September 2019
Keep up with everything happening in Harlingen. Learn about economic development, new businesses, prospects, and how our HEDC staff works hard to make Harlingen a better place live, work, play and of course, to do business in.
A Letter from Raudel Garza, HEDC Manager & CEO
Over the last couple of weeks, the Garza household has celebrated two birthdays. Christian just turned ten on August 24 th, and Faith turned eight yesterday. These celebrations of life caused me to think about how kids develop. As we’ve watched these kids grow up, we see patterns developing in them. Like other kids, they are all different. Some kids love to play sports, while others enjoy the arts. Some kids can tinker with Legos all day long, and others would rather be playing on their Xbox or Nintendo Switch. In my household, it’s all of the above and more: scouts, cheer, swimming, chess, ballet, jazz and tap, fishing, etc. But aside from being different, they still have many similarities. After all, they are family.

Here in the Rio Grande Valley, communities are much like kids. They are all different, but yet we are all similar. Cities develop certain growth patterns. Some become bedroom communities, while others seem to grab every new retailer that comes into the region. Some focus on education, while others on healthcare. Some lean towards the service industries while others manufacturing and logistics. Some want to maintain the “small town” feel, while others strive to become a metropolis. Some don’t mind sprawl, while others are learning to minimize it. In the end, we are all one region. We all have similar challenges and similar success stories. 

As time goes on, with proper planning, each community will find its niche. We don’t expect our kids to be everything. They will gravitate to what makes them happy and special. Communities should strive to do the same. We can work together as a family yet maintain different identities as cities and towns. We should all strive to complement each other rather than compete against each other. After all, we are family.

Stay tuned for some information on an upcoming strategic planning session for the HEDC Board. Harlingen's economic indicators all show positive signs of continued growth. Our workforce development partners continue to expand training opportunities for our citizens, which will in turn, help us with our recruitment efforts. We need to plan our next few years to go hand-in-hand with the City's comprehensive plan adopted in 2016. We welcome your input and ideas, as you can help us define what kind of community we grow towards.

Feel free to drop us a line at or call me at (956) 216-5081.


Raudel Garza
Manager and CEO

New Business & Prospects
  1. Bar-B-Cutie - COMING SOON
  2. Johnny Rockets
  3. Muelle 37- COMING SOON
  4. Firehouse Subs - COMING SOON
  5. Station 1 Bar & Grill
  6. Sir's Martini Lounge - COMING SOON
  7. Calacas Tacos and Beer - COMING SOON
  8. El Ultimo Taco - COMING SOON
  9. Juan More Taco
  10. Girl of all Trades
  11. Procured Life + Home
  12. Don Gollito
  13. Bullseye Burgers
  14. Your CBD Store
  15. Git R Sauces-Plates
  16. My Body Pilates
  17. Southern Senoritas
  18. Homewoods Suites by Hilton - COMING SOON
  19. The Flux Comic Store
  20. Tacos Locos #2

Currently, the HEDC has various industrial and commercial projects pending. The prospects include some manufacturing companies, logistics firms, customer contact centers, speculative office space developers, and more. Larger deals are not made overnight and take weeks, months and sometimes years, of hard work in order to get what's best for our community.
SPOTLIGHT: New Board Members & Staff
Board Member Spotlight: Eric Ziehe
Eric is a native of the Rio Grande Valley with deep roots in the business community and a local knowledge base in commercial real estate that started with appraising commercial property in 1990. After six years of appraising commercial real estate, he made the transition to commercial property sales and leasing. Eric, a CCIM, specializes in the sales and leasing of industrial properties, with additional experience in the sale of land, office and multi-family properties. 
Mr. Ziehe has served on several boards such as

  • TIRZ, City of Harlingen
  • Loaves & Fishes
  • Harlingen Industrial Foundation Inc.
  • Harlingen Rotary Club

Mr. Ziehe currently serves as Vice President on the Harlingen Economic Development Corporation's board.
HEDC Staff Spotlight

Selene D. Guerrero's role as a marketing manager is to market Harlingen and tell its story through various media platforms such as the website, social media, press releases, various publications and ads in digital and print. Selene works closely with various media outlets, advertising consultants and other marketing professionals to learn new ways to market Harlingen to our key industries.
Selene started her role as the marketing manager in May of 2019 and brings with her several years of experience in marketing for local government and a background in journalism.
"I see a story in everything from a new business to a longstanding family-owned business," Selene said.
"On a grander scale, I am now marketing our wonderful city and finding ways to put us front and center. There are many great stories to tell and we are working hard to bring even more economic successes and add to Harlingen's story."
Beverly Ticer Loftus began her job as Commercial Development Manager in May of 2019. Beverly brings a wide-range of business and marketing experience and is very active in the community, serving on various boards and now helping with Harlingen's economic growth. As the Commercial Development Manager, Beverly is responsible for the recruitment, expansion and retention of companies and helps develop small business programs and incubators.
"This position gives me the chance to do what I love most and that is to work with others to make Harlingen the best community to live, work, and play in." Beverly said.
"My only focus will not only be to recruit new business, but to build and strengthen existing relationships and be a resource."
See the rest of our Board and Staff here .
Harlingen, at the heart of education: TSTC University Center
Taking You Far, Keeping You Near
Aaron De Leon, director of vocational services at the Rio Grande State Supported Living Center, earned his bachelor of applied science from Wayland Baptist University in 2017. Then he turned around and started working toward his graduate degree with Wayland, too — all without ever leaving Harlingen.
“The University Center brings all these campuses to you and it gives you the opportunity to be able to pursue a degree from a different school you otherwise wouldn’t have had an opportunity to,” De Leon said. “I’d highly recommend the university center to other individuals that are trying to work and be able to pursue a bachelor’s degree or a graduate degree at these different universities because it just offers a great experience.”
The University Center opened its doors in 2011 as a 38,000-square-foot facility on the Texas State Technical College campus in Harlingen. The center represents a collaborative effort among TSTC, the City of Harlingen, and the Harlingen Economic Development Corporation.
Harlingen Happenings
Harlingen Spotlight Recognizes Harlingen's Business Community
Harlingen has many longstanding businesses, some that have been in Harlingen more than 100 years, and newer businesses that joined our community just months ago. To all of you, we say thank you for calling Harlingen home.
Harlingen Spotlight is our way of recognizing not just those longstanding businesses, but entrepreneurs who work hard to provide their services and non-profit organizations that contribute to our city and regionally. Read more .
Harlingen Spotlight: South Texas Emergency Care Foundation
The South Texas Emergency Care Foundation, Inc. (STEC) recently celebrated 40 years of service. The non-profit began in 1979 when the City of Harlingen, Valley Baptist Medical Center, and the Rotary Club came together to find a solution to the lack of ambulance services.
Prior to STEC, Harlingen and neighboring communities didn’t have a dedicated 24/7 year-round ambulance service.
“Services were fly-by-night,” Rene Perez, RN Paramedic & STEC Director of Patient Transport Services, said.
“Sometimes they were open, sometimes they weren’t and if anyone needed an ambulance, people had to figure out how to take the person to the hospital. Read more
SBA Opens Recovery Center in Harlingen to Help Businesses Impacted by Flooding
The U.S. Small Business Administration announces the opening of an SBA Business Recovery Center in Harlingen on Tuesday, July 23 to provide a wide range of services to businesses impacted by the severe storms and flooding that occurred June 24-25, 2019.
“Due to the severe property damage and economic losses inflicted on Texas businesses, we want to provide every available service to help get them back on their feet,” said SBA’s Director Tanya N. Garfield of the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Disaster Field Operations Center-West. “The center will provide a one-stop location for businesses to access a variety of specialized help. SBA customer service representatives will be available to meet individually with each business owner,” she added. No appointment is necessary. All services are provided free of charge. The center will open as indicated below.
Harlingen Tops Lists for "Lowest Cost of Living" & "Most Affordable in Groceries" In Recent Rankings

Harlingen once more topped recent rankings. The 2019  Business Facilities’ Metro Rankings  placed Harlingen as #1 for the Lowest Cost of Living in their Annual Metro Rankings.
Cost of living is a term that defines the amount of money needed to maintain a certain level of living that takes into account: food, clothing, healthcare, and living accommodations. Read more .
It's Trade Show Time
Harlingen EDC staff attends a number of trade shows and conferences throughout the year in order to promote our community. These events put us in front of potential businesses and help us gain more insight when it comes to types of companies looking to invest or grow their business in a new market.
Sumer trade shows helped us connect with retailers, site selectors, key industry prospects. These events also equip the HEDC staff with knowledge and creates opportunities for future economic growth.
Here are some of the trade shows we’ve attended this summer and an overview of each:

Other events attended
  • Retail Live
  • Team Texas Economic Summit
  • Mexico Aerospace Summit

Upcoming events include:

  • TEDC Sales Tax Workshop
  • TEDC Annual Conference
  • International Economic Development Council's Annual Conference
  • ICSC School for Retail
  • Pack Expo
  • SSG Fall Forum
If you have a big business announcement or would like to share more about why you choose to do business in Harlingen, let us know.