Category Archives: Profiles

Weslaco Builds on its History

A registered historic landmark, the Villa de Cortez is a centerpiece of the redevelopment of downtown Weslaco. (Courtesy)

In a 1950s-era two-story white building “smack in the middle of downtown Weslaco,” as Mario Mendiola describes it, the realtor is trying to make a go of a major renovation project he hopes will give the city’s core a boost. “There’s so much potential in this area,” Mendiola said of his two-year effort to renovate a six-decades-old building on the corner of Texas and Sixth streets. “I want to help…

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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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Manufacturer Unique in Valley

Texas Thread owner Kavanaugh Francis operates a manufacturing business that is unique in the Rio Grande Valley. (VBR)

A nondescript metal building with a faded sign along an industrial/commercial stretch of Wilson Road in Harlingen houses Texas Thread, a manufacturing enterprise that is unique in the Rio Grande Valley. “We are the only thread maker in the Valley,” owner Kavanaugh Francis said. “Actually, we are the only one west of the Mississippi because most of our competitors are in the east in states like the Carolinas. And, being…

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Custom Raspas for a New Age

Ashley Vasquez knows what it’s like to start small. “We started with a shack,” Vasquez said of Iced Cube, the millennial-inspired version of a raspa stand she and her husband, Jonathan Segura, started in Elsa in June 2018. “It was the most humble beginnings you can think of.” Iced Cube didn’t stay humble for long. Tapping into pop culture, social media and offering flamboyant creations that transform old-school raspas into…

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TSTC welcomes new police chief

Eduardo Patiño

Eduardo Patiño was recently promoted and named Texas State Technical College’s newest police chief. Patiño celebrates 10 years at TSTC in June, serving as sergeant for the force for the past six years. TSTC Police Commissioner Aurelio Torres says Patiño was one of six candidates selected and interviewed on competences identified as critical for a college police chief. “Patiño has made an impact since day one,” said Torres. “His experience in…

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Larralde to Lead Edinburg Chamber

Noe “Ronnie” Larralde

On Jan. 7, the Edinburg Chamber of Commerce board of directors made the announcement that Noe “Ronnie” Larralde will lead the organization as its new executive director. Larralde, who served as the interim executive director since September, replaces former president Letty Gonzalez. Prior to his appointment, Larralde served as the director of Marketing and Special Events for seven years. Prior to joining the chamber in 2012, Larralde worked at First National…

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This Golf is High-Tech

A player at Topgolf in Pharr reacts to one of his shots. (VBR)

Topgolf is not so much about golf as it is a technology-driven entertainment experience. In fact, more than half of the people who visit Topgolf venues are non-golfers. And only eight percent classify themselves as avid players of the game. The new Topgolf in Pharr, the 50th location in the franchise, features three levels with 72 stations from which to whack balls out into a large area filled with targets.…

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Turn an Idea Into a Business

Business consultant Michael Wilson meets with a group of aspiring entrepreneurs to discuss how to develop a solid business plan. (VBR)

No matter how good the idea or how big the dream, passion and detailed planning are critical components of starting a new business. That was the message from Michael Wilson, who recently presented one in a series of Small Business Administration workshops dedicated to guiding aspiring entrepreneurs through a process of turning an idea into a viable enterprise. Wilson is chief operating officer of CM Institute of Leadership, a company…

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SBA Administrator Visits RGV

WycoTax owner Christopher Wycoco presented a bouquet of flowers to SBA Administrator Linda McMahon on her visit to Harlingen. (VBR)

Linda McMahon and her husband took a small regional business and built it into a multinational powerhouse brand known as WWE. For non-wrestling fans, that stands for World Wrestling Entertainment, a media and entertainment company primarily known for professional wrestling. Active in WWE from 1980 to 2009, serving as president and CEO, McMahon left the company to mount two unsuccessful runs for the U.S. Senate in her home state of…

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