At this year’s Hispanic Business magazine EOY Gala, publisher Jesús Chavarría noted, "It is the determined, often lonely business visionary who really sets the wheels of change in motion for our society." Each year the magazine recognizes these heroes through the Entrepreneurial Spirit Awards.
During the course of the year, Hispanic Business receives hundreds of news releases, media kits, e-mails, and product samples from new and emerging small businesses. A select few possessing a remarkable business concept, marketing niche, organizational approach, or success story appear on these pages as winners of the 2002 Entrepreneurial Spirit Awards.
SCULPTOR MEASURES SUCCESS BY THE GALLON
Miguel Mercado is an artist with an unusual medium – water. The CEO of Ocean Gallery in El Paso leads a team of engineers and designers in constructing aquaria, lagoon-style swimming pools, waterfalls, and water sculptures.
The idea came in high school when Mr. Mercado cleaned aquaria that, although large and luxurious, lacked creativity. "They were big and they would make an impact, but they were all rectangular," he says. "There was nothing artistic to it."
Today he makes one-of-a-kind watery creations that invoke "good karma." A personal favorite is a 300-gallon, cube-shaped aquarium that spins slowly on one corner, like a die on a Las Vegas craps table.
Ocean Gallery’s products appeal to more than the eccentric rich. Companies incorporate water in their buildings because they think it brings good fortune. "A lot of people believe water creates positive vibes – and positive cash flow – in a business," Mr. Mercado says.
CRUISING LOW AND SLOW ON THE BLVD
The founders of BLVD magazine are taking back the streets. They believe the streets have been kidnapped by Primedia, the media conglomerate that bought Lowrider magazine from Alberto Lopez in 1997.
Now Mr. Lopez's brother Lonnie Lopez, former editor at Lowrider, and Elliot Gilbert, former creative director, have launched BLVD. The first issue hit the streets in October. Compared to Lowrider, BLVD will have a larger format and more photos of individual cars, according to Mr. Gilbert. He also plans to feature classier women who complement rather than compete with the road iron.
"We thought the cars deserved more than they were getting," he says. "We just thought the cars were fantastic, and we wanted to create a magazine that would reflect that."
Lowriding, originally a distinctive U.S. Hispanic automotive art form, has spread throughout the world. BLVD will reflect that with regular reports on lowriders in Mexico and Japan, Mr. Gilbert says.
DR. NAVARRO GIVES LEGS A LIFT
Support hose doesn't enjoy a great reputation among the fashion-conscious. Those who need support hosiery usually endure their ugly appearance and heavy weight in an attempt to control the spread of spider and varicose veins.
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