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Living Inside the Box

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By Lisa Harrison Rivas

Local entrepreneur aims to bring more shipping container homes to S.A.

It’s no secret that in San Antonio and much of the nation home prices are on the rise. Affordability is an issue in many communities, and this has led to thinking outside of the box when it comes to creating housing that is both affordable and appealing. The tiny house option is one way some are downsizing their living space as well as their debt. Shipping container homes are another unique dwelling option.

Though not a new concept, these homes are not common in the San Antonio area, but master designer Anya K. Bartay wants to change that. She has designed a house on the East Side using two shipping containers, and she also can incorporate several of the 40′ x 8′ containers to build a multi-level home that’s as big as a traditional house. The base price for a 2,000 square-foot home is around $220,000.

Her love of design and architecture began when she was a child. She spent part of her childhood in Panama and said that experience helped her appreciate the value of what we have in the United States.

She also credits her life in Panama with spurring the creation of Project N.O.A.H which stands for Net Zero Affordable Housing. Bartay stresses she is not designing government housing but housing that is affordable.

One of the homes she designed sits on the East Side and will become an Airbnb rental so that people can see what a shipping container home is like before they buy one. And soon, Bartay and her family will move into a container home she is building in Northeast San Antonio. It will be a model home she and her family will be living in for a year to provide data on how the house impacts the environment.

“We’re going to work with UTSA, CPS, Eco Central on monitoring all of the systems that are going to be implemented in that house. The solar, the rainwater collection to see how much is real, how much we use. To see how less of an impact we create with that house.”

Bartay recently discussed her plans to bring more shipping container homes to San Antonio.

Q: What are you working on right now?

A: I’m working on a partnership with a factory that is already building shipping container homes to facilitate my need for the construction and to help them with their need for sales. We do have a subdivision that we have in mind. The owners of that property (on the Southside) said they will give us the land and we will create a neighborhood.

Q: Why would someone choose to buy a shipping container home?

A:  The first thing is safety. The container is resistant to tornados, hurricanes, torrential winds. Lots of construction won’t withstand those different disasters.

Q: How do people react to your project?

A: When I give them a proper understanding of what container homes could look like, their reaction is wonderful.

Q:  How did you become interested in building shipping container homes?

A: What I did was start doing searches and finding out what would be acceptable to present to people I worked with who needed a little bit of financial assistance getting their architectural needs met. So, shipping containers came up.

Q: Have you talked to city officials?

A:  I have presented this to Bexar County Commissioner Tommy Calvert Jr., Senator Jose Menéndez, Neighborhood Housing Services of America and SAHA. And they’ve all agreed to using it.

Q: So how did you get training to build these homes?

A:  Once I had a nonprofit ask me about my designs, and then I got an investor. I looked up the details on YouTube and I put them into practice and started doing the work myself. I’ve been drawing it for years, so it’s just doing it now.

Q: Describe your style

A: I have 75 percent masonry on the outside and all the different means that everyone has for permanent housing. We are embedded into the foundation. And one of the biggest things is that we provide a thermal insulation coating and a rust-o proof coating for the container so that we avoid mold or any kind of disease.

Q: How much would a basic container home cost?

A: $110 a square foot (40-foot long containers are used). We have closing costs and money down assistance for an FHA or conventional loan.

Q: What type of foundation do the homes have?

A: We can do piers if you have elasticity in the soil. And you can do a regular slab on grade if you have nice solid bedrock.

Q: How long does it take to complete?

A: It should take no more than three months, but we’re going to be striving for one and a half. Most of the construction happens in one day. If it’s a custom, we’ll say three to six months.

Q: What are some of the things you can do to customize a container home?

A: Instead of sheetrock, you may want to use wood paneling, or put brick on the outside, or have an accent wall. You can do a lot of different variations of finishes.

Q: Do you help clients come up with a design?

A:  We try to help get the psychology behind the client’s needs and implement it into the design.


Lisa Harrison Rivas is a Realtor with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices, Don Johnson Realtors. If you are planning to buy or sell, feel free to contact her at 210-380-9006 or 
lhrivas@realsa.com

Business

Madam C.J. Walker Doll Newest In the Collection

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Madama C.J Walker joins the likes of Ida B. Wells, Maya Angelou, and Rosa Parks. The Barbie® Inspiring Women™ Series which pays tribute to incredible heroines of their time; courageous women who took risks, changed rules and paved the way for generations of girls to dream bigger than ever before adds the Madam C.J. Walker doll to its collection

Madam C. J. Walker was born Sarah Breedlove in 1867 on a Delta, Louisiana cotton plantation. The daughter of parents who were formerly enslaved and became sharecroppers, Walker would become a successful entrepreneur and the nation’s first documented self-made female millionaire. Barbie® honors her unflinching determination with a collectible doll, sculpted to her likeness. Complete with a “Madam C.J. Walker’s Wonderful Hair Grower” accessory, Madam C.J. Walker Barbie® doll makes a stunning addition to any collection. A doll stand and Certificate of Authenticity are included.

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Business

HEB Hiring: On-site Interviews August 23rd

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On-site interviews will be available at career fairs held at all H-E-B, Central Market, and Mi Tienda stores in Texas.

H-E-B, the state’s largest private employer, will host a one-day hiring event geared to help fill full- and
part-time positions at the store level. For this effort, which is the retailer’s largest ever one-day hiring event, H-E-B will provide on-site interviews at career fairs held at every H-E-B, Central Market and Mi Tienda store in Texas.

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*Candidates who attend will receive on-site interviews only for open positions at the store they visit.

Stores will hold a career fair from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 23. Candidates who attend will receive on-site interviews only for open positions at the store they visit. An online application must be submitted before interviews are conducted. To expedite their experience, candidates are encouraged to complete an application before attending. Applications and details about open positions can be found at careers.heb.com/careerfair. For interviews, translators and disability accommodations will be available upon request.

These in-store career fairs will focus on hiring for all store hourly roles such as Curbside, checkers, produce and deli representatives, artisan bakers, kitchen production, cooks, meat cutters, overnight stockers, store sanitation, True Texas BBQ restaurants, and more. While roles, such as checker and in-store shoppers, will start at $15 per hour, starting pay for specific roles are listed in their respective job descriptions, which can be found on the H-E-B Careers site. You must be 16 years or older to apply for customer service associate, checker, Curbie, and Curbside in-store shopper opportunities. Other store positions have a minimum age requirement of 18 years old.

H-E-B continues to grow its business across all areas of the company, maintaining its push as an economic driver for Texas. Across the state, H-E-B continues to open new stores, expand its omnichannel offerings, and grow within existing locations, furthering the need to add talented Partners dedicated to take care of Texas and provide customers with the best shopping experience. Currently, the company employs more than 145,000 Partners.

Regularly recognized as a top employer in the nation, H-E-B will provide training, competitive pay, and a robust benefits package that includes 10 percent off H-E-B brand products, and career and leadership development. Once eligible, Partners can become a company owner through the H-E-B Partner Stock Plan, can participate in 401k with company match, and sign up for medical, dental and vision plans, among other benefits. 

“At H-E-B, our success starts with our amazing Partners, who work hard every day to serve Texans across the state,” said Mayerland Harris, H-E-B Group Vice President of Talent. “As we grow, we’re committed to hiring more people who are excited to provide our customers and communities the best H-E-B has to offer, in our stores, online, and through passionate community service.”

Soon-to-open H-E-B locations such as PlanoFrisco, Willis, and Magnolia will not participate in this one-day career fair. People seeking opportunities at soon-to-open stores can find openings and apply for those jobs via the H-E-B Careers site.

As H-E-B continues to expand its network across the state, additional opportunities also are available in manufacturing, warehousing, transportation, e-commerce fulfillment centers, corporate, and H-E-B Digital.  Details about additional job opportunities in all areas of H-E-B’s business are available at heb.com/careers.

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Black Life Texas

Black Chamber of Commerce Uplifting Businesses

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August is #National Black Business Month and this is an opportunity for Black businesses to be celebrated, supported, and promoted for the milestones Black-owned firms have accomplished.
Being a business owner is hard work and luckily entrepreneurs have national and local chambers of commerce looking out for their best interests.

Recently the United States Black Chamber of Commerce (USBC) came out with its 2022 BlackPrint publication that lists some of its main priorities. The annual publication is provided to give the U.S. Congress and corporate decision-makers a blueprint to support Black-owned businesses.

Some of these priorities include reforming the federal 8(a) program, which was created to give opportunities to minority businesses. However, the program has been dominated by female-owned firms. USBC said if Alaska Native Corporations in the 8(a) program are given an advantage in Alaska over other underserved business owners then this model can be used for Black-owned businesses in other states. USBC would also like to see the expansion of opportunities for Black-owned cannabis businesses. Although cannabis dispensaries (medical and recreational) are fully legal and operational in over 33 states, an overwhelming majority of cannabis businesses are white-owned.

. . . Texas has the largest Black population among the 50 states and the third most Black-owned businesses.


Another priority includes increasing Black-owned companies in radio and TV. According to the Federal Communications Commission in 2019, 77% of AM radio stations were owned by white operators, while only 3% were owned by Black operators, 7% were Hispanic-owned, and 3% were Asian-owned. Only 2% of commercial FM broadcasters are Black compared to 77% of stations owned by white broadcasters. The figures for television ownership are no different. USBC says without Black representation in the media, Black voices and stories cannot be elevated to the extent of those that white-owned stations receive.
USBC adds the Federal government should institute a nationally-recognized Black-owned business certification which they believe would help federal and local governments increase their business with Black companies, contractors, and suppliers. USBC also wants the Black business community to lead global trading initiatives throughout Africa to capitalize on burgeoning economic opportunities in one of the world’s fastest-growing economies.

At the state and local levels, Black businesses also can turn to the Texas Association of African American Chambers of Commerce (TAAACC) and two San Antonio Black chambers of commerce.

TAAACC is a 32-year-old organization formed by 24 Black chambers of commerce operating in Texas to advocate on their and their member’s behalf. TAAACC says Texas has the largest Black population among the 50 states and the third most Black-owned businesses. Despite this presence and the huge sums of money expended to deliver government services to Texans, Black-owned businesses come in virtually last in contract awards from state agencies. TAAACC said that’s why it’s important to have a network of Black business organizations to combat these glaring disparities.

In San Antonio, it’s estimated that only 5% or a total of 9,985 firms in the San Antonio-New Braunfels metro area are African American-owned. The overwhelming majority (95% or 9,500) of Black-owned firms are non-employer firms without paid employees. Only 485 Black-owned firms or 1.5% have employees – which is much lower than the 7% share of the population that is African American. Thankfully the city has two chambers of commerce encouraging Black entrepreneurship.

The Alamo City Black Chamber of Commerce was founded in 1938 as the Negro Chamber of Commerce when 12 men and one woman, Miss Euretta K. Fairchild, decided to form an organization to address the business needs of the Black community in San Antonio. The San Antonio Negro Chamber of Commerce was formed as an outgrowth of a program by the local chapter of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity’s “Bigger and Better Business” week.”

The African American Chamber of Commerce of San Antonio (AACCSA) was founded in 1993 by a group of African American business owners and consumers seeking to improve the economic status of Black business owners and the African American community. The vision was to form an organization that would advocate on behalf of emerging and established businesses, help to create new market opportunities, provide access to capital, and revitalize African American communities.

Both these organizations, along with the national and state Black chambers of commerce, play a pivotal role in uplifting Black business. Alamo City and African American chambers host many events and learning workshops for San Antonio businesses to compete at higher levels.
To learn more about the Alamo City Chamber visit (AlamoCityChamber.org) and to learn about the African American Chamber, go to (AfricanAmericanChamberSA.org).

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