Category Archives: Professional Services

Summer Camps Keep Kids Busy

JHK Equestrian Country Club owner Jamie Ricks instructs a student in the riding arena. (VBR)

When the final school bell rings in the summer break, many parents turn to private businesses for programs to keep their children active through new experiences. Throughout the Rio Grande Valley there are dozens upon dozens of summer camps offering just about any activity that catches a youngster’s fancy. From horseback riding to physical fitness and art to academics, these businesses offer year-round classes in their fields, but come summer…

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Historic Valley Funeral Homes

Raymondville’s David Wittenbach now operates one of the oldest family-owned funeral homes in the Rio Grande Valley. (VBR)

Most funeral homes in the Rio Grande Valley are located in the more heavily populated cities like Brownsville, McAllen and Harlingen, with many of them owned by large corporations. But a few are still family-owned and operated. The small Willacy County city of Raymondville has two of them, down from three just a few years ago. Duddlesten Funeral Home and Good Shepard Funeral Home are both located along West Hidalgo…

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Three Generations of Protection

Owner Jeremy Holden with a manually operated shutter often used by businesses for security. (VBR)

There are only a handful of locally owned home shutter companies in the Rio Grande Valley, and Holden Security and Storm Shutters is probably the oldest one around. “I am third generation,” said Jeremy Holden, who has run the company founded by his grandfather ever since his father died 11 years ago. “I started right out of high school so I’ve really been in this business for 21 years.” The…

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Landscape Design: Beauty and Function

Andrew Heffner used native plants help this residential landscape design fit into the natural surroundings. (Courtesy)

While working for the city of McAllen as a landscape architect, Andrew Heffner realized the region could support a full-time business that catered to commercial, residential and public clients who needed a landscape architect. Five years ago, he opened Heffner Design Team as a one-man operation. Today he heads a full-time staff of four designing landscapes with the aim they be “beautiful, functional and meet the client’s budget.” Licensed by…

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Demand Grows for Dog Day Care

doggie day cares

At daycare facilities across the Rio Grande Valley, kids can be found playing ball, catching Frisbees or splashing in a swimming pool, and then maybe taking a good, long nap. Except these children are of the four-legged variety. Dog daycare is a growing segment for many dog-boarding businesses to meet the demand for short-term canine care. More and more dog owners are turning to daycare to avoid leaving their pets…

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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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Personal Touch Secures Customers

Smith Security technician Alvin Lopez installs a security system control panel at a Weslaco business. (VBR)

  As technology races ahead by leaps and bounds, one thing never changes when operating a business. In the end it’s all about customer service. Across the Rio Grande Valley there are several locally owned companies offering residential and commercial security systems, and they all say their success is grounded in connecting with customers. Unlike some national security companies that contract with sales representatives and service technicians, these businesses take…

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A Lifetime of Designing

Architect Calvin Walker of WPA stands in the Brownsville Library's Space 14s (Space for Teens), which he designed as an internet resource center. (VBR)

As a young architect, Calvin Walker left Louisiana to work in the Rio Grande Valley for a year.  Fifty years later, he is still designing buildings from his Brownsville office. In the interim, he worked for 30 years at various iterations of the large architectural firm SHW, rising to vice president and partner in charge of Brownsville. In 1997, he declined to relocate and started Walker Perez Associates with Carlos…

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Family ‘Goes Green’ with Recycling Business

Ruben Geurrero Jr. inspects a bale of plastic bottles before it is shipped out for recycling.

Recycling in the Rio Grande Valley may not be as prevalent as it is in other parts of the state and nation, but for 37 years a Brownsville family has been “going green” to make a living. Owned and operated by Ruben Guerrero Sr., his wife Rosa, and sons Ruben Jr. and Rolando, Brownsville Scrap Paper on FM 511 not far from the Port of Brownsville, the business buys, sells…

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A Pro Teaches Home Cooks

McAllen Culinary Academy makes cooking comfortable Food excites Chef Marcel, and he shares that enthusiasm with cooks who turn to him to sharpen their skills in the kitchen. The McAllen Culinary Academy may sound like a school for cooks wanting to become professional chefs, but that’s not what inspires Marcel. “I’m not looking to teach professional cooks,” Marcel said. “I am more for people who want to better themselves for…

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