook and retail store manager – and in a Brownsville kitchen during an Easter break, they mapped out the beginnings of a business plan. It was 2010 when Bobby Saenz, with years of retailing management experience, approached Daniel Pompa, a graduate of a culinary school, and made a pitch. “I had a vision of a restaurant – burgers, wings, country…

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A No-frills Path to Fitness

Hardknox owner Rodney McClanahan transformed his father’s auto garage into a no-frills fitness gym. (VBR)

Some of Rodney McClanahan’s best days as a youth were spent at a mechanic’s shop in west Brownsville on the Military Highway. It was from the ages of 5 through 12 that McClanahan shadowed his father, whom he described as being a “big buff dude,” as his dad repaired and tinkered with cars at Rodney’s Garage. The big Rodney would introduce his namesake to another passion – lifting weights –…

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Pressing for a Healthy Diet

Maribeny Jenis Otero’s fight against cancer led her to develop healthy products she markets at B.veggie. (Courtesy)

Maribeny Jenis Otero took a setback in her life and turned it into an opportunity to help others improve their health. Jenis is a cancer survivor and overcoming the disease meant changing her diet with an emphasis on plant-based nutrition. It would also lead her to create healthy juices she used to boost her health. When family and friends got a taste of her homemade beverages, they encouraged her to…

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Mesquite Delivers Flavor

Victoria Cappadona harvests mesquite beans from South Texas ranches to make Cappadona Ranch products. (Courtesy)

Looking out over drought-parched ranchlands in 2012, Victoria Cappadona noticed one native type of vegetation holding forth, keeping its green amidst the dryness. It was the mesquite, the indestructible and ubiquitous South Texas tree with its golden string of bean pods hanging down like ribbons. Cappadona, a McAllen native now living in the Linn-San Manuel ranch country of northern Hidalgo County, remarked to her father-in-law about the tenacity of the…

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Nutty Venture Cracks Through

Nuts and Cows owner Elizabeth Davis with products she pitched in the H-E-B Quest for Texas Best competition. (Courtesy)

Standing at H-E-B’s corporate headquarters in San Antonio, and going head-to-head with some of the top entrepreneurs in Texas, Elizabeth Davis was undeterred. The Reynosa native and former maquiladora worker started her Nuts and Cows business just three years ago with $89 and a belief that “success can come out of a crisis.” Davis spoke English sporadically growing up as a child of the border, but with a grit and…

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Valley Roots Bind Brewers

_Rice: Mission native and Army veteran George Rice is one of the founders of 5X5 Brewery. (VBR)

The 5X5 Brewing Co. of Mission touts itself as being “Battle Born, Texas Made.” On both counts, the fledging beer production and distribution company fits the bill. Four of its five owners have a military background, and its original three founders are all hometown Mission boys who grew up together. “We all have an attachment to the community,” said George Rice, a veteran of the U.S. Army, who recalls as…

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