This year’s Top 5 2017 McAllen Chamber Small Business winners all excel in their fields – along with their willingness to take risks, their determination and hard work, and most importantly passion for quality goods and services.
Best Medical Supply. Open since 1995; 15 employees
Joe Trejo and his wife joined his sister in a start-up business for durable medical equipment (DME) for wheelchairs and walkers. Listening carefully to his customers is what grew his business.
When customers asked for more surgically invasive equipment, he would add it to his increasing inventory in the stocking warehouse. Changing the course of the company and finding their specialty niche came after a local hospital engineer left a piece of equipment on consignment, which he was able to sell for a healthy profit.
“At first, I thought there was no way it was going to sell for a great profit margin. A week later the equipment was gone and I figured this is where I need to be,” he said.
“With all the new technology, the business is always changing, and it keeps me on the edge of my seat every day. I am so fortunate that I love my work. It really is fun for me.”
Trejo loves his work, and has discovered that his passion is the thrill of the hunt, finding just the right piece of equipment for his customers, 75% of whom are from Central America.
D&M Cleaners. Open since 1958; 20 employees
Marty Moore and his partner/brother Tony have a simple business philosophy: it’s all about customer relationships.
“You’ve got to build a connection with your customers,” Moore said. “You’ve got to make your customers friends first. When you do that, if any problems arise, you can deal with a friend. We’re in our third generation of customers. Getting to know all these great people is a lot of fun.”
Their goal with each garment that comes through the front door is to return it in the best condition possible, whether that entails sewing on buttons, mending rips, removing stains or just pressing it.
“We don’t want to be the average $1.50 cleaners,” Moore said. “I love what I do. It’s a passion. Being a Top 5 small business winner to me separates us from the pack. That’s what we strive for in business – to set ourselves apart. Our focus is providing our customers with a great product.”
Deutsch and Deutsch. Open since 1993; 5 locations with 75 employees company-wide
This masterful jewelry store, with locations in El Paso, Houston, Laredo, McAllen, and Victoria, is in its fourth generation of satisfied customers. The reasoning is simple.
“We sell happiness!” Ito Deutsch said. “Who doesn’t want jewelry, a watch, or some other bling?”
In truth, Deutsch and Deutsch has been in business since 1928, when Deutsch’s Hungarian grandfather opened his first store in Mexico.
“During WWI, my grandfather tried to get his family into the States, but immigrants were not allowed at the time. So the boat took them to Veracruz, Mexico,” he said. “Opening a curio/perfume store in Nuevo Laredo, they at one time were the largest dealers of French perfumes in northern Mexico and South Texas.”
Ito’s uncle owned the Joe Brand stores, which gave Ito’s father the opportunity to come to the States with the jewelry store inside the Joe Brand chain.
Morphing into the Deutsch and Deutsch jewelry stores, the chain is still family operated, with his dad and brothers running the multiple stores.
Lone Star Barbeque. Open since 1988; 2 restaurants with 30 employees
Darrell Mystra, owner, was working in a cubicle as an accountant in Dallas when his dad, in the construction business in the Valley, called him.
“Hey, let’s go to the Valley and start a barbeque business!” His dad sounded enthusiastic.
“Of course I trusted him and trusted the Lord, and so we came down here, and here is where we still are,” Mystra said. “It’s a passion for me, too. When the Lord gives you something, you do it right. I make sure I’m there at the restaurants doing it right, and I’m happy to be there.”
Now with two locations, the award- winning restaurant serves up some of the best barbeque and fixins in the Valley.
“We make our own ice cream along with different cobblers – blackberry, cherry, and peach,” Mystra said.
As a way of giving back, Mystra encourages his restaurants to act as fund raisers for different schools, churches and people who are sick.
The Valley Wedding Pages. Bought the company in 2003; 7 employees
Leticia Guerra-Cantu, owner, The Valley Wedding Pages, took over the magazine with just an assistant by her side.
“It’s amazing to realize I have been running this company for 15 years.” Guerra-Cantu said. “To be awarded this honor during this milestone year is super exciting.”
Staying in sync with weddings over the years has been a satisfying venture and has kept her creative juices flowing.
“Weddings aren’t as comparatively simple as they used to be,” she said. “They’ve grown into large productions with lighting, dancers, and entertainment. Destination weddings are also huge now.”
In order to add a long-range goal to her company, Guerra-Cantu and her husband are adding a new venture to The Valley Wedding Pages.
“We bought a hacienda, named it Capilla del Rio, and we are turning it into a new venue for weddings, which has been a dream of mine,” she said.
Guerra-Cantu is taking her company to a whole new level simply because she has followed the evolution of the wedding world and has recognized its growing trends.
The 2017 Top 5 Small Businesses are gutsy entrepreneurs with a willingness to change and grow. We applaud them all.