Category Archives: Retail

Selling the Love of Music

Matt Perez and his wife, Debra, operate Valley Keyboards in McAllen with a passion for music. (VBR)

A lifelong devotion to the love of music drives the success of a Rio Grande Valley business that has shared that passion for more than four decades. “Everything we do and continue to do flows from our love and passion for music and music education,” said Matt Perez, president and chief executive officer of Valley Keyboards of McAllen. His wife, Debra, manages the education department of the company, which is…

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Converting Art to Boots

Henry Camargo in his shop working over leathers.

Henry Camargo dispenses with any high-tech gadgetry when it comes to making boots. After five decades of stitching, sewing, hammering and stretching leathers to make boots for celebrities and common folk alike, Camargo said he’ll stick to the time-tested basics of the craft. “I’m old school,” Camargo said at his Mercedes shop Camargo’s Western Boots on Business 83. “I do everything by hand.” By his side is his brother, Santos,…

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Upscale SPI Boutique Prospers

Barbara’s owner Remedios Villarreal takes care of work at the counter among merchandise on display. (VBR)

Some businesses come and go like the wind. Others not only survive but stay alive and prosper despite enduring one obstacle after another. Barbara, an upscale boutique on South Padre Island, falls in the latter category. The shop, owned by Remedios Villarreal, has been in business for nearly half a century and has been doing remarkably well after all those years. “I am still running Barbara,” she said. “It was…

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Sweet Business of Chocolate

Mozna Chocolate owners Anthony Matulewicz (right) and partner Hassan Mulla stand next to a cocoa bean roaster. (VBR)

Dark chocolate, rich in antioxidants and other nutrients, can have positive health benefits, according to numerous studies. After his physician recommended eating dark chocolate, Rio Grande Valley entrepreneur Anthony Matulewicz started experimented with making it in his home kitchen. Today, he is three years into a journey to turn a private passion into a viable business with Mozna Chocolate, a small but growing dark chocolate factory in the border town…

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One Stop Shopping for Fitness

Sally Balderas Bracewell helps a customer at one of All Star Nutrition’s three Rio Grande Valley stores. (VBR)

Do you need to slim down, bulk up or just fine-tune your personal health? All Star Nutrition is a one-stop shop with three Rio Grande Valley locations, precisely suited for those seeking expert guidance on everything from weight loss to sports nutrition, vitamin and mineral intake, detoxification and hydration. At the store in Pharr on North Jackson Street, co-owner Sally Balderas Bracewell said that it feels good to help customers achieve…

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Boots are Made for Walking

Ryan Vaughan was recently promoted from general manager to president and chief executive officer of bootmaker Rios of Mercedes. (VBR)

From his catbird seat of an office, Ryan Vaughan oversees three brands of boots that are made and crafted by hand every week at Rios of Mercedes. The iconic Rio Grande Valley company traces its roots back to Zeferino Rios, the father of boot making in the region. The three companies operating under one extended roof today at Rios are continuing that legacy – and doing so under the leadership…

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Cooking in the Great Outdoors

An outdoor kitchen and entertainment area with fireplace designed and installed by Grill Street. (Courtesy)

Outdoor grilling is as popular as ever in the Rio Grande Valley, with greater numbers of people taking it well beyond simply firing up a gas grill or charcoal pit on the back patio to cook steaks, ribs, chicken, vegetables and more. A fast-growing segment is expanding their options to install outdoor kitchens, some of which are as well-equipped as the indoor versions. Ruben Castillo, an architect who moved to…

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Thrift Store Helps Victims

Customers browse racks of used clothing at Repeat Performance, which is open Monday through Saturday on Jackson Street in Harlingen. (VBR)

One of the shops along Jackson Street in downtown Harlingen is a thrift store that not only recycles old clothes and other merchandise, it fosters new beginnings for victims of domestic family violence and sexual assault. The small retail outlet is operated by the Family Crisis Center of the Rio Grande Valley. “Repeat Performance generates revenue that comes back into the center to help us run the center,” said Laura…

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McAllen Toys R Us Site Redevelopment

The former Toys R Us site adjacent to La Plaza Mall in McAllen will soon undergo redevelopment by Houston-based Murdoch Capital LLC and Parkway Partners. Property plans have not reached finalization, but the partners report positive feedback in the preliminary stages of its marketing. “McAllen has a strong reputation for high retail sales volume, so we jumped at the opportunity to purchase this site as soon as it became available,” said…

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