Author Archives: George Cox

George Cox is a veteran journalist with more than 30 years experience as a newspaper writer and editor. A Corpus Christi native, he started his career as a reporter for The Brownsville Herald after graduating from Sam Houston State University with a degree in journalism. He later worked on newspapers in Laredo and Corpus Christi as well as northern California. George returned to the Valley in 1996 as editor of The Brownsville Herald and in 2001 moved to Harlingen as editor of the Valley Morning Star. He also held the position of editor and general manager for the Coastal Current, a weekly entertainment magazine with Valleywide distribution. George retired from full-time journalism in 2015 to work as a freelance writer and legal document editor. He continues to live in Harlingen where he and his wife Katherine co-founded Rio Grande Valley Therapy Pets, a nonprofit organization dedicated to raising public awareness of the benefits of therapy pets and assisting people and their pets to become registered therapy pet teams.

Old-Fashioned Customer Service

The Eiler family, Ken, Debbie, Loretta and Bob, stand in front of the store’s new paint department.

The store is clean and modern. At the same time, it stands as a testament to an era when the local hardware store stood as a community fixture. Borderland Hardware in Mercedes is among only a handful of locally owned, old-fashioned hardware stores left in the Rio Grande Valley. Owners Bob Eilers, who recently celebrated his 90th birthday; his wife of 67 years, Loretta; and son Ken and wife Debbie,…

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For the Love of Animals

Owner Leroy Moreno with one of his personal pets, an albino Burmese python. (VBR)

Moreno’s adapts to modern pet ownership A love of animals and their care keeps Leroy Moreno coming to work every morning with a smile on his face. The enthusiasm he has for his business, Moreno’s Feed and Pet Store in Weslaco, is contagious as he talks about his passion for animal husbandry. One of six children growing up on a farm north of Donna, Moreno remembers his father, Gus Moreno,…

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Building Boats One at a Time

Cougar Marine at the helm of construction Bill Gagan started a fiberglass and composite fabrication company in a 600-square–foot shop in the Dallas area. Business boomed and his company became one of the largest fiberglass and composite fabrication companies in the world, operating out of a 115,000-square-foot building. Gagan holds several patents and copyrights and has fabricated high-speed racing boats, race car parts, components for Disney attractions, signs for franchise…

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A Pro Teaches Home Cooks

McAllen Culinary Academy makes cooking comfortable Food excites Chef Marcel, and he shares that enthusiasm with cooks who turn to him to sharpen their skills in the kitchen. The McAllen Culinary Academy may sound like a school for cooks wanting to become professional chefs, but that’s not what inspires Marcel. “I’m not looking to teach professional cooks,” Marcel said. “I am more for people who want to better themselves for…

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Venues Connect with Valley’s Past

A handful of event centers in the Rio Grande Valley set themselves apart from the crowd by offering venues steeped in the history and heritage of Deep South Texas. From historic buildings to outdoor settings, these businesses specialize in helping customers plan everything from weddings to corporate gatherings. The businesses featured here represent a small sampling of venues that reflect the heritage and natural beauty of the Valley.   Villa…

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Sweet Business: A Natural Approach to Success 

Wicked Good owner Jonathan Hogan added on to his house to create storage space for his growing product line. (VBR)

Wicked Good keeps it fresh and local After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in psychology, Jonathan Hogan began applying for graduate programs and wondering how he would be able to pay for it. With time on his hands, he began experimenting with making marmalades, jellies and jams in the kitchen of his Mission home. At one point his father weighed in that the marmalade was so good he felt wicked eating it. Thus Hogan’s company Wicked Good was…

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Digital Beach Bums Promote the Island 

Jerry Wilson updates a Facebook page from his home office. (VBR)

Live web cams attract valuable audience A video of a large alligator cruising near the Laguna Madre shoreline on South Padre Island generated more than 70,000 online views in three days. That’s as good as gold for Jerry and Jackie Wilson, owners of South Padre Network, a digital business the Wilsons operate from their home. The Wilsons posted the alligator video, captured by their web cam at Sea Turtle Inc. on Facebook. The…

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From Warship to Scrap and Beyond

Old Ships Build the Future International Shipbreaking Ltd. CEO Chris Green moves among employees with ease, greeting them with waves, smiles and handshakes. Walking across the hangar deck of the aircraft carrier USS Independence, he stopped to talk with two workers. “How’s your boy doing?” he asked one man whose son had been experiencing health problems. “We have a group of really hard-working people around here,” Green said. “They are our greatest asset.” The USS Independence is the most…

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For Love of Strings

Cremona House owner Miguel Gutierrez celebrates the opening of his stringed instrument store July 13 with the Harlingen Chamber of Commerce,

New store offers stringed instruments, lessons A Valley Symphony Orchestra viola player has opened a new business in Harlingen to share his love of stringed instruments. The Harlingen Chamber of Commerce hosted a ribbon cutting and grand opening on July 13 for Cremona House, the venture started by 29-year-old Miguel Gutierrez. The name comes from the Italian city in the Lombardy region known for its tradition of violin-making. Cremona House…

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Communicating with canines 

  Learning communication skills is at the heart of a fast-growing business venture in north Edinburg. RGV K9 Training Centre owners Marty and Leslie Vielma share a passion to help canines and humans learn how to communicate with each other. “People love their dogs so much but sometimes they just can’t figure out how to communicate with them,” Leslie said. “They just don’t understand how to talk to their dogs.”…

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