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Texas Lone Star Collision: Minority Owned Small Business of the Year 2019

SAN ANGELO – How does Texas Lone Star Collision, a local San Angelo business, in just four years become the Minority Owned Business of the Year 2019 when the odds were stacked against it to succeed? Those stacked odds are as follows. It is not in a great location, not even on a major intersection. There is no business sign. Also, TLSC is in an underdeveloped area.  “But with God there are no limitations” stated Mrs. Grace Garcia, one half of the dynamic TLSC duo, the other one being her husband, Mario. Although the Garcia were named Minority Owned Small Business of the Year, Mario is not new to the auto body business as he has been in it for the past 30 years.

Photos from recognition award provided by ASU Small Business Development  

Flaco Guapo Media recently met with Mario and Grace in their office. The first question among many asked of them was the obvious one. “How does it feel to be the 2019 MOB of the Year? “For me it feels awesome for the efforts that we are doing.” “For being a Hispanic small business, it is special to me” said Mario Garcia. “I felt honored to be nominated.” “I could never have actually imaged that we would have won” said Mrs. Garcia.

When Mario and Grace launched out on this great entrepreneurial adventure four years ago next month June 8, 2015, followed by becoming members at Freedom Fellowship, both personal and business fittingly came together as they honored the Lord in those two particular areas of their lives.

Interestingly, the original destination for Mario to start the business was not even in San Angelo. “We were going to buy a location in Boerne.” However, Mario’s son, Ricky said there was a body shop in San Angelo that was for sale. So, wasting no time, Mario and Grace came down to “explore the land” so to speak. When they both agreed that the business location, 18 E Washington St. was God’s will for them, they had the “peace that passes all understanding” to start their business by faith here.

 Below is the complete unedited 22 minute interview with Mario and Grace. Besides being interviewed on their award, both were asked how they ended up being together. That response comes at about the 12 minute mark.


“While it’s been hard, at the same time it’s been a blessing” said Mario. The pièce de résistance--the best and most important thing, or rather blessing was when God honored them with the 2019 MOSB prestigious award for the SBA San Antonio District, which encompasses 55 counties and includes the cities of San Angelo, San Antonio, Austin, and Laredo.

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), San Antonio District Office and the University of Texas at San Antonio South-West Texas Border Small Business Development Center Network honored the district's 2019 Small Business Week winners at a special breakfast awards ceremony on Wednesday, May 8, 2019 at the Magnolia Halle, located in the heart of San Antonio, Texas.

Photos from recognition award provided by ASU Small Business Development  

It was Mr. Dave Erickson, Director of the ASU Small Business Development Center, who nominated such a humble, hard working couple. “The award honors a minority-owned and operated business who exhibits successful sales and profits, have created employment opportunities and use innovative or creative business methods that demonstrate potential for long-term business success” Mr. Erickson said.
“Mario and Grace are great examples of the entrepreneurial spirit in San Angelo. They made that leap of faith many entrepreneurs undertake to have their dreams come true. They were committed to have a successful business and give back to the community they care so deeply about” concluded Erickson.

Mario also stated that no business owner makes it on their own and TLSC is no exception. The Garcia’s personnel staff has Tyra Chappa as its' office coordinator, while Ricky Garcia is estimator/ painter, technician. As for Mario, he is the owner and Platinum I-CAR Certified Painter while Grace is the office manager and marketing director. Other members include: Gary Tovar and Mark Griffin, both are bodymen; and previous bodyman, Bobby Lara. Mario also recognized his brother, Hector, master bodyman, who was with them when the business started. He was instrumental in getting them jump-started in moving in the right direction, business-wise. The sub-contractors - Edward Narro, Hail and Dent Specialist and detailer, Joe Garcia. And the most important, influential person in Mario's life, both personal and business was his beloved father, Joe Garcia who passed away several years ago. 

As for giving back to the community they dearly love, Mario has been involved with the Pan American Golf Association for the past 15 years. The PAGA awards $25,000 scholarships on  yearly basis. The Garcia’s volunteer with Grace handling registration while Mario is on the golf tournament committee. TLSC has been a major sponsor for the past four years.

For Mario and Grace, people of honor and integrity, at the center of their relationship and business is Jesus Christ. Integrity and honor are not just abstract terms or used in a flippant manner; for them it is who they truly are. The owners set the example in their daily operations as they bring their “A” game, that is show up to work every-day and give it their all. The Garcia’s put God first, family second and their business third “that is the order that God created for us” said Grace. To follow that model is doing the right thing. God’s kingdom way of doing things, both in one’s personal life and in business is called “righteousness”  Grace pointed out that in their office hangs a frame with a scripture reference “. . . whatever you do, do all to the glory of God (I Corinthians 10:31, NIV).