by Oscar Castillo

Laredo is well-known to be an ever-busy city. In the midst of the urban jungle, it is nice to find a sanctuary to remind us of home. Whether traveling in the Laredo area, or simply in the midst of a home transition, hotels are a welcome bed in which to let worries melt away. However, with so many options on the market, it can be hard to choose where to spend your nights (and hard-earned money). One of the leading providers in excellent hotel service is Red Roof Inn.

Scott Halket is general manager at the Calton Road location of Red Roof. Having prior worked at a Dallas location, he came to Laredo in March of 2016, helping provide quality service to guests at the hotel, and wise leadership for his team. “Laredo is an interesting market,” he states. “With the proximity to the border and the multicultural aspect, it’s an interesting and challenging market to work with.” The Red Roof Inn receives guests from all over Mexico and the US on a daily basis. He expresses that his team highly encompasses values such as hospitality skills, caring about people, putting others before themselves, intelligence, compassion, commitment, bilingualism, responsibility, and punctuality.

“Our success has to do with the team that we have, which provide seamless service,” he adds. “It is a synthesis of caring and sympathetic staff, rates that are affordable, taking care not to forget about local as well as our incoming populations and styles of guests, and providing them all with an excellent experience.” Of course, another great aspect of this particular Red Roof is, as Halket adequately stated, “Location, location, location.” Being right in the center of the most popular areas in town, it is a great option for any occasion whether it be shopping or exploring the city.

Of course, what sets this location high on our charts is its utmost dedication for customer service. “Customer service means treating guests like they’re in your own home,” he continues. “Not treating them like a customer, but treating them like a guest. Anticipating their needs, and providing a seamless service before they even think of it.” An incredible feature that Red Roof counts with is its pet-friendly nature, which allows one to bring along their furry friends on trips. It is a delight to be pampered in the spacious rooms, or even to take a dip in the hotel’s glistening pool. Certainly a great option for an escape.

“We love to provide great service,” Halket states. “You need a cab? You need a restaurant to go to? You need directions on how to get someplace? Let us know. We’re here to serve you and treat you like you are family.” Contending to be not only Laredo’s best but also the region, Red Roof on Calton is worth it.

Owners of Cultura Beer Garden

By Maria Salas

Meet one half of a whole. Chris Contreras and Benny Contreras are two-fourths owners of Cultura Beer Garden. Their favorite past time, out of the many they have, is to have a good beer after a long day of work, which is perfect for their hobby turned business. Chris and Benny, along with their better halves, began their business from an opportunity that presented itself spontaneously. From the beginning, they have focused on bringing something new, different, and good to Laredo.

Cultura Beer Garden is a bar dedicated to offering non-traditional beer options to the community. They work with local Texas breweries to bring something new to the table. One of the things that makes them stand out from the rest is that they do weekly webisodes through their social media. Benny uses his hobby of audio and video technology to piece together videos to connect the community to Cultura Beer Garden. Chris is the one that stands in front of the camera talking about the hobby he knows best: beer.

When they’re not being beer gurus, Chris and Benny spend their time relaxing from their busy schedules. Chris enjoys riding his bike and playing music. Benny likes to drink beer and spend time with good friends eating good food, but as a true audio-video guy, he loves to play video games to unwind.

They’ve learned that working as a team is what makes Cultura Beer Garden such a success. Their most important and resounding advice to others wanting to start an out-of-the-box business is to basically go for it. If you have an idea, do it. They tell others to find like-minded people, set up a plan, and execute. No matter what comes your way, be relentless. They believe that if you want a genuine business, you’ll encounter genuine people.

They plan to grow and expand and keep offering the city things they’ve never tasted before. Here’s to hearing more about Cultura Beer Garden in the future. Cheers!

The New Year is a time for new beginnings. However, something cannot take place without the proper actions and motivations. This rings especially true for Fernando Gonzalez. At 25 years old, Fernando has realized the dream that many wish to do so: to get in better shape. Formerly weighing up to 348 lbs, he shares his experience throughout his weight loss challenge.

“I started following Gaby Cadena on Facebook and Snapchat; saw the challenges and decided to give it a shot,” he states. “I used to work out, but never knew what I was doing. I would lose some weight, but after a while, I would rebound and gain it back. Thanks to Gaby, I feel motivated to keep it lost and lose more.”

Gaby’s challenge is no walk in the park, but it certainly bears results. Additionally, Fernando has not only completed the challenge once, but thrice, and is on his way to complete it a fourth time as of this month. “When I stuck to the challenge, I first got to the 250’s, then the second time, I got to the 220’s. I had never been more fit, and never in my life did I think I would reach this point.”

Fernando describes how, prior to the challenge, he led a very “heavy” lifestyle. “I used to love going out with my friends and drinking, going to parties, and to cookouts,” he confesses. “This meant probably eating at two in the morning, and finally getting home and sleeping around four. Now it has flipped. Now I wake up at 4:30 so I can be at the gym by 5 and start warming up and then go to the class.”

Fernando advises to stick to the regimen and to not give up hope. “A lot of people try it but don’t give it their 100%. I guarantee that if you give it your all, you’ll see the changes. ‘Cambias porque cambias,’” he says. For his hard work and dedication, and for showing us that “Si se puede,” Fernando is our person of the month.