Jose “Joe” G. and his wife, Sylvia, own a sports bar called “Joe’s Hide Out.” They offer cold beer and snacks, as well as a friendly atmosphere where anybody can get to know everybody. Open Tuesday through Sunday from 11 in the morning to 12 at night, it is closed Monday so that Jose and Sylvia can spend time with Jose’s elderly mother. As Sylvia says, “Our customers are our friends and family.” Their loyal clientele includes locals as well as “Winter Texans” who come from as far away as Canada to spend winters in the small town of Donna in the Rio Grande Valley.
In 2003, Joe acquired the bar from an elderly man wanting to retire. In order to work the bar, Joe took a temporary leave of absence from H-E-B, a Texas grocery store where he had worked for eighteen years. At the end of three months, Joe realized that he loved owning the bar and resigned from H-E-B.
Joe and Sylvia live in a house across the street from the bar. They work hard to make “Joe’s Hide Out” a fun place to be.
Every day, Joe and his wife serve free "botana" (snacks) like squash and chicken, beef and potatoes, and hot dogs. Recognizing their generosity, customers sometimes pitch in to help cover the cost. Even when that doesn’t happen, Joe and Sylvia believe it is worth it, because it is fun and attracts business.
Another tradition at “Joe’s Hide Out” is the rule is that whoever rings the bell must buy a round for everyone in the bar. Sometimes Joe rings the bell, which gets the customers excited and typically leads to their buying rounds for each other. On the weekends, Jose, Sylvia, and their friends and customers barbecue on their outside grill. They have musicians come and play music while customers eat, drink, and dance on the patio.
This is Joe and Sylvia’s second loan with ACCION Texas-Louisiana. With their first loan, they expanded the bar, added pool tables, and bought a television. With this loan, they will fix the bar’s air conditioner and repair their parking lot.
LiftFund. (www.liftfund.com) is an award-winning nonprofit organization (previously known as Accion Texas) with a mission to provide credit and loans to small and start-up businesses that have limited or no access to credit from commercial sources. Established in 1994 in San Antonio, LiftFund has helped Texas and Louisiana entrepreneurs strengthen their businesses, stabilize and increase their incomes, create employment, and contribute to the economic revitalization of their communities. Learn more at www.liftfund.com.