Category Archives: Profiles

Teacher Receives Lifetime Award

Kelsey E. Martin

McAllen Memorial High journalism teacher Kelsey Martin will soon receive the Edith Fox King Award from the Interscholastic League Press Conference. The lifetime achievement award will be presented May 4 in Austin. She is the first journalism adviser/teacher from McAllen ISD to receive this honor. She is also only the fourth in the Rio Grande Valley. The award recognizes those people who have a life dedication to continuing the ideals…

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Mission EDC Thriving With Silva

Mission EDC CEO Daniel Silva

Straight out of college and Daniel Silva was job hunting after earning a degree in computer information systems from then-University of Texas-Pan American. His job search then led to the Mission Economic Development Corporation at their former home at the Texas Sweet Building. He started as a project manager, a job that had little to nothing to do with computers. Then in late November 2018, after a 14-year climb, Sliva…

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‘Crafty’ Approach to Business

Grain to Glass is the only craft beer venue south of San Antonio offering beer flights. (Courtesy)

While craft beers, including IPAs, are certainly gaining a foothold in the Rio Grande Valley, they still haven’t made a great deal of headway in this land of common lagers. But there’s a place that may help to expand the popularity of craft beers in the Valley. It’s Grain to Glass in McAllen, which is devoted to “Keepin’ McAllen Crafty.” After making some revisions to its original menu, the restaurant…

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Serrano Adds Boost to Weslaco EDC

Juan Jose Serrano, new EDC board member

The Weslaco Economic Development Corporation recently filled a vacancy on its board during a time when the city is experiencing robust growth and planning for additional development. Juan Jose Serrano was recently appointed by the City Commission. He fills the vacancy left as a result of the passing of businessman Rudy Cisneros. In his facility leader position as the H-E-B Retail Support Center in Weslaco, Serrano oversees 250 employees. The…

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Growth of a Spirited Business

To stay competitive, Holiday Wine and Liquor owner David Hernandez’s Rio Grande Valley business evolved from selling cold beer to a chain of full-service liquor stores. (VBR)

Fresh out of college at 23 years of age, David Hernandez saw an opportunity and then seized it. With $30,000 in hand from his relatives, Hernandez used it as seed money to open the first of what would become 12 Pop-A-Top stores in the Rio Grande Valley. The yellow stores with blue trim became ubiquitous across the region. “Coldest Beer In Town” was the Pop-A-Top signature line and Hernandez meant…

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Fresh, Tasty Tale of Success

Francesca and Carlos Hernandez team up as the beauty and the beast behind the success of a healthy food company. (Courtesy)

A beauty and beast team is riding a wave of success of almost fairy tale proportions with a line of fresh, healthy meals and other related products. On a good week, Beauty & Beast Cuisine cooks and packages in the neighborhood of 27,000 meals in its Edinburg kitchen. “It’s just been an explosion of opportunity,” said Carlos Hernandez, the beast in the partnership with his wife, Francesca, the beauty. “It…

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Discovering Guilt-free Donuts

Sophiah Rodriguez turned her personal quest for better health into a business with Keto Mini Donuts. (VBR)

In the spring of 2018, Sophiah Rodriguez was worried about her health. She was in search of something that could change the way she felt. “My health was not where I wanted it to be,” said the Harlingen native, born-and-raised. She then settled on trying a ketogenic diet, which seeks to dramatically lower carbohydrates by eliminating grains, rice, beans, potatoes, sweets, milk and fruit. The keto diet lowers insulin levels…

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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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Helping People Clean House

Ruben Balboa with furniture and other items stored in Balboa Auction Company’s new location in downtown San Benito. (VBR)

With the rapid-fire rhythm of an auctioneer’s chant, Ruben Balboa cajoles buyers to bid higher and higher amounts to acquire the merchandise up for sale. Whether selling a small piece of jewelry or a large antique chest of drawers, conducting a successful auction is an art form all its own. Balboa Auction Company of San Benito primarily conducts estate auctions and sales, although the business also holds monthly general auctions.…

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Fresh Shrimp Key to Success

Dirty Al’s restaurant business is owned and operated by the Salazar family, left to right, Cameron, Al and Ethan. (VBR)

Little did Al Salazar know that a small bait and tackle stand on South Padre Island would become a multimillion-dollar enterprise that keeps growing as time goes by. Today, the family business owns and operates seven restaurants, and is about to open an eighth eatery, Josephine. Salazar, the family patriarch who wears no fancy outfits and who often advertises himself holding a beer mug, said he opened a fishing stand…

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