IMPERIAL – The Imperial Valley Joint Chambers of Commerce held their Business Showcase 2013 Thursday, January 10th at the fairgrounds.
The turnout was in the hundreds to view the many business tables and to taste the culinary delights of restaurants around the valley. Several businesses offered spins to win free gift cards or services they offered while others where there on an informational only basis.
Some merchants who sell primarily to other local businesses politely waited out the snowbirds that came from curiosity of the valley they call home every winter, these merchants knew the business they desired would come later in the show.
One merchant was more than happy to have the snowbirds stop at her booth, albeit the wait was long. Juanita Rebollar, owner and manager of The Original Town Pump Steakhouse in Westmorland and Brownies Diner in Brawley, greeted the snowbirds with open arms.
She fed them samples of what they offered and finished it off with their Red Velvet cupcake sampler.
“We served about 500 people last year, and it looks like we will do about the same this year,” a busy Rebollar said. “This worked so well for us last year; we really wanted to be here again this year. People kept coming in saying they had tried our food at the Business Showcase and wanted to try out our menu in person. This expo is good for us.”
A continual line formed at their booth as tasty morsels of grilled meat was generously handed out. Rebollar’s husband, Gabe, and son, Gil, along with several of their staff, worked along with Juanita to keep the line moving and questions answered.
Rebollar confessed that this was one of the few times that one or more weren’t at their restaurants personally managing the business. “We brought in extra staff to man the restaurants, but it does feel strange to have us all here and no one at work!”
Another site looked bare compared to many of the other decked out sites. A cowboy with a video playing next to him handed out National Beef brochures.
Within five minutes of speaking with Jess Larios, one feels like they have just met their next best friend. With an easy manner and warm personality, Larios enthusiastically speaks steaks, calves, production, and community.
“National Beef is the largest union employer and largest private employer in the valley. We buy locally whenever we can, we hire locally, and we support our community.”
National Beef doesn’t stop there. They also lead the field with their industry leading processing plant. They also lead in innovation in choosing their steers. They now buy dairy steers. This breed that produces milk at the expense of meat, in the steers born, create exceptional meat since steers (males) don’t produce milk. This direction has resulted in superior results due to being able to feed corn younger.
Larios is such an effective speaker he has been chosen to travel to the East Coast, the heartland, and even Hawaii, to educate the public about the excellent meat coming from the Imperial Valley.
The local beef industry also is the largest importer of beef to Japan. The valley is able to meet and beat their standards. “They like the fact, as do all of our customers, that we know when we got that steer, from where it came from; heck we even know its family!” Larios said.
“That’s why we get 94% of choice and prime from our steers, while the rest of the industry does well at getting 65 % choice and prime from their Angus line.”
“There are places here that serve our beef, Town Pump in Westmorland and Hot Rods Beer in Holtville do. We are in all the better restaurants now, too.”
Larios suggests that one go to www.wherefoodcomesfrom.com to learn more about our local beef industry.