Page 1

COASTAL BEND BUSINESS

TASTE OF SUCCESS

MAGAZINE

ARA BABOS

ATMOSPHERE OF ENCOURAGEMENT CROSSFIT GORILLA DEN

TIMELESS ELEGANCE THE COSMOPOLITAN OF CORPUS CHRISTI

INSPIRED STYLE JESSICA SALINAS

JAN.FEB 2018 I N S P I R E C O A S TA L B E N D M A G . C O M

1


2

I N S P I R E C O A S TA L B E N D M A G . C O M


The Reserve at Dancing Elk is Under New Management

Yvette Terrell-Johnson New Venue Coordinator/Sales & Marketing 361-946-4812 | YvetteJ.DancingElk@gmail.com Chef Angela M. Gomez | 361-229-3338 ChefGomez75@yahoo.com

313 County Road 351 | Mathis, TX 78368 | Conveniently Located Off Interstate 37 www.thereserveatdancingelk.com

@ thereserveatdancingelk I N S P I R E C O A S TA L B E N D M A G . C O M

1


2

I N S P I R E C O A S TA L B E N D M A G . C O M


when you land, you’re home WHY ... COMMUTE? WAIT IN LINE? GET STUCK IN TRAFFIC?

SOUTHWEST | UNITED | AMERICAN | WWW.FLYCCIA.COM I N S P I R E C O A S TA L B E N D M A G . C O M

3


ART THE BUILDER . COM VISIT ART THE BUILDER.COM TO SEE CONSTRUCTION SERVICES OFFERED BY ART RAMIREZ 4

@ art the builder

I N S P I R E C O A S TA L B E N D M A G . C O M


WANT A CHEAPER ELECTRIC BILL?

Why Choose us: Our customers come first. The Stellar Energy Solutions and Hudson Energy support team is made up of people who understand the industry and care deeply about helping you in every way. We are here for you.  Dynamic Pricing: We have several clear advantages over other suppliers, including market experience and purchasing power, which add up to more value for your business.

 Environmentally Sound: We see the big picture. As an industry leader, it's our responsibility to explore green energy product options and offer affordable ways for companies to reduce their environmental impact.

 Energy Advisors: Our team of industry specialists will work with you to create an energy solution that meets all of your company's needs from budget to roll-out and support.

 Fully Integrated Partnership: Stellar Energy Solutions partners with Hudson Energy because our business values align. There is a mutual trust in our white glove approach to serving your business needs.

361.884.8973 | www.stellarnrgsolutions.com

I N S P I R E C O A S TA L B E N D M A G . C O M

5


CONTENTS JANUARY.FEBRUARY 2018

20

BUSINESS COACH 10 Good Business SPECIAL FEATURE 12 Stellar Service FEATURES 14 New Year, New Business! 16 A Resolution You Can Keep 18 Superior Service REAL ESTATE 40 What Buyers Want TASTE 42 A Man of Taste 44 Enjoy the Flavor

42

INSPIRED STYLE 46 Jessica Salinas NONPROFIT 50 Making an Impact 52 Resolve to Make a Difference COVER AND TABLE OF CONTENTS PHOTOS BY: DARKLAB

20 COVER STORY ARA BABOS

Bringing authentic flavors and diversified dishes to the city’s south side, Ara’s EuroFusion echoes this restaurateur’s lifelong passion for food.

6

26

32

CROSSFIT GORILLA DEN

THE COSMOPOLITAN OF CORPUS CHRISTI

LOCAL BUSINESS SPOTLIGHT The high-intensity gym provides a familyfriendly atmosphere of encouragement, inspiring students to rise to new challenges every day.

I N S P I R E C O A S TA L B E N D M A G . C O M

LOCAL BUSINESS SPOTLIGHT

As part of the revitalization of downtown, these elegant new mid-rise apartments promise a host of amenities to downtown residents.


I N S P I R E C O A S TA L B E N D M A G . C O M

7


MEET THE STAFF More Ga me More Rid s. es More Foo . d MORE FU . N!

COASTAL BEND BUSINESS

MAGAZINE

JANUARY.FEBRUARY 2018

ADRIAN GARZA

CO-PUBLISHER EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF SALES adrian@ inspirecoastalbendmag.com 361.548.1044

CO-PUBLISHER EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF SALES Adrian Garza

CO-PUBLISHER EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF OPERATIONS Holly Lewis Duvall

EDITOR Erin O’Brien

ART DIRECTOR HOLLY LEWIS DUVALL

CO-PUBLISHER EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF OPERATIONS holly@ inspirecoastalbendmag.com 479.935.0868

Make t ex o Y ur N eeting M s s e nt Busin pany Eve r! m e Or Co Rememb o T n e e v t On our E Plan Y day! To

Games Go Karts Mini Golf Bumper Boats Batting Cages Rides, Ropes Course, Bungy Dome and More! Delicious Food Plus Beer & Wine Too!

EDITOR erin.editorial@gmail.com

and request more information 9605 S Padre Island Dr. Corpus Christi

Morgan Bartel

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Mandy Ashcraft Kristen Bily Jessica Dusek Dr. Coral Dworaczyk Connie Laughlin Trista Martinez Kathleen Naderer Sylvia Slezak Kelly Trevino Sarona Winfrey Dayna Mazzei Worchel

PHOTOGRAPHY DarkLab Dustin Ashcraft MC Studio Workz Aaron & Andrew Medina Eric von Wade Photography

ELISA GIORDANO ART DIRECTOR thatgirl@elisagiordano.com 210.716.5320

www.inspirecoastalbendmag.com For advertising information, please call 361.548.1044 or email adrian@inspirecoastalbendmag.com. For editorial comments and suggestions, please call 479.935.0868 or email holly@inspirecoastalbendmag.com.

361-937-9400 Funtrackers.com

SOCIAL MEDIA

ERIN O’BRIEN

Call

or Visit

Elisa Giordano

MORGAN BARTEL SOCIAL MEDIA morgan@ inspirecoastalbendmag.com 620.417.5392

PELICAN

MEDIA GROUP

Copyright 2018 © Inspire Coastal Bend Magazine. All rights reserved. Reproduction without the expressed written permission of the publisher is prohibited.


Give BACK

Change Your Life...and Someone Else’s too! Offer ends November 30, 2017 and refers to new loans only. A new loan is deened as one not currently nanced at CCATCU. A disbursed loan of $10,000 or more is required to be eligible for the incentive. Charities must have a 501(c)3 designation. Other restrictions may apply. Offer cannot be combined with any other offer. Funds Federally Insured by NCUA.

Start Today. Visit myccatcu.com


BUSINESS COACH

GOOD BUSINESS Bundle up – professionally speaking. By: CONNIE LAUGHLIN

WHAT’S IN YOUR BUNDLE? Profitability depends on successful executive initiatives and operations management. So there’s no time like the first quarter to put great things into play. A key initiative in business ops for 2018 is the bundled human resources (HR) solution that streamlines a business with best practices and ensures proven risk-management strategies all in one sweep. We frequently hear about the bundling of various insurance, financial, communications and health care services and products. Soon to be mainstream is the service of professional employer organizations (PEOs). PEOs are the bundlers of effective and efficient payroll administration, including state-of-the-art time-keeping solutions, workers’ compensation insurance and claims management, unemployment claims management, safety programs and robust HR solutions, which are required elements of a proactive company that’s keen on profitability.

NOT MUCH SHOULD TAKE PRIORITY OVER SETTING UP A LEGALLY COMPLIANT HR STRUCTURE IN ONE’S BUSINESS.

10

BUNDLE HR There’s a slim-to-none chance business owners have the training, certifications and time on hand to appropriately address the HR needs in their company. Since they’re not trained in this area, they don’t know what their business is missing. So the sure-fire way to incorporate the infinite advantages of a business with healthy and compliant HR is to outsource this stuff to the pros. Another reason the HR bundle works so well for the small to medium-sized business is this provider (PEO) has shared liability. No one can better protect a business than someone with shared skin in the game, especially if it’s a highly accredited and credentialed PEO with the proven business acumen and financial wherewithal. It’s not easy to staff highly credentialed and certified personnel with the tenured experience and professionalism to handle HR for a business of two to 200 employees, and it isn’t cost effec-

I N S P I R E C O A S TA L B E N D M A G . C O M

tive – they don’t come cheap. It’s good business to ensure you’re legally protected while implementing worksite policies and procedures that provide positive employee morale. Recruit and encourage a higher level of employees to your place of business by providing the most robust benefits offering you can afford. If a full-blown health care plan isn’t affordable, you might want to offer alternative plans that don’t require your participation. RISK MANAGEMENT Not much should take priority over setting up a legally compliant HR structure in one’s business. Neglectful HR management isn’t always intentional, but too often, it’s the norm. Quite frankly, it puts you in behind in obtaining goals, causes chaos in the workplace and ups the ante in multiple areas of risk. If you’re outsourcing your HR, ensure you’re working with a highly accredited PEO that has ESAC certification (it’s like FDIC for the banking industry). Review PEO credentials at Napeo.org. Another verified risk-management strategy is to partner with a PEO that is a “certified” self-insured workers’ compensation insurance provider. A “certified” self-insured workers’ compensation insurance program has been proven to offer the best experience modifier protection due to their stringent claims administration and an enhanced safety protocol. There is only one PEO in Texas that meets this criterion, and it is headquartered in Corpus Christi: UniqueHR.

Connie Laughlin is a business consultant for UniqueHR. For more information, you may contact her at 361-852-6392 or conniel@uniquehr.com.


䄀 䐀䔀匀吀䤀一䄀吀䤀伀一 圀䔀䐀䐀䤀一䜀

圀䤀吀䠀伀唀吀 吀䠀䔀 吀刀䄀嘀䔀䰀⸀

圀 攀搀搀椀渀最猀 䄀吀 倀伀刀吀 刀伀夀䄀䰀 伀䌀䔀䄀一 刀䔀匀伀刀吀

圀椀琀栀  漀瘀攀爀  㐀     猀焀甀愀爀攀  昀攀攀琀  漀昀  洀攀攀琀椀渀最  猀瀀愀挀攀  愀渀搀  愀渀  漀甀琀猀椀搀攀  瀀漀漀氀  瀀氀愀琀昀漀爀洀  愀爀攀愀  瀀愀椀爀攀搀 眀椀琀栀 漀甀爀 戀攀愀甀琀椀昀甀氀 戀漀愀爀搀眀愀氀欀 琀漀 琀栀攀  戀攀愀挀栀Ⰰ  倀漀爀琀  刀漀礀愀氀  伀挀攀愀渀  刀攀猀漀爀琀  椀猀  琀栀攀  瀀攀爀昀攀挀琀 挀栀漀椀挀攀 昀漀爀 礀漀甀爀 戀攀愀挀栀 眀攀搀搀椀渀最⸀

䌀愀氀氀 甀猀 琀漀搀愀礀 琀漀 猀挀栀攀搀甀氀攀 愀渀 愀瀀瀀漀椀渀琀洀攀渀琀  琀漀 最攀琀 猀琀愀爀琀攀搀 瀀氀愀渀渀椀渀最 礀漀甀爀 猀瀀攀挀椀愀氀 搀愀礀⸀

㌀㘀㄀⸀㜀㐀㤀⸀㌀㜀㄀㘀     簀     倀伀刀吀ⴀ刀伀夀䄀䰀⸀䌀伀䴀     簀     㘀㌀㄀㜀 匀吀䄀吀䔀 䠀䤀䜀䠀圀䄀夀 ㌀㘀㄀ ∠ 倀伀刀吀 䄀刀䄀一匀䄀匀Ⰰ 吀䔀堀䄀匀 㜀㠀㌀㜀㌀ I N S P I R E C O A S TA L B E N D M A G . C O M 11


SPECIAL FEATURE

STELLAR SERVICE

Meet the Stellar Employee of the Month, Jeff Blue, recognized for excellence in service. SPECIAL TO INSPIRE COASTAL BEND

STELLAR ENERGY SOLUTIONS: INTEGRITY. CHOICE. SERVICE.

S

tellar Energy Solutions embarks upon 2018 striving to provide the most comprehensive energy savings solutions to local and area businesses and residents. Our branding elements are integrity, choice and service, as we continue to serve our community in Corpus Christi and the greater Coastal Bend. As such, it is fitting to recognize Business Development Consultant Jeff Blue, who enjoys “working one-on-one with customers and watching their businesses get better, knowing you had a hand in it.” Blue came to Stellar Energy Solutions with a strong sales background in farming. He says he is “glad to be working in an industry that isn’t going away, since customers will always need electricity.” His wife, Robin, is a business owner, and Jeff sees firsthand the impor-

tance of running operations efficiently. Related to his work in energy, he insists, “From what I have seen in the field, you must get with someone you trust and get educated on their products.” Blue’s clients demonstrate their satisfaction with the service he provides through Stellar Energy Solutions, as they continue to send him referrals. Congratulations to Blue on being recognized for excellence in service. The New Year brings with it wishes of goodwill and hope for prosperity, good health, joy for all. Stellar Energy Solutions would like to wish you and yours a successful 2018!

For any and all your electricity pricing needs, please contact Jeff Blue at jeff@stellarnrgsolutions.com.

12

I N S P I R E C O A S TA L B E N D M A G . C O M


Every business is different. We get that. That’s why we provide unique investment levels, designed to help you right where you are. Don’t just take our word for it.

Research Shows... Consumers are 63% more likely to buy from a business that is a Chamber member. Companies enjoy a 49% increase in consumer favorability rating for being a member of the Chamber.

Membership is valuable & affordable, with investment starting at less than $42 per month

Consumers are 73% more likely to be highly aware of a business if it is a member of the Chamber, and 68% more likely to think positively of its local reputation. 7/10 consumers believe that being actively involved in the Chamber is an effective strategy for enhancing a business’ reputation and for demonstrating that it uses good business practices. Source: Shapiro Group, Atlanta, GA

The United Corpus Christi Chamber is your... PARTNER IN PROMOTION

Increase your visibility, get the word out, gain access to cost-effective and often free advertising for your business.

CONNECTION BUILDER

United Corpus Christi Chamber of Commerce 602 N. Staples Street, St. 150 Corpus Christi, TX 78401

Looking for leads, networking and business showcase opportunities? You’ve come to the right place.

(361) 881-1800

BUSINESS ADVOCATE

For more information on Chamber membership contact Efrain Franco,

We are your voice on issues that affect business and we maintain direct contact with leaders in all levels of government. When you need change, we make change happen.

efrain@unitedcorpuschristichamber.com

WWW.UNITEDCORPUSCHRISTICHAMBER.COM I N S P I R E C O A S TA L B E N D M A G . C O M

13


FEATURE

NEW YEAR, NEW BUSINESS!

Rejuvenate your business in 2018 with these New Year’s resolutions from the BBB. By: KELLY TREVINO or networking group. Speaking with industry colleagues can give you new ideas and create connections to position you as an industry leader.  Set realistic goals. What does success look like for your business? Do you have an annual revenue goal? Do you want to grow your customer base by 25 percent in 2018? Are you looking to expand your service area? In 2018, set SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, time-based) goals, and plan what strategies you need to employ to achieve your goals. SMART short-term goals can be the key to long-term success.

Here are some of the top resolutions to incorporate into your business’s plan for 2018:  Learn how to delegate, and do more of it. Small business owners wear many hats, and this can cause business owners to become overwhelmed. To avoid burnout, create a comprehensive list of

USING SOCIAL MEDIA IS A GREAT WAY TO MARKET YOUR BUSINESS.

tasks, and determine what tasks can be delegated to increase your own productivity. Set aside time for your own personal recharge or refresh, too. Your business will thank you.  Continue marketing, and incorporate promotions. To grow your business in 2018, remember to keep promotions and marketing efforts fresh. Take the time to create a monthly marketing and promotions schedule that incorporates special offerings, advertising or special events, and stick to it. If marketing isn’t your area of expertise, consider hiring a marketing expert, whether on a contract basis or as fulltime staff.  Join a new business organization

 Build your online presence. If you don’t have website, get one! There are many online and budget-friendly solutions to building a simple, effective website. If you have a website, be sure to update your hours of operation and contact information, and review your privacy policies. Using social media to interact with your customers and provide contact information is another great way to market your business.

For more important business advice, visit bbb.org or our independent blog, watchyourbuck.com. Kelly Trevino is the regional director for the Corpus Christi office of Better Business Bureau serving Central, Coastal and Southwest Texas and the Permian Basin. She is available for media interviews and speaking engagements. You can reach her at 361-945-7352 or ktrevino@corpuschristi.bbb.org.

14

I N S P I R E C O A S TA L B E N D M A G . C O M

DOLGACHOV/BIGSTOCK.COM, VLADGRIN/BIGSTOCK.COM

I

t’s 2018, and we all have our own personal New Year’s resolutions. Whether your resolution is to join a gym, eat healthier or take more vacations, your Better Business Bureau (BBB) encourages businesses to make resolutions that build on successful strategies to rejuvenate your business.

 Make customer service a priority. Providing great customer service and asking for feedback is a great way to showcase the way you do business. Many consumers use customer reviews as a research tool when looking for products and services.


ÂŽ

start with US

For over 100 years, BBB has helped people make smarter purchasing decisions. Finding trustworthy businesses in your area has never been easier.

ÂŽ

Visit bbb.org to find trustworthy BBB Accredited Businesses in the Coastal Bend such as:

361.884.3511 | crockermoving.com

361.991.3252 | villaassistedliving.com

361.853.0123 | onetacc.com

BUILD LOCAL | THINK GLOBAL

361.882.9669 | snyderandassociates.com

361.444.9090 | summit361.com I N S P I R E C O A S TA L B E N D M A G . C O M

15


FEATURE

A RESOLUTION YOU CAN KEEP

This year, resolve to make a difference in the Coastal Bend while shopping at La Palmera. By: SARONA WINFREY

T

he toughest thing about New Year’s resolutions is that they’re generally not associated with something fun. Hitting the gym and getting more organized are great ideas, but it’s sometimes tough to stay motivated. So, what if you could find ways to do more to help others in the Coastal Bend community while shopping? Sound like a resolution you can stick with? Each and every year, La Palmera helps numerous organizations in Corpus Christi and beyond through its Make a Difference initiative, hosting special events and fundraisers designed to assist charitable organizations and encourage community involvement. In fact, you may have already helped and not even realized it. Ever toss a coin in the Center Court fountain? If so, you’ve already taken part in the Change for Charity program. At the end of each month, La Palmera donates all change collected from the fountain to a selected local nonprofit group. Since 2010, La Palmera has been able to provide more than $60,000 through the generosity of its shoppers to more than 20 different local charities. Organizations interested in applying must meet certain eligibility requirements and submit an application, all of which can be found at lapalmera.com. Have you had your pet’s photo taken with the Easter Bunny or Santa Claus? In addition to getting a great keepsake photo, you’ve also helped support local animal organizations. Since 2008, La Palmera has encouraged local organizations helping animals to take part in Pet Night

events as a way to raise awareness for the work done by their organization and to share information with mall guests. La Palmera also has made regular donations to those groups from a portion of the Pet Night photo proceeds, more than $35,000 in all, including the Gulf Coast Humane Society, Paws Up, For the Love of Strays, Mission Pawsible, Kanines and Kitties, Pets and Animals Life Shelter (PALS) and The Cattery. Maybe you’ve had a present giftwrapped at the mall around Christmas or other holidays, such as Valentine’s Day or Mother’s Day? La Palmera’s Charity Gift Wrapping program has been a successful way to not only provide a great service for shoppers, but also a way for local groups to raise much-need funding – more than $50,00 to date – as all donations for the gift-wrapping go directly to the volunteer organization providing the service. Some of the groups benefiting from your generosity over the years include:  Big Brothers Big Sisters of South Texas  Ronald McDonald House  Bikes for Kids  American Red Cross  The Deaf and Hard of Hearing Center  CASA of the Coastal Bend  Dress for Success Corpus Christi If you’ve ever cast a ballot for your favorite decorated tree at the Forest of Giving, then you’ve helped. Each year during the holidays since 2012, shoppers have voted for their favorite tree representing a local organization, with the winning tree and organization re-

ceiving a donation from La Palmera. Over the years, more than $10,000 has been donated to Forest of Giving winners, including Brooke’s Blossoming Hope for Childhood Cancer, Mission Pawsible, Bikes for Kids, Del Mar College Vikings Alumni Association and For the Love of Strays. In addition to holiday programs, La Palmera also works to assist with local disasters, including continuing efforts for victims of Hurricane Harvey through the United Way of the Coastal Bend–Disaster Relief Fund benefiting victims in the local service area: Nueces, San Patricio and Bee Counties, including the towns of Port Aransas, Aransas Pass, Rockport, Ingleside, Gregory, Taft, Beeville, Ingleside-on-the-Bay, etc. Shoppers and the community are encouraged to donate by texting HARVEYHELP13 to 30306, or by going online to https://app.mobilecause.com/vfu/HARVEYHELP/team/LaPalmera. Donations are being matched – up to a total of $150,000 – by La Palmera’s owner, Miller Capital Advisory Inc., and the mall’s management group, Trademark Property Co. La Palmera also partners annually with local groups and organizations to host special events, at the Community Booth and throughout the mall property, designed to raise both awareness and funding for important causes, such as blood drives, Ready. Set. Gold. spotlighting pediatric cancer, as well as Breast Cancer Awareness Month. The mall also has other opportunities for community involvement, such as its popular Summer Concert Series and Santa’s Arrival party providing local groups a platform to gain exposure, as well Tide Turners Kids Club for kids 5 and under, and Wave Walkers, designed for health-conscious mall walkers, both with free monthly events open to the public. So, remember that in addition to finding the perfect buy at La Palmera, your next trip to the mall may also provide you with the perfect way to get more involved in your community and help others.

EACH YEAR, LA PALMERA HELPS NUMEROUS AREA ORGANIZATIONS THROUGH ITS MAKE A DIFFERENCE INITIATIVE.

For more information on La Palmera, go online to www.lapalmera.com, visit us on Facebook or call 361-991-3755.

16

I N S P I R E C O A S TA L B E N D M A G . C O M


SAVE THE DATE FOR OUR ANNUAL

DR. HECTOR P. GARCIA BIRTHDAY CELEBRATION

JANUARY 17, 2018

American Bank Center 1901 North Shoreline • Corpus Christi, Texas 78401 11:15 AM to 1:00 PM KEYNOTE SPEAKER DR. KELLY QUINTANILLA, PRESIDENT/CEO TEXAS A&M UNIVERSITY-CORPUS CHRISTI TICKET AND SPONSOR INFORMATION: CONTACT ANNA FLORES AT (361) 241-4535

INTERSTATE ALL BATTERY CENTER CORPUS CHRISTI CELL PHONE BATTERIES  Autom

otive  Cell Pho nes  Cameras   Laptop Alarm Systems  s  Solar  Fla Wheel Chair shlights  Watc h / Key Fob 4903 Ambassador Row Corpus Christi, Texas 361.854.5000

InterstateBatteriesCorpus.com Store Hours: Mon-Fri 7:30am – 6pm, Sat 8:30am – 2:30pm, Sun Closed

Facebook.com/interstatebatteriescorpus Instagram@interstatebatteries_cc I N S P I R E C O A S TA L B E N D M A G . C O M

17


FEATURE

SUPERIOR SERVICE

Summit Construction: building toward the future in the Coastal Bend community SPECIAL TO INSPIRE COASTAL BEND Photo by: DARKLAB

S

ummit Construction LLC of Corpus Christi, Texas, specializes in general contracting – specifically, in the areas of new construction, remodels and civil work. The two-man company was formed by Art Ramirez and his partner, Mark Garza, in 2014. In just three years, Summit Construction has grown to manage 80-plus subcontractors in the residential, commercial and industrial construction industries. While both owners were involved in construction most of their lives prior to forming Summit Construction, their first week in business was like a crash course: exciting, overwhelming and non-stop. The partners’ combined 14-plus years of experience in homebuilding, remodeling and house flipping motivated them to take a leap with Summit Construction, and they haven’t looked back. Their drive and joint skill quickly propelled the business forward. With degrees in both business management and  information technology,  co-founder Ramirez  ultimately followed  his passion and  pursued  a career in the construction industry. His enthusiasm for the industry – his ability to problem-solve and love of taking a project from start to finish – is something he’s proud to share with the Coastal Bend community. It’s this passion, well-rounded knowledge with experience and a strong and loyal team that Ramirez believes has contributed to Summit Construction’s success. Serving a diverse customer base from homeowners to CEOs of large corporations and everyone in between, Summit Construction prides itself on providing clients with superior customer service. “They talk to us directly. They don’t talk to a sales rep or a virtual

18

I N S P I R E C O A S TA L B E N D M A G . C O M

assistant,” Ramirez says. “We keep everybody on the same page.” Consistent, straightforward communication – whether it’s a small patio addition or a multi-million-dollar industrial project, all Summit Construction clients can expect the same level of exceptional service. As a proud accredited business with the Better Business Bureau (BBB) serving the heart of Texas, Summit Construction uses the BBB brand to help showcase their company to potential clients. Ramirez trusts in BBB’s non-biased reporting, “I felt like the BBB could hold Summit to a level of accountability.” He goes on to say that a business accredited by BBB “gives people in the community a peace of mind. It lets them know that they’re dealing with a company that has value and integrity.” Summit Construction values their clients’ satisfaction at a project’s completion and believes in delivering a great overall experience. Looking toward the future, Summit Construction has ambitions to continue building and growing its reach locally. The goals for the next few years include developing multiple subdivisions on the residential side and expanding the industrial side of the business to the oiland-gas industry. On behalf of Summit Construction, Ramirez recently accepted a position with the Corpus Christi BBB Advisory Committee. His first response to the invitation was, “How can I help?” As a small, local business in Corpus Christi, in a community where everyone treats each other as family, the motto, “Coastal Bend is a family,” holds special meaning to their business and its daily operations.

SUMMIT CONSTRUCTION PRIDES ITSELF ON PROVIDING CLIENTS WITH EXCEPTIONAL CUSTOMER SERVICE.


I N S P I R E C O A S TA L B E N D M A G . C O M

19


COVER STORY

20

I N S P I R E C O A S TA L B E N D M A G . C O M


FAVORITE

FLAVORS With a passion for food dating back to her childhood in Romania, Ara Babos brings a refreshingly diversified menu to the city’s south side at Ara’s Euro-Fusion. By: DAYNA MAZZEI WORCHEL Photos by: DARKLAB

I N S P I R E C O A S TA L B E N D M A G . C O M

21


When Corpus Christi restaurant owner Ara Babos was a child in Romania, she often spent time at her grandmother’s house, where she was tantalized with the flavors and aromas of Europe. Her grandmother’s aromas from cooking could almost always cure whatever ailed her. It was what actually helped drive Babos, who opened her Ara’s Euro-Fusion restaurant on the city’s south side in December 2016, into the restaurant business. “The story goes that my olfactory senses had to be tantalized so I should spring out of whatever ailed me,” Babos said. “Grandma was a pharmacist, and was very knowledgeable in plants and herbs.” Babos grew up in the country’s Transylvania region, a culturally diverse area of the country with rolling hills and vineyards. She experienced varied cuisines, and it awoke a thirst for gastronomy, which is seen today in many of her dishes. “Food makes people alive; it makes us happy,” she said. “A hunter’s stew with carrot and bay leaf was my favorite, along with caraway soup. I can still smell them to this day. Guess they were my faves.” Her grandmother’s knowledge and passion for food inspired a vivacious curiosity in Babos to learn about food flavors and textures. Her grandma had culinary books from all over the world, and she would read stories to Babos about people’s travels and food discoveries in other countries. Those fond memories of her grandma’s homemade food and

22

I N S P I R E C O A S TA L B E N D M A G . C O M


“FOOD MAKES PEOPLE ALIVE. IT MAKES US HAPPY.”

I N S P I R E C O A S TA L B E N D M A G . C O M

23


a desire to bring a more diversified menu full of her childhood favorites to Corpus Christi’s south side led Babos to open her second restaurant. She had previously owned Ara’s MidTown Café, closer to the downtown area, but that restaurant offered mostly sandwiches and salads with a few warm entrees, and was geared to a more corporate clientele. Babos closed that restaurant in 2015, before opening Ara’s Euro Fusion. One of the favorite dishes, Chicken a la Ara, which is a Vienna-style chicken schnitzel served with prosciutto and Swiss cheese, made the cut in the current restaurant. “At the current location, there’s a stronger European menu,” Babos said. “I have tried to feature countries from Eastern Europe, as I’m of an Eastern European heritage.” The Romanian cabbage rolls are made with a mixture of pork and beef and smoked meats, as well as sauerkraut, she said. It was difficult sourcing traditional wooden-barrel, naturally cured sauerkraut. The majority of commercial sauerkraut is made with white vinegar, which is unhealthy, and the taste isn’t the same. Ara’s offers not only European entrees, but also an abundance of American-style dishes with a twist. And the ingredients are multicultural and fused to appeal to the local clientele. “Our palates are diversifying and flavors are fused, hence the fusion in the name,” Babos said. “For example, the Asian marinated tenderloin has five imported ingredients. The Greek salad has imported creamy French feta and kalamata olives. Over 50 percent of my ingredients are imported, as I want to keep the authenticity and flavors of the dishes.” It was Babos’ dream to become a chef. Her first attempt at cooking was her version of stuffed peppers. They weren’t that great, but her mother and grandparents said they were the best peppers they ever ate. “I’ll never forget the look of shock on their faces,” Babos said. On a personal note, Babos said, “being raised by a single mother, there’s no quitting. When one formula doesn’t work, you try and try and try until you find your niche.” Babos came to Corpus Christi for family, and says she enjoys the growing and culturally diverse community. Before moving to Texas, she lived in Toronto, Canada. She moved to Canada in 1987 from Romania. She credits her mother, Dr. Adriana Pop-Moody, for much of her life suc-

24

I N S P I R E C O A S TA L B E N D M A G . C O M

“IT DOESN’T MATTER WHAT YOU DO IN LIFE – WHAT MATTERS IS HOW YOU DO IT.”

cesses. “Mom always said that she is behind me 100 percent. Always,” Babos said. “She always believed in me, and encouraged me to dream big and work hard for whatever I wanted.” According to Babos, Romania of today is very different from Romania of 1987. “My mother made this bold move to freedom primarily for me, so I could have a life of free thinking and opportunities. In Communist Romania, individuality was suppressed, and daily life was dictated by the government.” Babos’ staff – some of whom have been with her since her first restaurant opened – are also an integral part of her success. “Christopher Breunig is the current general manager,” Babos said. “He is also well known for his entertaining DJ abilities. Christopher is a people person, who prides himself on guest happiness. He thrives in networking, and with the marketing side of business. “Christopher Beasley is the current executive chef at Ara’s. He received his culinary training and schooling at the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas. He is well traveled around Europe and understands where my passion for food comes. With his extensive and diverse knowledge and experience, he expands textures and works flavors to fit the current south Texas palate.”


For more information on Ara’s Euro-Fusion, visit www.araseurofusion.com.

Her other staff include Ray Sanchez, who “has a heart of gold,” she said. “Ray is a big part of the service end of the restaurants success, as he constantly strives for perfection.” Sous chef Jennifer Makahon, “is so talented and one of the hardest-working employees,” Babos said. “Jenn’s passion for food, and her thirst for knowledge is outstanding.” Well-known Master Sommelier Catherine Fallis of Planet Grape offers wine consulting services for the restaurant. “As a woman, I want to feature more women,” Babos said. “With so many wines out there and with an expanded ingredient list, I’ve felt that I needed expert advice.” Babos, who is very committed to making her community a better place, is also a Rotarian. All Wednesday sales from Crème Brulee desserts are donated to the local Rotary Foundation, once a year in December. She also has a philanthropic side and is supporting many local and international

foundations and nonprofits. “Giving and helping others makes my heart smile,” Babos said. She often donates food to local missions and shelters. “Regardless of who you are, hunger is real, and we all feel it,” she said. Making Corpus Christi a better place to live is a responsibility that residents must share, Babos said. “I believe that our city needs help to build and expand. It is up to each one of us to embrace the community that we live in, nurture it as a one would a child and see it grow. It is a choice. Life is a choice. I learned a long time ago that it doesn’t matter what you do in life – what matters is how you do it. We are privileged to live in the United States, where we are free and we have opportunities available, which can come true with hard work and perseverance.” I N S P I R E C O A S TA L B E N D M A G . C O M

25


LOCAL BUSINESS SPOTLIGHT

26

I N S P I R E C O A S TA L B E N D M A G . C O M


TURN UP THE INTENSITY!

Inspiring students to rise to new challenges every day, CrossFit Gorilla Den offers an atmosphere of encouragement for students of all skill levels, from beginners to advanced athletes. By: JESSICA DUSEK Photos by: DARKLAB

I N S P I R E C O A S TA L B E N D M A G . C O M

27


“I LOVE

showing someone that hasn’t worked out in 20 years how to do CrossFit. I love seeing their face light up!” says CrossFit Gorilla Den Owner and Head Coach Kate Douglass. As their name indicates, “the music is always loud,” Douglass laughs. The high-intensity gym creates an atmosphere of encouragement with athletes doing the same workouts as other group members. CrossFit Gorilla Den welcomes all skill levels, from beginners to advanced athletes. In 2016, Gorilla Den expanded to their 6,600-square-foot gym, located on Leopard Street in Corpus Christi. “We are getting ready to have 24-hour access, to cater to schedules,” Douglass says. The key app will make it easier for clients when they have the time or inspiration to workout, regardless of the time of day. “We have guys that work crazy shifts (industrial and refinery) that can’t get to a CrossFit class.” So what distinguishes a CrossFit gym from other gyms? “We do Olympic weight-lifting, cardio gymnastics,

28

I N S P I R E C O A S TA L B E N D M A G . C O M


I N S P I R E C O A S TA L B E N D M A G . C O M

29


30

I N S P I R E C O A S TA L B E N D M A G . C O M


stretching and cardio – full-body workouts,” Douglass explains. Yet, when trying a new type of workout, one must be ready for the dedication. “I always ask a new member to commit 30 days,” she says. “You are going to overcome the whole new ‘what the heck am I doing with my body?’” What makes CrossFit so unique? The daily workout changes. “The workout you do today – you won’t see if for another year,” Douglass explains. Engaging a full-body workout throughout the entire workout, “every day, you are using multiple muscles. That’s why CrossFitters get stronger and lose weight so fast.” As head coach, Douglass teaches the Workout of the Day (WOD), a term well-known within the CrossFit world. “One thing about my gym: It is a family-friendly gym,” she says. “You come in here, you talk CrossFit and do CrossFit.” Different from traditional gyms, CrossFit provides classes broken down into workout segments. “When you come in, you are in and out in an hour,” she says. “We warm up together. We go over the skills for the day. We cool down together.” Each workout provides students with versatility and new challenges. With a background in corporate insurance and working for Harley-Davidson, CrossFit entrepreneurship wasn’t always on Douglass’ radar. In fact, Douglass never saw herself as a business owner overseeing a CrossFit gym. “I loved to eat, drink and travel,” she says. Her former lifestyle gave her extra unwanted pounds, which finally prompted her to join a CrossFit gym. “I started posting before-and-after pictures,” she explains, which inspired others. She then decided to pursue the certificate and became a coach. The opportunity of becoming a business

owner literally fell into her lap not long after. “Everything happens for a reason,” she says with ease. She even has a tattoo with the famous saying to serve as a reminder. She was asked by her former CrossFit coach to take over her Calallan location. Douglass decided to take the challenge. “It’s hard to find a healthy group of friends,” she says. At her gym, she is in good company and elevated health, “mentally and physically.” Douglass enjoys spreading that gift to all clients: beginners and advanced athletes. “One client is a body builder, and always hurts from all of the years of heavy, heavy training. He started doing CrossFit with me, and he loves it!” she says energetically. “It’s lit a fire within him.” The progression of one of her beginner students is also incredible. “My client couldn’t get up off the floor without assistance, but can now lift weight over her head and do weighted sit-ups,” Douglass says. Incorporating her family values into her business, both of her kids are also involved. “My son does CrossFit, and my daughter is a teen bikini body builder. She got second at her first competition.” Both work with their mom at the gym. “They’ve learned a lot,” she says. “It’s been good for them.” Also participating in Fit Fest, CrossFit Gorilla Den is participating in the second event in January. In 2016, they put on a competition in 2016 with 63 competitors, ages 17 to 67. Expecting a large attendance, the event is free. “My No. 1 rule is to have fun!” Douglass says, adding that beginners are encouraged. “Kids got to come out and see mom come out and lift weight. They see she won a ribbon and was the fastest. It was cool to see all these people show up for the first time.”

EACH WORKOUT PROVIDES STUDENTS WITH VERSATILITY AND NEW CHALLENGES.

Learn more about CrossFit Gorilla Den or visit them at Fit Fest on Jan. 6 at the RMB Fairgrounds! You can also email them at crossfitgorilladen@yahoo.com. I N S P I R E C O A S TA L B E N D M A G . C O M

31


LOCAL BUSINESS SPOTLIGHT

E M I R

P ESTM

T EN

V IN

ions, notch t a c i l app ises top- nts. g n i t p cce risti prom wn reside a d n dy a orpus Ch r downto a e r n i fo C Move politan of s elegance osmo nd timeles C ERER RAPHY e h G NAD T a N E OTO s e i t THLE ADE PH i A K n : By NW ame C VO : ERI s Photo

32

I N S P I R E C O A S TA L B E N D M A G . C O M

by


I N S P I R E C O A S TA L B E N D M A G . C O M

33


AFTER

much anticipation, The Cosmopolitan of Corpus Christi opened their doors on Halloween 2017 with 89 units move-in ready. An additional 76 units will be available upon completion of Phase 2 of the project. Located in the heart of the Downtown Marina Arts District on Chaparral Street where the old Lichtenstein building once stood, The Cosmopolitan offers its residents the very best in location and convenience. These mid-rise apartments are surrounded by popular restaurants and entertainment venues such as Urbana, Bella Luna, House of Rock, Executive Surf Club, Rebel Toad Brewing Company, the Art Center and the American Bank Center, as well as many more of the city’s best local businesses. They are also only 2.5 miles away from North Beach, the Texas State Aquarium and the USS Lexington, making them prime real estate for those who want easy access to some of the Coastal Bend’s favorite attractions. These beautiful, posh apartments are styled after the upscale, urban lifestyle typically found in larger cities like Houston and Austin, yet they manage to never lose their relaxing coastal charm. Dallas-based designer Kari Walker thoughtfully balanced the dramatic flair of bright-white walls and sleek, contemporary furnishing with neutral, earthy tones and soothing blue and green accent pieces. Enormous windows throughout the building give it an open, airy feeling and allow residents to enjoy unobstructed views of the downtown cityscape, Harbor Bridge and Corpus Christi Bay. Residents of The Cosmopolitan park in a gated, two-story garage that keeps their vehicles secure and safe from the elements. They then take the elevator to their floor and walk through air-conditioned corridors to reach their apartment. Inside each unit, they can expect to find granite countertops, stainless steel appliances and a tile backsplash in the kitchen, as well as walk-in closets, a full-size washer and dryer, raised ceilings and more throughout the unit. Applicants can choose from seven different floor plans, with various layouts for studio, 1 bed/1 bath and 2 bed/2 bath units. Rent starts at around $1,200 for the smallest unit before fees and may go to around $2,300 before fees for the largest unit. On the ground floor near the offices is a large fitness complex, which will soon offer fitness classes for residents in addition to 24-hour access to the gym’s equipment. The cabana courtyard on the second floor features a resort-style pool, as well as gas- and wood-burning grills. The second floor

RESIDENTS OF THE COSMOPOLITAN PARK IN A GATED, TWO-STORY GARAGE THAT KEEPS THEIR VEHICLES SECURE AND SAFE FROM THE ELEMENTS.

34

I N S P I R E C O A S TA L B E N D M A G . C O M


I N S P I R E C O A S TA L B E N D M A G . C O M

35


“IT’S ALL ABOUT PROVIDING THE BEST AMENITIES FOR OUR RESIDENTS.”

36

I N S P I R E C O A S TA L B E N D M A G . C O M


I N S P I R E C O A S TA L B E N D M A G . C O M

37


also features a conference room, business center and club room. The Cosmopolitan has partnered with Green Light Coffee in order to provide fresh daily coffee for residents, available all day in the club room. They have further partnered with the Bike Share Program to make it easier for residents to travel around downtown without a vehicle, and they maintain indirect partnerships with many of the local restaurants, businesses and entertainment venues. “It’s all about providing the best amenities for our residents,” said developer Gordy Paez. When his company took over the completion of The Cosmopolitan project from its previous developer in May 2016, Paez knew the project would be a worthwhile challenge. The project had remained less than half-finished for almost a year. “When I started, it was just a four-story frame of 2x4s,” he recalled. “I’d walked it for three months – every day, five days a week, once or twice a day – and tried to envision how it would look when we were finished.” His vision became reality with the completion of Phase 1. Paez became emotional the first time he left work and saw the cars of new residents parked inside the garage. “I just kept thinking, We finally got there!” he said. The transformation of the Lichtenstein building into The Cosmopolitan was a long, and at times frustrating, process that began in 2014 and has happened alongside the Downtown Management District’s revitalization of the area. “Any growth is going to have disruptions, but the city and residents are embracing it,” Paez said. “People want to be downtown, and we’re adding something here that was much-needed.” The changes and growth happening in Downtown Corpus Christi indicated that The Cosmopolitan would be a smart investment. The revitalization of downtown can be especially appealing to business executives, young professionals, empty-nesters and work-from-home types who are inclined to take advantage of The Cosmopolitan’s location. This, in turn, will help downtown’s economy grow even further. “Everybody sees an opportunity with 200-plus new residents moving downtown,” Paez explains. “They’ll be living here not only at night, but in the morning and during the weekend, as well.”

38

I N S P I R E C O A S TA L B E N D M A G . C O M


Located at 401 N Chaparral St., The Cosmopolitan is move-in ready and accepting applications. For more information or to schedule a tour of the complex, visit www.thecosmopolitanapts.com or call 361-887-0000. I N S P I R E C O A S TA L B E N D M A G . C O M

39


REAL ESTATE

WHAT BUYERS WANT

Thinking of selling your home in 2018? Here are some tips on how you can make your home the most attractive to Coastal Bend buyers. By: DR. CORAL DWORACZYK

H

KITCHENS There are some really beautiful natural and synthetic countertop and backsplash materials available right now, and it’s really interesting to see how owners are mixing woods and natural stones with more modern structures and appointments. Buyers are falling in love with marble and rich woods all over again, and they love seeing it worked into countertops or backsplashes. Backsplashes can be a relatively inexpensive upgrade, and it may be worth your time to consider a subway tile or a mosaic. Everyone still loves granite countertops, but it isn’t anything special anymore. If you are considering upgrading your countertops, consider going with something different, and not the most common “Level One” products available. You may want to consider a more exotic granite (we have some great wholesales here in our area), a quartz or even stainless steel or butcher block. If you do go with a basic granite or quartz, this may be the perfect oppor-

40

tunity to upgrade your backsplash to make your kitchen noteworthy. If you still have laminate product on your countertops (like Formica), you may want to seriously consider replacing it before you put your home on the market if you want to demand a premium sales price. White cabinetry is still very popular, but some people are opting for brighter, non-traditional colors or doing different colors on the upper and lower cabinets. However, if you are selling, be careful about limiting your pool of potential buyers by painting anything too off-neutral. I have seen some great options from some local homebuyers where the cabinets were painted a neutral and

I N S P I R E C O A S TA L B E N D M A G . C O M

YOU MAY WANT TO CONSIDER A MORE EXOTIC GRANITE (WE HAVE SOME GREAT WHOLESALES HERE IN OUR AREA), A QUARTZ OR EVEN STAINLESS STEEL OR BUTCHER BLOCK.

the island was kept as a stained wood or painted a different, but compatible color, and it was very well-received by buyers! BATHROOMS The biggest bathroom change I have seen in 10 years is the disappearance of the bathtub in the master suite. Garden tubs and whirlpools were all the rage for years, but now, people have realized that they often go unused. Most adults are shower-takers, and many would rather have a more luxurious tiled walk-in shower that a small shower and a huge tub. Buyers tend to rave about mosaic tile work, fancy showerheads and high-quality glass surrounds. Keep in

ARTAZUM LLC/BIGSTOCK.COM, DARIUSZ JARZABEK/BIGSTOCK.COM

ome decorating trends and styles are always changing, and it’s amazing to see what interior designers and builders can create! As a REALTOR, I hear many different buyers voice the same requests over and over. If you are thinking about selling your home in 2018, you may want to consider some of these suggestions to change or upgrade your home to make it more appealing to Coastal Bend buyers!


mind that buyers still have a need for a tub somewhere in the house, so please don’t remove every tub from every bathroom if you plan on selling at any point. A very inexpensive upgrade for bathrooms can be as easy as changing out mirrors and plumbing fixtures. If your home still has the long, unframed mirror in the master bath, please consider framing it or removing it and hanging a more updated mirror over each sink. BEDROOMS There are typically few things you can change in bedrooms other than flooring and paint. Buyers are gravitating toward lighter greys, spa-like colors and natural light. Heavy, dark colors and textures are less popular for most people on the coast. DINING AREAS Homes with formal dining areas are often misunderstood. Some people, myself included, still love the idea of a formal dining space, especially when they are planning for the holidays. However, many builders are opting to create larger informal dining areas, so the separate formal areas are often unused or undesired. For buyers who don’t need a formal dining area, consider other uses for this space. I have seen some great examples lately with formal dining spaces staged as additional entertainment areas, lounge spaces and offices. If your home has two (or more) dining spaces, you may want to consider staging one of them as “flex-space” with other purposes. QUICK UPDATES Not every seller has an unlimited budget to move walls and remodel rooms. If you are looking for the most “bang” for your dollar, don’t underestimate the power of a good cleaning (please!) and a fresh coat of paint. If time and budget allow, updating light fixtures and plumbing fixtures can also really help change the overall look and feel of a home. Selling a home is always stressful, especially knowing that your home will be judged by strangers. If you want to command the highest price, it is important for your home to be updated and stylish, or sellers may need to be prepared to overcome those obstacles with pricing or other buyer incentives.

For more information, contact Coral Dworaczyk, M.S., Ph.D., REALTOR, at www.realestatebycoral.com.

CONGRESSMAN SOLOMON P. ORTIZ INTERNATIONAL CENTER

CORPUS CHRISTI, TX

“The Corpus Christi Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, a 77 year old organization, hosts all its events at the Ortiz Center. It is such a unique venue to host our events, with an amazing view of the Port, where we always find attentive staff and reliable service. We are happy to have a partner like Spectra!” Teresa Rodriguez Bartlett, President & CEO, CCHCC

GREAT FOR ■ Meetings + Training Seminars ■ Luncheons + Banquets ■ Galas + Special Events ■ Trade Shows ■ Job Fairs With 10 rooms that can accommodate groups of 10 to 850.

ortizcenter.com I N S P I R E C O A S TA L B E N D M A G . C O M

41


TASTE

A MAN OF TASTE

Michael Stephans, executive chef for SAVOR Corpus Christi, talks about his love for food and his community. By: KRISTEN BILY Photos by: AARON & ANDREW MEDINA OF SKIP ENTERTAINMENT

For more information, contact Catering Sales at the American Bank Center.

42

I N S P I R E C O A S TA L B E N D M A G . C O M


T

he journey that led Executive Chef Michael Stephans to the culinary world is one of great experiences. Born and raised in a neighborhood of Chicago, Chef Mike has always had a love for food. While in school, Chef Mike got his first job in the business as a fish butcher at the Ritz Carlton Hotel, then on to Swiss Hotel after that. His first job after graduating culinary school was working contract feeding with Canteen Company at the Jewel Corporate office. This set him on to his career as a chef. After getting a taste of that sector of F&B, he found a love for volume cooking. As an American Culinary Federation member, Chef Mike was involved in working with the community, and he began teaching classes through Ivy Tech State College for students seeking personal enrichment. That led to a position as Hospitality Administration Program chair, a position he held for five years. Making roots in Corpus Christi, Texas, Chef Mike immediately got involved in the Texas Chefs Association, Corpus Christi chapter. He soon became director of the chapter, promoting cooking and culinary arts in Corpus Christi and working to build relationships with area businesses and not-for-profits. I recently sat down with Chef Mike to learn a little more about his world: Q: IF YOU COULD EAT DINNER WITH ANY FAMOUS CHEF, PAST OR PRESENT, WHO WOULD IT BE, AND WHY? A: I would have to say Julia Child. Even though her focus was to get American home cooks to understand the art of French cooking, her approach to education and access to good food was a serious undertaking. She was the premier TV chef. She got people interested in food and cooking, and opened up the airwaves to a conclave of chefs who perform the art of cooking on today’s world stage. Q: WHAT DO YOU DO TO STAY CURRENT ON NEW TRENDS? DESCRIBE TWO OR THREE OF THE MOST INTERESTING INDUSTRY TRENDS AND HOW YOU BRING THEM TO THE AMERICAN BANK CENTER. A: There are many ways to access trends. I’m a member of the American Culinary Federation ‘s Texas Chefs Association, and chapter director of the TCA Chefs of the Coastal Bend. As a member, I have access to a huge network of chefs, monthly periodical, website full of information and a variety of blogs. My favorite current trends are the Farm to Table movement and sourcing local ingredients. I have been working with farmers since the ‘90s when I lived in South Bend, Ind., and would frequent the local farmers’ market and drive through the backroads of Southwest Michigan and Northern Indiana, stopping at farm stands along the way. I continue to enjoy that here in Corpus Christi, partnering up with Grow Local STX, providing cooking demos and food sampling to patrons a couple Wednesdays a month. Local (Texas) products are available through some of my distributors and try to take advantage of that as often as possible.

I ENJOY SOURCING LOCAL INGREDIENTS.”

Q: YOU HAVE RECEIVED NUMEROUS ACCOLADES FOR YOUR ACCOMPLISHMENTS IN THE CULINARY WORLD, AND STILL, TO THIS DAY, YOU ARE VERY ACTIVE WITHIN THE COMMUNITY FOR ALL THINGS CUISINE. WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE OTHER LOCAL CHEFS (CURRENT OR ASPIRING) LOOKING TO GROW IN THIS INDUSTRY? A: Get involved! When I moved to Indiana after graduating culinary school, one of my vendors told me about ACF and invited me to attend a meeting and meet fellow chefs in the area. This was an eye-opening experience. I met chefs from the area and learned how they shared their skill by getting involved in the community, mentoring young culinarians part of a national apprenticeship program, sharing ideas and focusing on continuing education for chefs. This year, our local chapter had the opportunity to host the Texas Chefs Convention in Corpus Christi, bringing chefs from across the state to gather for master classes, seminars taught by local beekeepers, extension services, brewers and distillers, and enjoy meals prepared by local chefs. Continue learning. Trends change quickly, so keep up with what’s going on throughout the county and the world.

Q: ARE YOU CURIOUS OF OTHER CUISINES (CHINESE, ITALIAN, ETC.)? HAVE YOU EVER ADAPTED A RECIPE FROM ANOTHER COUNTRY AND INCORPORATED IT INTO A MENU ITEM FOR AN EVENT? A: I was brought up in Chicago and was exposed to world flavors early in life. I lived near Chinatown, and grew up in an ethnically diverse neighborhood. I still embrace most of those early food memories; therefore, I try to integrate them whenever possible. Today, these flavors are all the rage! I have incorporated them on several menus, even bringing a puh puh platter, variety of Asian inspired appetizers, to our suites menu.

I N S P I R E C O A S TA L B E N D M A G . C O M

43


TASTE

Enjoy the Flavor Take it from us: You won’t want to share this creamy medjool date caramel.

By: MANDY ASHCRAFT Photos by: DUSTIN ASHCRAFT

For more information, visit www.mandyashcraft.com.

What do you do when “‘Tis the season” rolls right into “‘Tis the time for healthier New Year’s resolutions”? Start finding cleaner, more nutritious ways to enjoy the flavors you love! Medjool dates are naturally sweet, sticky fruits that, when pureed, have the flavor and texture of spreadable caramel. Enjoy it with apple slices, with pretzel rods or poured over a pint of ice cream. You won’t want to share! (Bonus: Medjool dates are high in fiber and potassium.)

44

I N S P I R E C O A S TA L B E N D M A G . C O M

INGREDIENTS: Recipe makes 1/2 cup 12 pitted medjool dates, soaked in warm water for 10 to 15 minutes 2 tablespoons water Pinch of salt

soaking them first, and it would still taste great, but if you want a smoother texture, it’s best to soak them in warm water first.

INSTRUCTIONS:

2/ Add dates, salt and water to a food processor or blender, and process until smooth. If you prefer a thinner caramel, add water by the teaspoon until you achieve the desired consistency.

1/ Drain the water from the dates after you’ve soaked them. You could blend them up without

3/ Store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.


“WHERE FRAMING IS AN ART”

5503 SOUTH STAPLES ST. CORPUS CHRISTI, TX 78411 361.991.4967 FAX: 361.991.2361 TOLL FREE: 866.991.4967 WWW.THEFRAMEUPCC.COM

Bar, Wine, Beer & Spirits 4238 S. Alameda Town & Country Shopping Center Corpus Christi

Screen Printing | Embroidery Custom Rhinestones | Promotional Products | Camouflage Apparel Direct to Garment | Koozies | Decals

5301 Everhart Rd., Ste. C, Corpus Christi 361-855-7777 www.printscharmingroyaltees.com facebook.com/printscharmingroyaltees

M-F 5pm - Midnight Saturday 4pm - Midnight Sunday 11:30am - 6pm I N S P I R E C O A S TA L B E N D M A G . C O M

45


INSPIRED STYLE

Jessica Salinas C AT ER I NG S A L E S C OO R DI NATO R , SMG - M AN AG E D AME R I C AN B A N K CE N TE R

46

I N S P I R E C O A S TA L B E N D M A G . C O M


PHOTOGRAPHY MC STUDIO WORKZ MAKEUP JOHN CANTU, MAC SPRAY TAN THIRD COAST SPRAY TANS & MORE WARDROBE JEWELS CLOTHING AND ACCESSORIES

I N S P I R E C O A S TA L B E N D M A G . C O M

47


Words to live by: Stay positive, and keep God first. Life is too short to focus on the negative. “Life can only be understood backwards, but it must be lived forward.” – Soren Kierkengaard

My philosophy: Help others. I love to help people any way that I can. I feel that if we can give to others, it is more rewarding than to receive.

Why do you do what you do? My work as a catering sales coordinator aligns with my passion to make other people’s dreams and vision for a special moment come true. Growing up with family in the catering business, I developed a sense of pride to be able to assist in those special events. My mother and grandmother, for instance, always set the example on how to treat others. They taught me how to be compassionate, understanding and positive through all situations. Their leadership instilled these core values in me at a young age that I have carried through my adult life and also share with my children. It is my honor to serve others and use my talents to inspire happiness in the process of making memories.  

48

I N S P I R E C O A S TA L B E N D M A G . C O M


I N S P I R E C O A S TA L B E N D M A G . C O M

49


NONPROFIT

MAKING AN IMPACT God’s Word, the Bible, brings joy and peace to its readers throughout the year. By: SYLVIA SLEZAK

• “What a sweet surprise and a great gift to me: I received 50 new, elegant Bibles and completely free on the feast day of St. Jerome. My Bible class will be easier for me, because from now on, my beloved students will never have an excuse of not having a Bible at home to do the homework readings and journal writing. I am thrilled. Thank God, and thank you so much. May God continue to multiply His blessings upon you, your loved ones and your work. Pray for me also. Please.” – Mai M. from Crosby, Texas   • “Thank you so much for the 3,000 Catholic Bibles that were delivered to St. Therese Catholic Church today! I am blown away by your generosity, and I thank you from the depth of my heart that you are giving us the 3,000 Bibles I requested for free. Not only are they Catholic Bibles, they are beautiful, hardcover and have illustrations inside! It is much more than I had hoped, and it will be suitable for a wide range of readers! My vision to give away the Bible to each participant of our church’s Bible Trivia Booth at the annual Chinatown Summer Fair on July 20th was given to me by the Holy Spirit, and I thank you for allowing God to work through you to help us in our evangelization efforts. The service you provide (free Bibles) is instrumental in the church’s work of evangelization, as we are called to make disciples of all nations and to baptize in the name of Jesus Christ. In order for people to love God, they must first know Him, and one of the main ways to do that is by reading and hearing His Word. To get to know someone better, we must hear their words and learn about their deeds and ways. Everything we need to know about God is in the Bible. I pray that the Bibles you sent us will become seeds in the hearts of their recipients that the Holy Spirit will nurture and grow into good trees that produce good fruits for the Lord. May the Lord bless you a hundredfold in return, giving you treasures in heaven!” – Roberta from Chicago, Ill.   The impact of a Bible in one’s hand is truly immeasurable. It can change an attitude or save a life. It can instruct and inspire. The Word lifts the spirit, encourages the heart and renews the mind. May you be blessed today, tomorrow and always. Share this site with your friends, family, associates and community. Receive daily inspiration through daily Bible reading, reflections and inspirational articles. Visit www.CityofAgape.org to find out how you can be a missionary for God and help feed yearning souls with the Word of God across the United States.     Note: This article is dedicated to the CityofAgape Charitable Foundation, whose heartfelt mission is to provide free Bibles to those who thirst and hunger for the Word of God.

THE WORD LIFTS THE SPIRIT, ENCOURAGES THE HEART AND RENEWS THE MIND.

Sylvia Slezak is the marketing director at www.cityof.com. For more information, visit us online at www.cityof.com to find local premier businesses, restaurants, events, attractions and more.

50

I N S P I R E C O A S TA L B E N D M A G . C O M

URFINGUS/BIGSTOCK.COM

CityOfAgape receives requests from financially limited individuals, schools, care facilities and prison ministries asking specifically for physical Bibles who want to study and share the Word of God. Founded in 2015, CityOfAgape has provided more than 250,000 English Bibles and more than 68,000 Spanish Bibles to date. Their program is run mainly by volunteers, with one paid staff member, to handle all of the Bible requests. The appreciation from Bible recipients is priceless. Here are some comments individuals sent in, discussing how impactful the Word of God has been to them: • “I want to thank you for your free Bibles that you sent to our church. I know the benefits have reaped rewards. Just today, two years after having our teens give away Bibles to other teens, a teen told me he considered himself an atheist his junior year after being raised in the faith. A teen approached him and handed him a Bible and invited him to come to our youth group to learn more. He admits a spark was lit and grew into a desire to know more and serve more. He and his parents are eternally grateful for your help. God bless you for your ministry.” – Rick Z from Spring Branch, Texas   • “I have received the shipment of Spanish Catholic Bibles for which I am most grateful. These Bibles help fulfill a great need among our Hispanic Catholics. They often remark about the beauty of the book, along with the ribbon marker. I always remind them that the real beauty lies within the book. I ask them to pray for your staff and donors who have made this possible.” – VA Medical Center, Orlando, Fla.


Give us a communications challenge. We’ll come up with a plan. Our experienced FASTSIGNS® team will tailor the right mix of graphic solutions to help you reach your goals.

1220 Airline Rd. Ste 170 Corpus Christi, TX

361-991-7991 www.fastsigns.com/164

®

I N S P I R E C O A S TA L B E N D M A G . C O M

51


NONPROFIT

RESOLVE TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE Spend 2018 with CASA of the Coastal Bend to help foster children in need. By: TRISTA MARTINEZ

R

esolution: a firm decision to do or not to do something (Oxford English Dictionary). This term is most familiar during the holiday season, where tradition allows for a “New Year’s resolution.” The following events and opportunities highlight 2018 at CASA of the Coastal Bend, offering plenty of options for fulfilling resolutions of personal growth and giving to others.

break for family outings and fun activities. However, for children in foster care, it can be a difficult time, serving as a reminder that they are not with their family. For children who have a CASA, however, it is a good time for their court-appointed special advocate to take them to do something fun. With such parks as Schlitterbahn and Hurricane Alley in Corpus Christi, donated passes for local activities to share with our advocates are always appreciated.

January Starting Jan. 3, there will be 45-minute info sessions every Wednesday at noon in CASA of the Coastal Bend’s office. The info sessions provide information for the process of becoming a CASA, the role of an advocate and why there is a constant need for advocacy.

April To celebrate Child Abuse Awareness Month in April, CASA hosts a “Ringing of the Bell” ceremony, open to the community to come together and fight child abuse and neglect.

February Hosted by The Order of the Sparkling City & Rotary Club Corpus Christi Evening, Feb. 10 is the 14th Annual Mardi Gras Ball & Casino Night is scheduled for Feb. 10. Benefiting CASA of the Coastal Bend and Communities in Schools, this is a chance to donate an amazing auction item or even purchase a table for a night of fun, food, dancing and a little gambling. March Students often anticipate spring

May CASA’s 13th annual 5K Run/Walk is scheduled for May 5. This year’s 5K run/walk continues to promote awareness of the urgent need for a CASA for every child in foster care, this year with a cultural twist to celebrate Cinco de Mayo. Sponsorship and registration information is available on our website: coastalbendcasa.org. June and July Like spring break, this is also a time when our advocates can take the children they serve on fun outings with donated passes to local

THERE IS A CONSTANT NEED FOR ADVOCACY. water parks, museums and amusement parks (i.e. Get Air, PLAY, Funtrackers). Visits to these local venues provide foster children time for fun and play without the stresses of their cases on their shoulders. July through September Back-to-school is often a challenging experience for the many children in foster care who often change schools and leave with next to nothing when they are removed from their homes. During this time, there are local school supply drives and donations collected that give our CASAs an opportunity to fill a new backpack with supplies so their court-assigned foster child can start the new school year just like any other student. October and November Join us for the 3rd Annual CASA Caddies for Kiddos golf tournament. This event will be open to sponsorships or team purchases. Funds raised from this event and CASA fundraisers enable our organization to offer free pre-service

training to our potential advocates and more than 40 educations a year for our tenured advocates. December Donate an unwrapped new toy at a sponsored toy drive or at CASA of the Coastal Bend’s office. Our advocates dedicate a minimum of 10 to 15 hours per month toward their casework, so we try to avoid them spending money, as well. The week before Christmas, advocates select gifts or use gift cards to purchase gifts (most gifts received are for young children, and our advocates serve children from newborns to 18-year-olds, so gift cards are always a great resource to shop for older youth), and then deliver the gifts to their children in foster care. Choose one of the many opportunities available with CASA of the Coastal Bend to help you follow through with your New Year’s resolutions and ultimately help in the journey of finding foster children their forever home!

For information concerning events, you may email Samantha at samantha@coastalbendcasa.org. For information about becoming a volunteer, you may email Diana at diana@coastalbendcasa.org or call 361-884-2272.

52

I N S P I R E C O A S TA L B E N D M A G . C O M


I N S P I R E C O A S TA L B E N D M A G . C O M

53


WEEKDAYS 5am-9am Followed by 96 minutes of commercial free music 54

I N S P I R E C O A S TA L B E N D M A G . C O M


I N S P I R E C O A S TA L B E N D M A G . C O M

55


56

I N S P I R E C O A S TA L B E N D M A G . C O M

Inspire Coastal Bend Magazine Business Jan/Feb 2018  
Inspire Coastal Bend Magazine Business Jan/Feb 2018  
Advertisement