Category Archives: Professional Services

Nonprofit Fosters Healing

Cindy Perez-Waddle, a licensed professional counselor, stands on the stage of a mini-theater where children can use puppets and other props to act out their feelings. (VBR)

Coming to terms with the loss of a loved one is among life’s hardest journeys. For children, the path can be especially confusing and difficult. In the Rio Grande Valley there is only one organization that specializes in helping young people travel that road to healing. The Children’s Bereavement Center Rio Grande Valley in Harlingen opened in February 2017 to foster healing for grieving children and their families. “That’s really…

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Entrepreneurial Enthusiasm

WycoTax owner Christopher Wycoco, second from right, with his team at the company’s Harlingen office. (VBR)

Christopher Wycoco was the first man to graduate from the Entrepreneur Boot Camp at the Women’s Business Center of Cameron County. This year, the Women’s Business Center nominated him for, and he received, the 2018 Minority Business of the Year Award from the Small Business Administration. A native of the Philippines, Wycoco came to the Rio Grande Valley to pursue a career as a registered nurse, taking a position at…

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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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