Category: Business Spotlight

Census Scams

As 2019 draws to a close, a new decade will be here before we know it. However, as we usher in a new era, there is business to be taken care of; namely, the census. The deadline to take part in the national event is April 1, so you’re likely to hear a lot from the United States Census Bureau until then. Although the Census Bureau doesn’t limit its activity to the time around the 10-year mark (more than 130 surveys are conducted each year), this is the time consumers and scammers alike begin to pay more attention. Scammers may use census surveys as an opportunity to ask for your personal information. BBB serving the Heart of Texas is here to help you know if you’re being contacted by a legitimate U.S. Census Bureau representative. Verify their identity. If someone knocks on your door or approaches you in person claiming to be from the Census Bureau, ask to see a valid U.S. Census Bureau ID badge. There is also information a real Bureau agent or survey will never ask for, such as your Social Security number, banking information or financial data (such as how much money you have in your bank account). If you are asked questions like these, you are probably not participating in a legitimate survey. Check the return address.A quick way to see if correspondence from...

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Dreamonoids Westside HI-FI Speaker Shop

Dr. Joey Lopez, a San Antonio native, received his B.A., M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Austin in New Media, a specialized Act Lab program headed by Sandy Stone, who is well known for being one of the founders of Transgender Studies, a sound recording engineer who memorably worked with Jimi Hendrix, and a former employee of Bell Labs, which was akin in the 50s what Google is today. The core tenants of the Act Lab program were to “make stuff, take risks and be awesome” said Lopez. Lopez took that attitude to the University of...

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Mariachi Los Galleros de San Antonio

Nearly every anniversary or birthday, my family and I go to Pico de Gallo expressly for the mariachi music. We take cash, sometimes a song list and actively remind ourselves to make sure others in the restaurant have time to request songs as well. My parents are passionate about music, as I am I and we see it as an up-close concert that is worth every penny. Which is why I was more than excited to tell my parents that I was interviewing Mariachi Los Galleros De San Antonio, the 10-member mariachi band famous for including Ballet Folklorico and...

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Medicare Solutions

A diagnosis of kidney failure led former Humana insurance agent John Rivera, a Westside San Antonio, Texas native, into the complicated maze of Medicare, Medicaid, and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) Disability. The experience fueled his desire to create Medicare Solutions, Inc. in 2004. His goal? To help adults 65 and older and people with disabilities seeking assistance avoid the complex web of confusion he faced when seeking services himself. Branching out from his career at Humana into Medicare Solutions, Inc., John built a dedicated client base by offering what office receptionist Elizabeth Roque described as “above and beyond” services....

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Barrio Barista Coffeehouse

“Que Sera, Sera,” the Spanish phrase popularized from the famed Doris Day song (which translates to “What will be, will be”), is painted in blue cursive outside Barrio Barista Coffeehouse. The message sets the relaxed, familial tone of the popular coffeehouse revitalizing the Westside. Established by entrepreneur Gilbert De Hoyos, Sr. the original Barrio Barista Coffeehouse building structure has been through many iterations and two De Hoyos generations. In 1968, José De Hoyos, Gilbert’s father, bought the building and turned it into De Hoyos Meat Market. The market ran until 1983, then it “became an ice house, a bar,...

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Estilo’s Exclusive Salon

Like many young women growing up, Estilo’s Exclusive Salon owner and operator Brandy Cardenas watched, admired and emulated the women in her life. Ever since she was little, she tells me, “I would watch my mother (Elsa Sixtos) put on her makeup and do her hair before she went out and that intrigued me.” The fascination with the transforming powers of color and style grew during a visit to California to see her aunt (Elizabeth Cardenas) who also worked in the salon business, further inspiring her dream to open a salon. As a student at Lanier High School, (which...

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VIA to Give Free Rides to César Chávez March for Justice Demonstrators

Pointing across the street to the original Friedrich Air Conditioning building, César E. Chávez Legacy Educational Fund (CECLEF) Chair Ernest Martinez shows me where his father Jaime got his start as a spot welder before being recruited by IUE AFL-CIO. Eventually, Jaime Martinez rose through the ranks of the labor union eventually becoming the first Latino executive board member of an International labor union, ultimately representing 23 states west of the Mississippi. In 1966, he met César Chávez, a man who walked a similar path and would become a mentor and friend for life. César Chávez of course, was...

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La Monita Tortilleria

Selma, Texas resident Joe Valdez drives nearly 20 miles into San Antonio routinely and expressly for La Monita Tortilleria’s masa-based, fresh, never reheated fare. “If it was not good, I wouldn’t drive out so far,” he went out of his way to tell me upon realizing I was profiling the business. A sweet gentleman, Mr. Valdez is a regular and chats with the friendly staff, some of whom have worked there for 20 years, while he waits for his order. After he gets his order, they wish him a safe drive home and a wonderful weekend. He poses for...

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Hello Tallulah

A pastel blast from the past – shades of bright pink, light yellow, turquoise, pale green, lavender and baby blue saturated the walls of vintage fashion boutique Hello Tallulah and music from the 50s and 60s filled the airwaves. Dresses from the era hung on the walls, on the racks and sat on tables along with pillbox, fedora and other styles of hats, bags, brooches, necklaces and other accessories. Shoes lined sections of floor, some so artful they were prominently displayed, such as pilgrim-buckled navy and dark red dress shoes with wooden heels. Monroe, Hepburn, Bogart and Bacall’s movie posters covered the walls, alongside colorful local art and photography. The shop’s owner, Kristina Uriegas-Reyes, a San Antonio native, graduated from Incarnate Word High School and the University of Texas at Austin (where she studied writing), is as colorful as any item in her shop. A likeness of her emboldened with bright fuchsia hair, carrying Tallulah the pup (the store’s namesake), graces stickers, pillows and other advertising, demonstrating the importance and outright acceptance of self-branding. The seven years she spent in Brooklyn, New York writing for NPR, Conde Nast, BUST magazine (“Fierce. Funny. Feminist. News”) and other online publications delivering fashion, beauty and lifestyle content regularly helped inform the changing goods and services referenced in Hello Tallulah’s adjoining blog, “Twee Valley High,” which gives prospective buyers clothing, cosmetic, fashion and...

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Delicious Tamales

Both of my Grandmothers made tamales – my maternal Grandma Concha had her recipe, which used Crisco, not animal-based oils. The recipe was shared with family in a book replete with photos of her and my cousin preparing them at the family dinner table. My paternal Grandmother, Guadalupe, added raisins in hers at times. They were both hands down, better than anything you could buy, anywhere. But today, when an occasion (or just a meal) calls for traditional tamales that could rival theirs of past, I go to Delicious Tamales for their vegan black bean, corn, red pepper and...

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Folklores Coffee House

I met Tatu Herrera, the tattooed, friendly owner of Folklores Coffee House, for a $2 cup of his artisan coffee on a crisp February morning. The coffee shop is a bright cobalt blue building trimmed in fuchsia, known for its Anthony Bourdain and Julia Child mural, (painted by local artist Mike Comp, who also painted the Manu Ginobili mural on San Pedro). Tatu tells me when Bourdain passed away, it hit the culinary community hard and he wanted to pay tribute. As the former chief of the Grand Hyatt, Herrera wanted to create a “chef’s take on a coffee...

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Kenney’s Food Store

I learned about the oldest operating grocery store in San Antonio, Texas, Kenney’s Food Store while discussing San Antonio “legacy” businesses at work. Kenney’s began in June 1886 as an animal feed store by the grandparents of Mrs. Marie Kenney and was taken over in 1988 by Mr. Atilano Mendoza, an affable gentleman with kind, green eyes who used to frequent Kenney’s Food Store when it was run by Marie. He remembers the store being closed around 1pm, during the daily siesta of the hospitable owner of German heritage, whom he became friends with. When she was ready to...

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