One Big Lake family’s biggest dream is becoming a reality thanks to the Big Lake Economic Development Corporation and the City of Big Lake.
“Victor has always wanted to be able to give back to the youth of Big Lake,” Amanda Esquivel said of her husband. “He was able to get hands on experience at an automotive shop while at Reagan County High School, and would like to give today’s high school students a chance to gain that type of experience.”
Victor and Amanda Esquivel own and operate BL-MACO Services, an automotive and diesel repair and service shop.
“Victor worked with Howard Morris Automotive all four years of high school,” Amanda said. “When he graduated, he attended Universal Technical Institute in Houston.”
Once at UTI, Victor was in class with other students who had a lot of hands on experience in the automotive field before ever arriving in Houston.
“Victor had a little experience,” Amanda said. “But nothing like what the other students had. He could see how a kid going into UTI with no experience could be frustrated, and how it could cause them to quit.”
BL-MACO started in Big Lake nine years ago with a single service truck.
The business has grown through the years with the Esquivels leasing the Texas Auto Sales building two years ago.
“We had a desire to expand our business more,” Amanda said. “We want to give students at Reagan County High School the chance to work toward a trade while in school and gain that valuable experience.”
The Esquivels’ dream of teaching the youth of Big Lake a valuable trade meant their current location was too small and outdated.
“We ultimately needed a more professional work environment for the kids,” Amanda said. “The EDC and City have made it possible for us to provide
that kind of professional and safe grounds for them to learn.”
The Big Lake City Council approved a $408,277.00 grant from the Big Lake Economic Development Corporation to make the Esquivels’ dream a reality.
“BL-MACO has outgrown its current facility,” EDC Director Gloria Baggett said. “In other words, their current facility is limiting the amount of business they can conduct and their future growth.”
The grant will allow the Esquivels to build a brand new three bay shop, purchase additional equipment (such as lifts necessary for 18-wheelers, and a digital scanner), and purchase a towing truck to expand their line of services.
Along with the grant, the BLEDC is also selling BL-MACO the Cox Resources property (located at 606 N State Highway 137) to relocate their business to.
That property was appraised at $288,000.00 and purchased by the BLEDC for $200,000.
The BLEDC is selling the property to the Esquivels for $200,000 at a 3 percent interest rate. The BLEDC will carry the financing.
“With the improvements the Esquivels will be making to the property, the value of the property will increase to north of $500,000,” Baggett said. “That exceeds the amount of the grant being given. The EDC will also carry the financing for the tow truck with a lien.”
Baggett said this is, by far, the largest grant the EDC has ever awarded.
“It is also the most secure,” Baggett said. “The EDC owns the property which will be the security of the grant.”
Amanda said construction on the new shop should begin at the end of May and will take three months to complete. They are also working with Glasscock Chevrolet to purchase the tow truck, which should be delivered at the end of May as well.
“We are so thankful to the EDC and the City,” Amanda said. “Without them, our dreams would not come true. It is an amazing feeling knowing they believe in us.”
Amanda said, once the shop is operational, her and her husband plan to reach out to the school district and work toward a workforce development program through the BLEDC to allow the youth of Big Lake access to hands on experience.
“A lot of kids have the potential,” Amanda said. “They just lack the knowledge. We’d love to give them access to a trade if college is not for them.”