For that dedication to the community and for building an impeccable reputation in the local business community, the Bee County Chamber of Commerce named Alaniz and Perez Garage its business of the year Friday night.
The banquet hall at the Beeville Country Club was packed when local banker Mike Marshall stood up to present the award.
He reminded the community that the Alaniz family first went into business here in 1953 when Cruz Alaniz and his brother-in-law, Margarito Perez, opened a garage and service station on South Washington Street.
In 1955, the two men dissolved the partnership and Alaniz took charge of the garage while Perez maintained the service station.
Cruz and his wife, Sophia, had four sons, two of whom went into the family business.
The oldest, Cruz Jr., became an educator and the youngest, Moses, eventually ended up being an agent for the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Joe Henry and Luis took over the business. In the years that followed, the brothers opened a new location on South St. Mary’s Street and began expanding the family’s business interests.
At one time or another, the Alaniz family has owned and operated an auto parts business, a hardware store, a used car dealership and a tire shop.
Today, the business focuses on the garage, the city’s most modern car wash and Aztec Chevrolet, a General Motors dealership on the U.S. Highway 181 Bypass.
The Alaniz family provides paychecks for more than 46 people in Bee County. That includes a number of Cruz Sr.’s grandsons, Jody, Cruz, Louie and Jaime.
Marshall said the family has built its reputation on honesty, dependability and a focus on core values and a good work ethic.
In 2005, Luis said “There’s no secret to it,” when explaining the family’s success in business. “Just work and a lot of luck,” he said.
During Friday evening’s event, the chamber honored members of a number of volunteer fire departments in the area.
The keynote speaker, state Sen. Glenn Hegar of the 18th Senatorial District of Texas, thanked the firemen for their service.
The resident of Katy, population 13,000, said it is important that voters send people to the state Legislature who will represent rural Texas.
“I can still go to town and very few people know who I am,” Hegar said. “And you know that’s a good thing.’
Hegar said he represents 19 counties in Texas, which combined are about the size of several New England states.
The senator said 44 of the states in the nation have legislatures which meet every year. Texas is one of only six which still meet every other year.
“When we’re in session people guard their wallets and purses and wonder ‘what you’re going to do to me today.’”
“When we’re not in session, you don’t have to worry about that,” Hegar said.
The senator said a man once told him that he thought the Texas Legislature ought to meet every year. When Hegar asked the man why, he was told, “So you can repeal everything you passed the year before.”
Hegar said that comment made sense to him.
The speaker also reminded people to fill out and return their U.S. Census forms. Texas is one of the few states in the nation that has an expanding population and the state stands to see an increase in the number of seats it has in the U.S. House of Representatives. The results of this year’s population count will determine that.
Hegar said he has served in four legislative sessions since being elected to the Texas House of Representatives years ago. The next session will be his fifth, “and it’ll be the toughest session I’ve been through.” He said the legislators in the next session will face some of the toughest budget problems ever for this state.
The senator urged everyone to support their chambers of commerce. He said local chambers of commerce are a great source of information about any community.
“Texas is a really, really wonderful place to live,” Hegar said. He turned to his colleague, State Rep. Yvonne Gonzalez Toureilles, and said, “Thanks for letting us serve you.”
Hegar then urged all Texas residents to keep in touch with their elected representatives.
“If somebody doesn’t pick up the phone, if somebody doesn’t call us, we can’t know what needs to be done,” he said.
Local businessman John Galloway presented Hegar with a mesquite wood clock in appreciation for his appearance at the banquet.