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COASTAL BEND BUSINESS

MAGAZINE

FAMILY AFFAIR

SUSANN’S CUSTOM JEWELERS NOV.DEC. 2017

LIVING THE DREAM SONYA HILL

COMING BACK STRONG COFFEE WAVES I N S P I R E C O A S TA L B E N D M A G . C O M

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CORPUS CHRISTI’S ONLY LOCALLY OWNED AND OPERATED FORD DEALERSHIP

www.samesfordcc.com 361-851-7600 4721 Ayers St. 78415

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361-592-2661 | 2501 S. Hwy 77, Kingsville

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Texas’ Oldest Dealership www.sameskingsville.com 361-592-2661 2501 S. Hwy 77, Kingsville

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

@ art the builder

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CONTENTS NOVEMBER.DECEMBER 2017

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BUSINESS COACH 12 4 Ways to Reignite Your Business SPECIAL FEATURE 14 What Powers Us FEATURES 16 Festive Flair 18 Catering to the Community 20 Romantic Ruby 22 Droning On 24 The Gift of Youth 26 ‘Tis the Season to be Giving 28 Looking Legitimate REAL ESTATE 44 The Aftermath

LEANNA MORGAN

EXPRESSIONS OF INSPIRATION 46 Interruption

COVER AND TABLE OF CONTENTS PHOTOS BY: MC STUDIO WORKZ

30 COVER STORY SUSANN’S CUSTOM JEWELERS

By focusing on education and giving back, the Bartel family like to not only take care of their customers, but build relationships across generations.

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LOCAL BUSINESS SPOTLIGHT SONYA HILL

The news anchor and weather girl for KZTV and Telemundo lives her dream with a focus on hard work, determination and positivity.

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40 LOCAL EATS COFFEE WAVES

The local favorite suffered at the hands of Hurricane Harvey – but thanks to the faith and efforts of owner and pastor David Bendett, it’s going to come back stronger than before.


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

COASTAL BEND BUSINESS

MAGAZINE

NOVEMBER.DECEMBER 2017

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!

ERIN O’BRIEN

EDITOR erin.editorial@gmail.com

ART DIRECTOR hello@elisagcreative.com 210.716.5320

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

Morgan Bartel

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Colton Bartel Kim Bridger-Hunt Coral Dworaczyk Connie Laughlin Dayna Mazzei Worchel Kathleen Naderer Sylvia Slezak Ashley Wilson Sarona Winfrey Kelly Trevino

PHOTOGRAPHY Chantal Dubois Kady Kreis MC Studio Workz LeAnna Morgan

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

ELISA GIORDANO

Call

or Visit

Elisa Giordano

MORGAN BARTEL SOCIAL MEDIA morgan@ inspirecoastalbendmag.com 620.417.5392

PELICAN

MEDIA GROUP

Copyright 2017 © Inspire Coastal Bend Magazine. All rights reserved. Reproduction without the expressed written permission of the publisher is prohibited.


WANT A CHEAPER ELECTRIC BILL?

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Corpus Christi, TX 361-855-1123


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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

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BUSINESS COACH

4 WAYS TO REIGNITE YOUR BUSINESS Employees are key! Take your business to the next level by providing training, fair wages, a proactive environment and benefits. By: CONNIE LAUGHLIN

1. GET RID OF INTERNAL DYSFUNCTION!

Rid your business of old operating systems. If it malfunctions all the time and is costly to service, chunk it! Antiquated equipment can be expensive to maintain, terribly inefficient and a wasteful use of man hours. Stop unnecessary reporting and redundant meetings! When you schedule a “required” meeting, ensure it’s scheduled on days that will shorten the decision turnaround time. Simplify all business processes!

2. CUT BACK ON EXPENSES!

3. EMPOWER EMPLOYEES.

Are your employees weighed down with too many reports or administrative duties? Never forget: Employees are a strategic asset. They should be prideful, empowered and well-trained. Are your employees motivated? If not, they need direction. Remember, employees who are micromanaged have their limitations. Well-trained and empowered employees have no limits. Make sure your team knows that even though you run a tight ship and make changes from time to time, you’re better protecting their interest, as well as the company’s interest.

STOP UNNECESSARY REPORTING AND REDUNDANT MEETINGS. Don’t get caught off guard. Be sure you’re legally protected, insured and conducting your business professionally with the least amount of time spent by your staff or administrative duties with the least amount of associated risk. The only way to streamline a business, plus ensure risk management, is to outsource HR. Don’t buy software when you can cost-effectively outsource the service. By the time you transition over, it’s already outdated or you decide you’re unhappy with it.

4. CONTROL AND MANAGE CASH FLOW.

When cash flow is a problem, it’s not only hard to balance the books – it also makes offering benefits out of the question. Without quality benefits, it’s hard to maintain cream-of-thecrop employees. Get creative with your collectibles, talk your way into COD and wire transfers and other means to get money in the bank faster and use factoring companies when necessary. Tight relationships pay off; be clear and concise in expectations. Get invoices out immediately. When you’re in an off-season and get hit with slow-paying accounts, it can take a real bite out of your business.

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

RAWPIXEL.COM/BIGSTOCK.COM

Eliminate administrative duties that aren’t tied to revenue. All team members should be focused on one thing: revenue! Cut unnecessary expenses such as travel, employee parties and conferences – but don’t skimp on much-needed continuing education, training and periodic raises for employees. Energize your business by first shrinking it, then engage employees by training them and showing them you place a high value in them. As you’re cutting back, invest in your core values and processes. Net profits should show a definite gain, and employee engagement will be stronger than ever if you’re doing this one right.


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

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SPECIAL FEATURE

WHAT POWERS US Happy holidays from Stellar Energy Solutions! SPECIAL TO INSPIRE COASTAL BEND

STELLAR ENERGY SOLUTIONS works hard to build lasting relationships and to provide the absolute best rates in electricity for commercial businesses, nonprofit organizations and residential customers. The mission is simple, but compelling: • Integrity • Choice • Outstanding service Tim Clark, president, thanks “all of our clients for placing their trust in Stellar Energy Solutions for their electricity needs.” Clark also thanks each of the individual families at the Stellar Energy Solutions corporate office in Corpus Christi and the branch office in Weslaco, Texas. Their constant love and support allow the company to do their best work. “Families ... It’s what powers us!” Happy holidays from our family to yours!

THE CONSTANT LOVE AND SUPPORT OF OUR FAMILIES ALLOW US TO DO OUR BEST WORK.

For more information, visit Stellar Energy Solutions online at www.stellarnrgsolutions.com.

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FESTIVE FLAIR Holiday happenings at La Palmera

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By: SARONA WINFREY

a Palmera will kick off the holiday shopping season once again by hosting thousands of Coastal Bend guests at its 10th annual holiday party to welcome Santa Claus. This year’s event is scheduled for Tuesday, Nov. 7, from 6 to 8 p.m., and it includes a parade and festive street fair, complete with live entertainment and music, highlighted, of course, by the arrival of Santa. There will be some new twists this year, including an all-new illuminated outdoor parade to welcome Santa, presented by Apollo Towing. With a route spanning the front length of the mall, the parade will once again feature community groups, schools, marching bands and more. Also new this year is an outdoor street festival set up near the food court with entertainment and a variety of vendors. Inside the mall, there will be live entertainment onstage in the food court area, with Santa’s Winter Wonderland in Center Court once again through Dec. 24, where boys and girls can meet Santa and pose for photos during mall hours. “A lot of families attend each year, so we’ve tried to change things up where we can, adding new elements to keep the event fresh and fun for our guests,” said La Palmera General Manager and Vice President Fred Walters. “The addition of the parade last year was a big hit, so we wanted to embellish it a little by having the entries

A LOT OF FAMILIES ATTEND EACH YEAR, SO WE’VE ADDED NEW ELEMENTS TO KEEP THE EVENT FRESH AND FUN FOR OUR GUESTS.”

include holiday lighting of some sort. We also think the street fair will add a festive flair to the event.” And while the holidays mean beloved traditions at La Palmera, they also means the start of the biggest shopping season of the year. At La Palmera, guests will find new options for both shopping and dining, including Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory. Located on the Main Level adjacent to Aldo, the shop offers an extensive line of premium chocolate candies and other confectionery treats, with a variety of premium fudges and other products prepared in the store. A new 4,933-square-foot Bath & Body Works/White Barn store is scheduled to open for the holidays adjacent to Express. Nearly 2,000 square feet larger than the former Bath & Body Works store, the new location includes the company’s popular soaps, lotions and other personal care items, as well as an expanded selection of the popular White Barn candles. Oakley is also slated to be open in its new larger location on Center Court featuring larger display areas, more apparel and changing rooms. Guests will also find popular stores such as H&M, Michael Kors, Victoria’s Secret, Pandora and Hallmark, as well as seasonal favorites including Hickory Farms. For those who just can’t decide, a La Palmera gift card is the perfect choice. Available at Concierge in denominations from $10 to $500, the cards are good at most La Palmera stores and food locations. If shopping makes you hungry, stop by the 600-seat La Palmera Cafés food court where you’ll find something for every taste, as well as full-service dining at P.F. Chang’s China Bistro, Grimaldi’s Pizzeria, LongHorn Steakhouse and Chili’s Grill and Bar.

La Palmera events, including times and dates, are subject to change. For more information on La Palmera, go online to www.lapalmera.com, follow us on Facebook or call 361-991-3755.

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YASTREMSKA/BIGSTOCK.COM

FEATURE


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

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FEATURE

CATERING TO THE COMMUNITY ONETA Company – the umbrella company of Pepsi Cola Bottling Company of Corpus Christi and Victoria, Everest Water and Coffee, Sunrise Vending and Canteen Vending Victoria – specializes as a complete beverage and vending provider. The local, family-owned business is proud to be 100-percent woman-owned. This year, the Pepsi Cola Bottling Company franchise is celebrating its 40th year in Texas. President Julia Koch grew up in the family business. Her family moved their Pepsi business from Ohio to Texas in 1977. She gained hands-on experience in all aspects of the operation, starting out in customer service and then advancing to inventory, equipment, services, marketing and the online business. Today, Julia; her sister, Kim Koch; and her sister-in-law, Stephanie Koch Wilson, are the owners of the independent franchise of Pepsi Cola. Family ownership helps them to make in-house decisions for what’s best for their business. Serving a diverse customer base from restaurants and refineries to homes and groceries, ONETA Company and its subsidiaries provide consumers with all their beverage needs: • Sodas • Coffee • Bottled water • Teas • Sports drinks • Fresh-pressed juices The addition of the vending companies in the 1990s helped expand their business reach, as well as diversify their product offerings to include healthier options that consumers crave. With more than 150 employees in the

IT’S THE PEOPLE THAT MAKE THE COASTAL BEND SO SPECIAL.”

Coastal Bend, the people and the community play a strong role in the business. “Our employees are very dedicated,” Julia said. Losing only one day of business in Corpus Christi after Hurricane Harvey demonstrated the commitment and determination of the team. Employees worked up until the 11th hour before Harvey and were back first thing Monday morning to service the area. Customers also came together after the tragedy to show compassion for the Coastal Bend community. “We are thankful for our customers,” Julia said. “During the hurricane, we were blown away by some of the generosity we saw.” ONETA Company made donations to Hurricane Harvey relief, as well as sold bottled water at cost for customers wishing to make donations of their own. As a small, local business, Julia believes it’s important to be an active member of the community. “It’s the people that make the Coastal Bend so special – the warmth and the friendliness. We believe to be a good part of the community, you need to give back. That should be a part of being a good business.” The product and monetary donations to local charities and organizations such as the Food Bank, CASA and American Cancer Society, just to name a few, demonstrate their commitment to the communities where they live and work. A “total beverage company” proudly accredited with the Better Business Bureau serving the heart of Texas, ONETA Company and its subsidiaries believe in delivering good service and good pricing locally. As a proud accredited business, they use the BBB brand to help build trust between their business and their consumers. According to Marketing Director Ana Duda, “We are very proud to put our [BBB] sticker on our door. It validates us.”

For more information, call 361-852-4991 or visit www.bbb.org/central-texas.

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THE LOCAL, FAMILYOWNED BUSINESS IS PROUD TO BE 100-PERCENT WOMANOWNED.

COPRID/BIGSTOCK.COM, KEITH HOMAN/BIGSTOCK.COM

BBB Accredited Business, ONETA Company, delivers stellar service and gives back to the community it calls home. By: KELLY TREVINO


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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 19


FEATURE

ROMANTIC RUBY Get to know the gem of love, passion and power. By: COLTON BARTEL

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THE MORE PRECISE THE CUTTING, THE MORE BRILLIANT THE STONE WILL APPEAR.

PHOTOS COURTESY OF SUSANN’S CUSTOM JEWELERS

R

ed is the color most associated with love, passion, power and some of our most intense emotions, so it is fitting that ruby is coupled with these feelings. Jewelry featuring rubies has been, and still is, a favorite for people in love to give and receive as a gift. Its hardness and durability, linked with the emotions it provokes, reiterate a couple’s romantic commitment. On the other side, the bold red color symbolizes power and aggression, and for that reason, ruby has been a favorite of royalty and other highly influential people. Part of ruby’s popularity stems from its long history, as well as its actual gemological properties. Since its discovery centuries ago, ruby has always shown off its hardness and durability, making it ideal for jewelry. On the Mohs scale of hardness, ruby comes in at a 9, the same as its sibling, sapphire. The only difference between ruby and sapphire is color. Ruby and sapphire are both a material called corundum. Ruby is only red, and sapphire accounts for all other colors of corundum. Technically, only stones that show pure red can be called ruby, but it is common for some stones with pink, orange or purple undertones to also be called ruby. When shopping for ruby, it is best to look for stones that are bright and have the purest red color possible. Apart from color, cutting and clarity can play a big factor in the beauty of the stone. The most common shape for ruby to be cut in is oval. Ideally, you’ll want to make sure that the stone appears bright and has a brilliance to it, and that it’s not dull and lifeless, as this usually means it is poorly cut and that the stone is not reflecting light correctly. No matter the shape, the more precise the cutting, the more brilliant the stone will appear. As with many colored stones, clarity is dealt with much differently than it is with diamonds. Obviously, the finest stones will be free of inclusions, but it is common for even nicer stones to


Food.Wine. Full Bar. Music. Come ... Be Social.

FoodBoogie Test Kitchen Tuesdays Pop-up Kitchen Every 3rd Wednesday Singles Mingle Every 3rd Thursday BassMint Party Every 1st Friday Street Brunch Sundays Live Music Thursday-Friday-Saturday have some small inclusions. Generally, it’s best to avoid stones that have easily seen inclusions, especially those that may jeopardize the integrity of the stone. In recent years, clarity in rubies has become a hot topic due to the influx of “glass filled” ruby. “Glass filling” has been around for a long time, and it is normally used to treat natural ruby that has surface-reaching fractures to fill the voids to make them appear less included. This treatment must be disclosed to customers. Because of a lack of supply, some companies have abused the process and have essentially introduced a composite stone. What is happening is these companies are taking bits of natural ruby, mixing them in a solution of leaded glass and then cutting the composite and calling it “ruby.” The reality is, these stones are more glass than ruby, and are basically imposters. The goal of this practice

is to actually fool people into buying what they think is a beautiful natural ruby, but is no better than a red piece of glass. The good news is that gemologists and many working in the jewelry industry can easily spot these stones and prevent them from deceiving someone. For those looking to purchase ruby jewelry or loose stones, it’s best to buy from a well-educated and trusted jeweler who can protect you from what could be a very costly mistake. Rubies will always be a highly sought-after gem and a great option for a gift to be given to a loved one. Their durability will ensure that they will be treasured for generations, not to mention normal everyday wear. Now that you are armed with the basics of ruby buying, you can be confident in knowing what to look for when you decide to make a ruby purchase.

Colton Bartel is a 2007 GIA graduate gemologist and accredited jewelry professional in residence, as well as jewelry designer for Susann’s Custom Jewelers. For more information or to see rubies or other gemstones, please contact Bartel at 361-991-7565, www.susannsjewelers.com or on Facebook, or stop by Susann’s at 4226 S. Alameda in Corpus Christi, Texas.

Tues-Thurs: 4-12am • Fri-Sat: 4-2am • Sun: 12-4pm

4102 S Staples St, Corpus Christi, TX 78411

361.728.6445

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

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FEATURE FAA safety guidelines include: • Fly at or below 400 feet • Be aware of airspace requirements and restrictions • Stay away from surrounding obstacles • Keep your UAS within sight, and never fly near other aircraft, especially near airports • Never fly over stadiums or sporting events

How to “fly right” when operating a drone By: KIM BRIDGER-HUNT

T

hey come in all shapes and sizes. They are used in farming, real estate, news gathering and criminal investigations, and by aviation enthusiasts. More and more people have them these days, and if the predictions are correct, many more of you will give them and get them as Christmas presents this year. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has established some rules designed to help integrate Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) into the airspace in a way that doesn’t put manned flight at risk. There are countless caveats to the rules that can dictate how they apply to any one individual. In order to understand which sets of rules might apply to you, the first step is to establish whether you plan to use your UAS for fun or for business purposes. FLYING DRONES FOR FUN If you get a drone for Christmas and decide to go outside and give it a whirl, there are a few things you need to keep in mind. It is your responsibility to operate your drone in a safe manner. While the FAA has decided to allow hobbyists to fly unmanned aircrafts without getting special permission or having to register their gadgets, there are safety guidelines that operators should follow at all times. The

SPECIAL AIRSPACE REQUIREMENTS AND RESTRICTIONS MAY NOT BE OBVIOUS TO THE OPERATOR.

• Never fly under the influence of drugs or alcohol Special airspace requirements and restrictions can exist anywhere, and they may not be obvious to the operator. If you plan to operate your UAS, you should check the FAA website for airspace restrictions in your area. These vary from place to place, and from day to day. In August, the FAA and the Department of the Interior (DOI) took steps to permanently restrict drone flights over well-known landmarks in various parts of the nation. The landmarks protected by this rule include the Statue of Liberty National Monument in New York, Hoover Dam in Nevada and Mount Rushmore National Memorial in South Dakota. Flying your drone strictly as a hobby or for recreational use allows you to operate under what’s known as the Special Rule for Model Aircraft. The operator must conform with community-based safety guidelines and within the programming of a nationwide, community-based organization. This means observing the guide-

Kim Bridger-Hunt is the marketing manager at Corpus Christi International Airport (CCIA). For more information, you may contact her at kimb@cctexas.com.

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LALS STOCK/BIGSTOCK.COM, VICTORIA SHAPIRO/BIGSTOCK.COM

DRONING ON

• Never fly near emergencyresponse efforts such as fires


lines issued by organizations like the Academy of Model Aeronautics, which has been an advocate for model aircraft operators for years. Flying under this category requires:

CONGRESSMAN SOLOMON P. ORTIZ INTERNATIONAL CENTER

CORPUS CHRISTI, TX

• A UAS weight limit of no more than 55 pounds • The aircraft to be operated in a manner that does not interfere with and gives way to any manned aircraft • Prior notification to the airport operator and airport air traffic control tower any time the operator plans to fly within 5 miles of an airport. It’s important to keep in mind that there are several airports in Corpus Christi, and even if you are flying below 400 feet, you are still required to notify any airport within 5 miles of your activity. This includes CCIA, CCNAS and the airfields at Cabaniss and Waldron Road. COMMERCIAL UAS USE If you plan to use your UAS for any kind of commercial activity, you are required to register it with the FAA. Even in this category, you are limited to a drone that weighs no more than 55 pounds. Drones operated for commercial activity must be labeled with your registration number. The registration cost is $5 and is good for three years. A person operating a UAS for commercial activity must be 16 years of age and have a remote pilot certificate with what’s known as a small UAS rating, or be directly supervised by someone with such a certificate. The process for obtaining the certificate is laid out on the FAA website. If you own a drone, it’s recommended that you download the app, B4Ufly, which gives you access to all kinds of information about the general rules and even those specific to your area. The proliferation of drones in this country creates both opportunities and risks associated with the sharing of the airspace. Drone owners are encouraged to know the rules before taking flight. If you would like more information about the rules of the road for UAS operations, please visit faa.gov.

“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

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FEATURE

THE GIFT OF YOUTH

Getting older is inevitable – but thanks to BOTOX Cosmetic, aging is avoidable. By: ASHLEY WILSON

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s we enter the holiday season, our memories of last year’s parties and family celebrations continue to linger each time we look back at photographs. For most of us, our eyes go directly to our tell-tale signs of aging. We see the fine lines and wrinkles that are beginning to disfigure our natural, youthful beauty. This year, Photoshop-ping your memories won’t be necessary because while getting older is inevitable, aging is avoidable!

WRINKLES?! Rhytids, more commonly known as “wrinkles,” initially begin to appear when most of us are in our 20s and 30s. Through the years, they progress from fine lines to deeper crevices. Rhytids have multiple causes, but many are a result of animation, or facial expressions, that we consciously or unconsciously make throughout the day and even while sleeping at night. There are two types of rhytids: 1. Dynamic 2. Static

BOTOX IS APPROVED FOR COSMETIC USE IN 78 COUNTRIES.

IS THERE A WRINKLE CURE? BOTOX Cosmetic is an FDA-approved treatment to improve the appearance of lines in the forehead, frown lines and crow’s feet. While many people have the misconception that BOTOX Cosmetic is a harmful toxin, the truth is BOTOX is one of the most extensively studied medical aesthetic treatments. It is approved for cosmetic use in 78 countries, and has been studied in more than 400 scientific and medical journals. BOTOX Cosmetic is derived from Clostridium botulinum, a natural source

Ashley Wilson, MSN, CRNA, is co-owner and the advanced practice nurse of Coastal Spa MD. She is a certified Allergan Botox Cosmetic specialist, and she holds advanced certifications in Botulinum Toxin A injections and facial aesthetics and contouring. For more information on how BOTOX Cosmetic can give you the gift of youth this holiday season, call Coastal Spa MD at 361-336-6464 or visit www.coastalspamd.com.

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Dynamic rhytids are only visible when a facial expression is made, whereas static are present even when all facial muscles are at rest. Over time, dynamic expressions lead to static rhytids. The most common areas patients will notice are in the frontalis, or horizontal forehead lines; the glabellar complex, or frown lines; and the lateral canthus, or crow’s feet. All of these wrinkles are the result of muscular contraction with the associated facial expression-raising the eyebrows, frowning or concentrating and smiling or squinting.


that has been purified and refined. While other forms of botulinum toxin products are available for aesthetic treatment, potency and approved doses vary between each. Since 2002, over 10.9 million vials of BOTOX Cosmetic have been sold in just the United States, making BOTOX Cosmetic the No. 1 product of its kind in the world. BOTOX can be injected into the specific muscle and muscle groups that are responsible for the dynamic contractions that cause the fine lines and wrinkles. The treatment provides a temporary relaxation of the local area without traveling elsewhere in the body. BOTOX typically lasts three to four months, and then can be reinjected for repeated results. Results will begin to be noticeable within a couple days, but the full effect can take up to 10 days. Over time, BOTOX will help smooth even the static wrinkles. DOES IT HURT? BOTOX is injected using a very tiny needle, smaller than what is used when having blood drawn at your doctor’s office. Some patients describe the sensation as a pinch, while others report feeling nothing at all. For patients concerned about discomfort, your provider should have a topical anesthetic cream available to numb the area prior to injection. BOTOX is typically the first treatment suggested in aesthetic medicine for patients hoping to regain a smooth, youthful appearance. Your certified specialist should discuss your concerns and perform a facial analysis. It is very important to disclose any previous facial surgeries, injuries, nerve-related illnesses and current medications. The actual procedure is very quick, completed in as little as seconds or minutes. There is no downtime, and you can return to everyday activity immediately. BOTOX is typically priced by the “unit,” which is the measurement of the amount of medication used. When considering the cost, it not only includes the price of the product, but more importantly, the skill of your provider. Be wary of “cheap” BOTOX: If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. BOTOX is a technique-sensitive treatment. The understanding of facial anatomy is crucial in order to receive a smooth result while still retaining facial expressions. It is important to find a certified specialist who will take the time to listen and then develop a treatment plan tailored to your needs. In the right hands, your BOTOX experience will result in a natural, relaxed, more youthful appearance that is still you! I N S P I R E C O A S TA L B E N D M A G . C O M

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FEATURE

‘TIS THE SEASON TO BE GIVING CityOf.com highlights three nonprofit organizations that exemplify what it means to give the gift of giving. By: SYLVIA SLEZAK

1. CITYOFAGAPE The impact of a Bible in one’s hand is 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. “To provide the Word of God through a beautiful, burgundy hardbound Bible – free of charge” is the mission of CityOfAgape. Individuals, churches, schools, hospitals, nursing homes, prisons and inner-city organizations can receive their own Bible from CityofAgape as a gift. Each Bible includes a list of passages for celebrating a marriage or graduation, overcoming pride, experiencing anxiety, depression, loneliness or doubt and finding hope through God’s forgiveness. “We feel privileged in helping spread this message and are thankful for every opportunity to do so,” said John Doherty, founder and president emeritus. “We pray for God’s help and guidance to make this happen.” On their website at cityofagape.org, you will find daily Bible readings and reflections to meditate on the Word of God, and words of encouragement to lift the spirit,

HELP OTHERS WITHOUT ANY REASON, AND GIVE WITHOUT THE EXPECTATION OF RECEIVING ANYTHING IN RETURN.” – ROY T. BENNETT, “THE LIGHT IN THE HEART”

encourage the heart and renew the mind through inspirational blog posts. 2. WEST SIDE HELPING HAND Too many Corpus Christi residents live under the poverty line, leaving many children in the state of crisis facing abuse, neglect and

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

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ith the holiday season around the corner, the pressure of gift giving is on many minds. Somewhere along the way, we lost the true meaning and measure of giving, and it has become big business in North America with gifts that won’t even be used. The actual definition of a “gift” is the transfer of something without the expectation of payment. Although gift giving might involve an expectation of reciprocity, a gift is meant to be free. The term, “gift,” can refer to anything that makes the other happier or less sad, especially as a favor, including forgiveness and kindness. Psychologists, anthropologists, economists and marketers have found that giving gifts is a surprisingly complex and important part of human interaction, helping define relationships and strengthen bonds with family and friends. Indeed, psychologists say it is often the giver, rather than the recipient, who reaps the biggest psychological gains from a gift. At a time when there is much focus on gift giving this season, we wish to spotlight three nonprofit organizations in the Coastal Bend community that have generosity at the core of their mission. They truly have the gift of giving.


an uncertain future. West Side Helping Hand gives a helping hand to underprivileged children (grades 2-7), and a chance for a better life. West Side Helping Hand also reaches out to the parents and the grandparents so that the entire family can have the tools to live successful lives. The development programs embrace the dignity of the person by focusing on academics, character development, job training, a lifelong love for physical activity, individual attention and parental engagement. West Side Helping Hand’s vision is rooted in practical, real-life wants and needs. It reflects a high ideal of love and hope: the hope for a highly desirable future for our youth that will bring out the best in themselves, their families and our community. The goal is to provide an educated workforce for the Coastal Bend, having the kids stay in the city and revitalize the west side. 3. THE ARK ASSESSMENT CENTER & EMERGENCY SHELTER FOR YOUTH The Ark, a non-denominational facility, began as a project of the Missionary Sisters of Jesus, Mary and Joseph. The sisters started serving youth in 1971 with the establishment of the New Life prevention program for girls, followed by the Turnaround prevention program for boys. Delma Trejo, administrator of the prevention programs, realized youth needed a comprehensive program that would not be limited to the weekends. The Diocese of Corpus Christi deeded 5 acres of land for the project, named “The Ark,” which could be the children’s salvation just as it was for Noah’s family. The Ark’s mission is to provide a caring intervention for abused, neglected and displaced children and youth, ages 0-17, by placing them in a secure environment. The Ark is committed to demonstrating to these innocent victims that even though they have been mistreated by their parents or guardians, there are people in this Coastal Bend community who are ready to treat them with dignity, love and respect. This season of giving is a time to experience what it means to give and receive. Go ahead: Spread more joy, and enjoy your gift of giving. Until next time, we wish you all the best on your journey through this holiday season and through life.

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FEATURE

LOOKING LEGITIMATE How to instill good business practices and avoid sending “red flags” to potential clients during disaster recovery

NEVER ASK POTENTIAL CLIENTS ABOUT THEIR INSURANCE PAYMENTS.

By: KELLY TREVINO

SHOW OFF BBB ACCREDITATION • It could be a decal on the vehicle or a sticker somewhere on the contract bid. Better Business Bureau (BBB) accredited material can be acquired by contacting us. • It is also important for employees who are out in the field to know about the company’s accreditation and rating with BBB. • Of course, the contractor should always encourage residents and businesses to look them up on BBB’s website. PAYMENT METHODS • Limit the amount of money that is asked upfront. One good rule of thumb is to never ask for more than a third of the bid price before beginning work. Scammers often ask for the entire bid price upfront before they will do any work.

PROPER LICENSING • When it comes to licensing, not having the proper papers for the particular city a contractor wants to work in sends out a bad signal to potential clients. Unlicensed contractors often travel out of state in an attempt to take advantage of those in need. • In Corpus Christi, the city’s development services department oversees the permitting and inspection of building construction, repairs and remodels.

• Never ask potential clients about their insurance payments. Fraudulent contractors will sometimes ask people how much their insurance payments are and will base their bids on that payment. • An insurance company can also set up a third-party escrow account with the client. The insurer will be able to control how much money the contractor can pull from the account at certain times. RESPONSIBILITY DURING CLEANUP • This part of the job is often not fully discussed between the contractor and client. • Debris removal should be specified in the contract if the bid includes that item. Otherwise, residents and businesses may assume debris removal is part of the contract when, in fact, it’s simply moved to the roadside for pick-up, where it could remain for weeks. • Contractors should also know local landfills could be full, and to be prepared for potential extra costs if they have to haul the debris to another city.

Kelly Trevino is the regional director for the Corpus Christi/Victoria area of Better Business Bureau serving the heart of Texas. She is available for media interviews and speaking engagements. You can reach her at 361-945-7352 or ktrevino@corpuschristi.bbb.org.

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n the aftermath of disasters such as Hurricane Harvey, which devastated communities across the Texas coastline, you often hear stories of people coming together to help one another. Unfortunately, it’s not long before you start to hear stories of storm survivors getting victimized a second time by so-called “storm chasers.” These scam artists target people whose homes and property have been damaged or destroyed, and who are eager to get back to some sense of normalcy. For many residents and local businesses, it may be difficult to tell which contractors are “fly-by-night” scammers or legitimate operations. There are several ways contractors can avoid looking like a red flag to those they want to help during recovery:


Great Food. Great Times. Great Experience. Happy Hour 4-7pm

7 Days a Week

5409 Saratoga Blvd., Corpus Christi nikossteakhouse.com 361.992.2333 Sun-Thurs 11am-1am

Fri & Sat 11am-2am I N S P I R E C O A S TA L B E N D M A G . C O M

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COVER STORY

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JEWELRY LEGACY

Family owned and operated, Susann’s Custom Jewelers makes it their mission to ensure your purchase will sparkle for lifetimes to come. By: KATHLEEN NADERER Photos by: MC STUDIO WORKZ

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littering gemstones and precious metals fill the cases at Susann’s Custom Jewelers in the Town and Country Shopping Center, the atmosphere warm and welcoming. Audie and Karla Bartel, a dynamic husband-and-wife duo, focus on making those who walk into Susann’s Custom Jewelers feel like part of their family, and their passion for breathtaking, quality jewelry has inspired their legacy. The couple works alongside their son, Colton, and his wife, Morgan. Additionally, many of their long-time customers have become their extended “jewelry family,” with children and grandchildren of clients turning to the Bartels as a trustworthy cornerstone in the jewelry industry. “We like to take care of our customers rather than just do one-time sales,” Karla explained. “We like to build a relationship through generations. And they get all of us!” Some loyal customers even plan mini-vacations to Corpus Christi in order to visit and shop with the Bartels in person. Others follow the family’s business online via website and Facebook to place orders. These dedicated jewelers have taken road trips to hand-deliver items, and have shipped special orders as far as Germany. The Bartel family has owned and operated Susann’s since moving to the Coastal Bend in 2012. Before Corpus Christi, the Bartels lived in Liberal, Kan., where they had another jewelry store that they acquired in 1981. Several factors contributed to their decision to close that store and seek a new location. “He slipped and fell on the ice one too many time,” Colton joked, gesturing at his father. Audie and Karla spent three years searching for the right fit for their big move. The Bartels traveled from Florida to California, even as far as Panama and Costa Rica, until they came across Susann’s Custom Jewelers, a Corpus Christi jewelry store first opened in 1982. Susann’s was exactly what they wanted: A store with a well-established name and a good reputation, located in a city they were quickly falling in love with. “We knew we wanted something more tropical, and everybody here is so friendly,” Audie said. “Corpus has a small-town feel like we had in Liberal, but with more people.” “Whenever people ask me why we chose Corpus, I just show them a picture of the bay and tell them that’s just a few blocks away,” Karla added. Although Colton stayed behind in Kansas to run the store for two more years, he was eager to join his parents in South Texas. The swaying palm trees, ocean breezes and amiable environment might have drawn the Bartels down here initially, but they quickly put down roots and became part of the local community. The entire family enjoys talking and building relationships with people, so it comes as no surprise that the Bartels also love to give back to their community.

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They had been heavily involved with every organization possible back in Liberal, from the Chamber of Commerce and Lions Club to the art museum and area school systems. They still remain essential contributors for the International Pancake Day Race, providing silver tray awards to the winners in both Liberal, Kan., and Olney, England. However, the family soon realized that the Coastal Bend’s larger population translated to more organizations.

OUR BIGGEST DEAL IS EDUCATION.”

Rather than spreading themselves thin, they decided to focus on giving back to a handful of local groups that they know have a direct and immediate impact on local people, most notably the New Life Refuge Ministries. New Life Refuge Ministries is a local charitable organization that aims to raise awareness for and give assistance to individuals, especially minors, affected by human trafficking.


Susann’s Custom Jewelers partners with New Life Refuge Ministries not only at major fundraisers, but throughout the entire year. Besides helping with the organization’s annual Celebration of Courage event, the Bartels collaborate with other local businesses such as Coffee Waves to orchestrate other fundraisers like their recent golf tournament. They also sell “Courage Coins” in-store and promote the organization on their website year-round. These “Courage Coin” pendants feature a gold or rhodium plated penny, which represent the lives changed by New Life Refuge Ministries. Like a penny that has been tossed aside, many of these survivors may feel forgotten or overlooked. By transforming these coins

into shiny jewelry worn close to the heart, the Bartels are sharing the message that every life is valuable and worth celebrating. Susann’s donates half of the profits for each “Courage Coin” pendant directly to New Life Refuge Ministries. Other community involvement includes their annual Town and Country Christmas festival. The Bartels established this family-driven, community event in 2014 by joining with neighboring businesses to celebrate the season. The event showcases local talent and brings families together for a fun holiday outing. The Bartels are also firm believers in education. As Karla warns customers, they cannot learn everything about the jewelry industry from skimming a short Internet article. Without the right help, an uninformed

buyer may end up with something that looks like “frozen spit.” Both Audie and Colton Bartel are graduate gemologists from the Gemological Institute of America (GIA), the most prestigious and comprehensive program in the industry. “It’s basically the Harvard of jewelry schools,” Audie said. “There was a lot to learn, but [my certification] gives me much more confidence in what I’m buying and selling.” Although a license is not required to buy or sell jewelry, the Bartel men explained that their education helps them as they research and inspect diamonds and other precious stones before purchasing. Navigating the jewelry industry can be tricky, which is why it’s necessary to find jewelers willing to walk their customers through purchases or repairs and to teach them how to properly care for jewelry. “Our biggest deal is education,” Colton said. “Even if they’re not buying from us, at least they have the knowledge to make an informed decision when they do buy.” Part of this education outreach is done through the “Family Jewels” video series they post on Facebook. People can watch the weekly live stream or view past episodes on their website to learn about gemstones, metals, custom castings and more. Most importantly, the Bartels emphasize the need to purchase items in-person from someone trustworthy, and to pay closer attention to quality and beauty rather than price and size. “Go buy what’s beautiful to you,” Karla encouraged. This may include lab-grown rather than natural diamonds. Karla praised the stunning quality of the lab-grown diamonds available at Susann’s. Because of their lower price and environmentally friendly creation, these diamonds are experiencing a rise in popularity. They are also in the process of manufacturing their own high-end watch line. These customizable Bartel watches will feature Swiss manufactured movements with all other materials proudly Texas-made, and will be crafted in-store. Each watch will have a unique serial number and be part of a limited line. “We want to go back to the way watches used to be made, when there was a lot of attention to detail and design,” Colton said. Susann’s recently moved and remodeled to a new location within Town and Country Shopping Center during a brief three-week period. The Bartels anticipate exciting growth in the near future, and are embracing the changes and challenges ahead.

Visit Susann’s Custom Jewelers at 4226 S. Alameda to see their beautiful collection for yourself. You can also contact them by phone at 361-991-7565 or online at www.susanns-jewelers. com for more information or to set an appointment with a graduate gemologist.

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LOCAL BUSINESS SPOTLIGHT

A Full Heart Sonya Hill shows that a positive attitude and determination can help you achieve your dreams. By: KATHLEEN NADERER Photos by: MC STUDIO WORKZ

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If you have ever watched Action 10 News or Telemundo, you likely recognize Sonya Hill. Her upbeat personality and passion for her community have distinguished Hill throughout her journey in TV news. Hill recalled growing up in Sandia, a small town near Orange Grove, and watching the news anchors on television. She admired how intelligent and glamorous they were – and people looked up to them! She knew back then that she wanted to join her idols onscreen. She even wrote about this dream job for a class assignment during junior year of high school. When she shared this ambition with others, encouragement was often tempered by caution. With the implication that people need far more money and connections than she had in order to succeed in television, Hill began looking at different career options. She nevertheless remained tenacious in pursuing her dream. She took the initiative to join as many community organizations as possible, and her friendly demeanor made it easy to network and build contacts. When she heard that KZTV needed someone who was bilingual and a good communicator, Hill knew she had to apply. She joined the KZTV family as a weather reporter in 2014. Only 22 years old at the time, Hill was already making impressive strides. “I feel really lucky that people responded to me the way that they did,” she said. Her fans and followers on social media appreciate her genuine connection with the Coastal Bend community, and the way she embraces her South Texas roots with a full heart. In turn, Hill strives to provide accurate and up-to-date information for both her English- and Spanish-speaking audiences. Hill’s knack for platforms like Instagram, Facebook and Twitter has made her even more approachable to viewers. She also prides herself on her ability to address people from every generation, from Baby Boomers to Millennials, and values her strong ties to the vibrant Hispanic community in the area. Hill believes that a good attitude and willingness to engage with peo-

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Hill knew that the work journalists were doing to draw attention to and get aid for the Texas coast was vital. “I’ve never been so proud of all the news anchors, reporters, video editors, photographers and all the people who work in media here in the Coastal Bend as I was during and after Harvey. I’ve never seen people with so much fire in them.” For an additional challenge that month, KZTV was simultaneously undergoing a complete rebranding of their news station. Viewers who were used to the more lighthearted and entertainment-focused nature of the previous incarnation may need time to adjust to the more traditional reporting format KZTV is now using. But Hill encourages long-time viewers to give it a chance. She believes the Action 10 staff will continue to shine. “There’s a different tone, Watch Sonya Hill on KZTV but it’s the same product or Telemundo for weather and the same people,” and news updates. You can also follow her on Twitter and she said. This change Instagram at @sonyahilltv has also given Hill what or on Facebook at she always dreamed @SonyaHillKZTV. about: her own spot at the anchor desk. While she is thrilled at the path her life has taken, it isn’t always an easy one. Adapting to life as a public figure was difficult, especially when dealing with negative or cruel comments. Strangers may stereotype and look down on her as “just a pretty weather girl,” but Hill’s love for her job has given her the strength to persevere. “I had to become thick-skinned,” she said. “I had to learn to take everything with a grain of salt because otherwise, it will break you down.” Another huge source of strength ple builds trust between news stations and viewers. “We’re very much living in the age of ‘fake news’ and ‘alfor her is her family and her wonderternative facts,’ so people are reaching for something that’s real,” Hill explained. “If you give them something ful support system, especially her that’s real, they appreciate it.” father and her son. Raising a child Since her first segment, Hill has firmly found her footing among the KZTV, KRIS and Telemundo staff as while working fulltime is demandthe youngest news anchor in the Coastal Bend. She credits the mentorship of the veteran journalists she works ing, yet caring for her young son, with, including Andy Liscano and Stephania Jimenez, for helping her adjust so well to her new role. “These James, has motivated her to continue people are like my family,” she said, praising her co-workers. “I really love them.” growing and maturing in her career. Together, Hill and the rest of KZTV, KRIS and Telemundo weathered Hurricane Harvey. “Harvey has been To young girls with big dreams, the most emotional experience,” Hill said. During coverage of the storm, Hill recognized an urgent need to Hill offers this advice: “Don’t listen share people’s stories. She stepped out of the weatherperson role she had comfortably played these past three to the naysayers. You can’t just sit years and took up the mantle of field reporting. Learning how to report and edit the stories of those affected by around and wait for an opportuniHurricane Harvey was challenging, but Hill knew it needed to be done. ty; you have to search for it. Life is Although covering the hurricane was frightening, especially when communication was temporarily lost, about being proactive.”

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Local Eats

The Power of Transformation Following the ravages of Hurricane Harvey, Pastor David Bendett talks rebuilding Coffee Waves in Port Aransas – and making the Coastal Bend a better place. By: DAYNA MAZZEI WORCHEL

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hen business owner and church pastor David Bendett saw what Hurricane Harvey had done to his Coffee Waves coffee shop in Port Aransas, he wept. It wasn’t just because the shop had been a major source of income for him and his wife, Amber Bendett, since opening the shop in 2010. There was another reason. “It was because that shop was so special to so many people. Coffee Waves Port Aransas was a community gathering spot for so many locals and out-of-town visitors. So much of my life in a lot of ways was in that shop,” he said while drinking coffee inside his Coffee Waves Flour Bluff location in late September. Bendett, the pastor of Rock City Church in Flour Bluff, has overcome many obstacles throughout his life. And there is no doubt he will overcome this one, too. Twenty-five years ago, he was buried alive during Hurricane Andrew in South Florida, fought his way back from alcohol and drug addiction and served a one-year prison sentence for drug possession. With all of that behind him, his faith is even more determined to rebuild that store in Port Aransas. “We’re moving pretty fast to rebuild,” he said. “And we are going to build the shop even more beautiful than it was before. In the meantime, I’m working to raise money to cover lost equipment not covered by insurance.” The pictures Bendett showed of the destruc-

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tion tell the story. Nearly 3 feet of sand, debris and seaweed cover the floors of the once beautiful 2,500-square-foot store. His walk-in freezer was blown across the street, and his costly gelato equipment was ruined. Of his two shops, it was the Port Aransas shop was the most successful. And now, he has several employees without work and a lot of money to raise, Bendett said. He didn’t have flood or windstorm insurance on his equipment due to how expensive it was. But fortunately, the building is covered by insurance and will be rebuilt. And not everything was a loss. Espresso machines, brewers and other equipment were salvageable. However, many of his largest-ticket items were ruined. “I’ve got great faith and great confidence we will come back stronger than before,” he said about the rebuilding efforts. In 2008, Bendett opened the first Coffee Waves at 5738 S. Alameda with partner and friend, Douglas Johnson. It quickly became successful and grew popular with TAMUCC students. In 2010, Bendett opened his Port Aransas store because of his love for that city. “That store took off so fast and was so busy that I needed to focus my full attention there,” he said. “Thus, I became a silent partner on the Alameda store and let my partner and his wife, Cora, run that.” Regarding the success of his Port Aransas location, Bendett said, “We pour artisan-level espresso and latte art rosettes into our drinks, we make exceptional handcrafted gelato just like they do in Italy and we slice fresh-cut Boar’s Head meat and cheese panini sandwiches daily. All of which we have been doing for nearly eight years in Port Aransas.” In speaking about Rock City Church, a non-denominational church located at 10309 SPID (on the corner of Waldron Road and SPID), Bendett said, “All of these businesses in the shopping center (including my own coffee shop) pay the church rent, which enables the ministry to focus on what matters most: giving back to the people in our community.” Bendett is determined in every way, and is a true testament to overcoming difficult challenges in life. “Hurricane Harvey is just another opportunity to reflect confident faith and overcome another obstacle in life.” And this is typical for Bendett, who grew up abandoned as a child, not going to


church, and who didn’t even taste his first cup of coffee until he was 33. Regarding going to prison for one year, He says it was one of the best things that ever happened to him. Bendett became a tutor to illiterates, teaching others how to read and write, and ultimately taught both his students and himself how to read the Bible during that time. “It was priceless time,” Bendett said. “I spent one year learning about the Bible, I got super fired up for Jesus and my life completely turned around. It really was a great year for me.” Bendett would go on to earn his earn a bachelor’s degree in organizational relations from Oral Roberts University and get his record expunged while living in Tulsa, Okla. And it was there as a student that he began his love affair with coffee after drinking his first macchiato from Nordaggio’s Coffee. Nordaggio’s Coffee would become his inspiration for starting coffee shops in the Coastal Bend. And it wasn’t just the good

coffee he loved; it was the community he had there. He would spend time with friends and family at that coffee shop daily. Similar to what his shop in Port Aransas had become before the ravages of Hurricane Harvey. What Bendett wants the most, though, is to help make Corpus Christi and Port Aransas better places, and for residents to work together to do it. Through the marketplace business and impactful ministry to those in need, he believes we can accomplish the task. “The name of the church is ‘Rock City’ because we are the city built on the rock, which is the Body of Christ, Texas, which is Jesus,” Bendett said. “We want to see this city be transformed. We want to drive back human trafficking, we want to drive back drug addiction, we want to drive back gang violence and we want to bring justice to injustices. So my heart is to see this city really become transformed and to really become healthy.” I N S P I R E C O A S TA L B E N D M A G . C O M

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REAL ESTATE

THE AFTERMATH

Local real estate after Harvey

H

urricane Harvey has impacted every life in the Coastal Bend in one way or the other. Some through the devastating losses of life and property, and others emotionally or financially, but all significantly. Even as we continue to strive to return to some sort of normalcy and routine, it is interesting to see how Harvey has impacted and will continue to impact the real estate market for years to come. The September sales data (provided by the Corpus Christi Association of REALTORS) for our region is the most current data report available at the time this article went to press. Overall, the overall Nueces County and Corpus

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Christi-specific markets are holding steady. In Nueces County, the median sales price is down only 0.3 percent, the active number of listings are up 4.2 percent and the total number of closed sales is down 14.1 percent, all compared to September of last year. In Corpus Christi alone, the median price is up 1.7 percent, active listings are up 8.7 percent and closed sales are down 6.4 percent, also compared to September 2016. Jim Wells County is showing similar trends, with an increase in sales prices of 8.7 percent, an increase of 14 percent in active listings on the market and a slight drop in the number of closed sales (6.7 percent). Without a doubt, Port Aransas has shown the greatest significant

decline in sales since Harvey, with only four transactions successfully closing, and, sadly, our Rockport neighbors are likely experiencing similar challenges. If you are considering buying or selling a property that was affected by Harvey, there are some important considerations you should keep in mind. Sellers: Do not be afraid to explain how you repaired your property, or chose not to repair your property. The biggest issue will always arise from a lack of true and honest disclosure about a property’s condition and damages. Buyers: Do not be afraid to ask how a property was repaired and who did the work, and plan to always employ a full round of in-

DOLGACHOV/BIGSTOCK.COM

By: CORAL DWORACZYK


spections to make sure you know what you are buying. As we are learning, bad things can happen to properties, but thankfully, they can be repaired and renovated to be returned to a safe and useable condition. All parties just need to be aware of the realistic circumstances surrounding a transaction. Thousands of properties in Texas were under contract before Harvey made landfall, and many are now in a state of limbo due to both major and minor damages incurred. Per the Texas Association of REALTORS’ One to Four Family Residential Contract (Resale), the seller is responsible for making repairs to restore a property to its previous condition as soon as reasonably possible. If this is not possible, the buyer may:

Save the Date!

• Choose to terminate the contract and receive a refund of their earnest money • Extend the time for performance of the repairs for up to 15 days (which may also extend the closing deadline) • Accept the property in its damaged condition with an assignment of any insurance proceeds, if permitted by the insurance carrier, and receive a credit from the seller at closing in the amount of the deductible Keep in mind that the property must still meet any lender’s underwriting requirements of property condition, so the last of these options may not always be available to all buyers. Landlords and tenants should not be overlooked under our current circumstances, especially considering the huge number of people who are displaced from their regular housing and seeking rental properties. Many have inquired regarding the legality of terminating leases (by either the landlord or the tenant) post-Harvey. If the subject property is deemed to be partially or completely uninhabitable, the Texas Property Code Section 92.054 explains acceptable procedures. First, if the damage from the casualty loss leaves the property “totally unusable for residential purposes,” and the tenant is not responsible for the loss, either the landlord or the tenant may terminate the lease by giving written notice to the other party property to the completion of repairs. If the property is “partially unusable for residential purposes,” and the loss is not caused by the tenant, the tenant is entitled to a reduction of rent in an amount proportionate to the extent of the property that is unusable, but only upon a county or district court judgment. In this case, the landlord and tenant may agree otherwise in a written lease. In regard to timely repairs to an insured casualty loss to a property, the period for the repairs does not begin until the landlord receives insurance proceeds. Regardless of the circumstances, the most in-demand commodity in the local real estate industry right now is patience. Whether you are selling, buying or leasing, these are trying times, but an objective, yet tolerant, mind will help most navigate their transactions. Please remember to also consult your real estate attorney for any legal guidance.

Corpus Christi Black Chamber of Commerce

Cordially Invites You To Join Us At Our Annual

Business & Young Entrepreneur Awards Banquet Honoring African Americans in “S.T.E.M. -featuring Engineers”

Sat., November 18, 2017 6:00pm - 10:00pm

Omni Hotel Corpus Christi 900 N. Shoreline Blvd., Corpus Christi, TX Ticket: $50 Sponsorships Available Purchase Online:www.blackchambercc.org F.M.I. 361.877.3634

KEYNOTE SPEAKER

M Johnny Barnes For more information, contact Coral Dworaczyk, M.S., Ph.D., REALTOR, at 979-229-2836 or www.realestatebycoral.com.

Retired IBM VP and CTO (Connecticut) (Native Corpus Christian) I N S P I R E C O A S TA L B E N D M A G . C O M

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EXPRESSIONS OF INSPIRATION

INTERRUPTION The winds were high, but the spirits are higher. Harvey is no match for the people of the Coastal Bend.

Photos by: Chantal Dubois of Shutterpix Photography

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Photos by: Kady Kreis

Photos by: LeAnna Morgan

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“WHERE FRAMING IS AN ART” Screen Printing | Embroidery Custom Rhinestones | Promotional Products | Camouflage Apparel Direct to Garment | Koozies | Decals

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


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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

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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

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Inspire Coastal Bend Business November/December 2017  
Inspire Coastal Bend Business November/December 2017  
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