Belle Gonzalez-Myers has a variety of talents and is confident in utilizing all of them. She is a serious baker of all sorts of pastries and cakes. Gonzalez-Myers is also handy with a hammer.
“I’m not afraid to build things,” she said.
Her range of skills could earn a distinction of “Jack of all trades,” but she says that label does not fit her.
“I’m not a Jack,” she said. “I’m not really a Jill either, but I’m a girl, so I go by ‘girl of all trades.'”
On the corner of First and Jackson streets in downtown Harlingen, there’s Girl Of All Trades Tea & Coffee House. Gonzalez-Myers’ business has established itself in less than a year as a popular gathering place for a diverse mix of people.
Gonzalez-Myers said she can look out at different hours of the business day and see Bible classes meeting, a gathering of women crocheting and lawyers conferring with clients. In the evenings, kids hang out, playing board games.
“I just love that we bring in such a variety of people,” said the Harlingen native.
In doing so, Girl Off All Trades joins Weslaco’s Daily Grind and the Jitterz Coffee Bar of Mission as coffee houses owned and run by natives of those cities who are committed to their downtowns. At Girl Of All Trades, it becomes especially apparent on Friday evenings with live music to go with poetry readings and art displays.
Making The jump
It’s all a far cry from the more modest expectations Gonzalez-Myers had when she opened her first Girl Of All Trades in La Feria, where her husband Rodney operates his American Eagle Towing service. The physical size of the business was tiny, she said, after starting as roasting coffee locally for employees of American Eagle. The opportunity to open a business in Harlingen came in 2019. There was hesitation and more than a few nerves about doing so.
“My husband really encouraged me to do it,” Gonzalez-Myers said. “What’s the worst that can happen? If you fail, try something else. You don’t want to look back and say, ‘what if?'”
She would open in downtown Harlingen at what was once a men clothing store. It was a space considerably larger than what she had in La Feria.
“We were kind of feeling the space and what we could do with it,” Gonzalez-Myers said. “It’s been a little overwhelming just how fast the business grew.”
It did so with a mix of hand-brewed coffees and more than 60 loose leaf teas that Gonzalez-Myers can mix and match to a customer’s specifications. Her husband is the coffee roaster of the family. The downtown Harlingen business offers coffees through its 4 Dogs Roasting Company. What started as a hobby business in La Feria is now one with growing possibilities run by a girl of many trades.
“We just leaped into it,” she said. “Take a risk, work hard and see what happens.”