Business Finds Sweet Success In Mercedes
Shannon’s Sweets sits on a western entrance to the Rio Grande Valley Premium Outlets, greeting shoppers with a type of business and cuisine not usually associated with the retail center.
Lunchtime sandwiches of chicken salad and turkey and avocado to go with a variety of salads are offered on a tasty menu. Coffees and teas are also available. Rows of freshly baked cookies and brownies lay adjacent to the main counter. In the kitchen and out-and-about in her 2400-square-foot restaurant, Shannon Farrell is an entrepreneur, working hard, staying late, and seeing possibilities.
“There’s so much opportunity in Mercedes,’’ Farrell said.
Shannon’s Sweets is an inviting place and an ideal landing spot to retreat from the mall crowds and enjoy a healthy lunch or dinner. How Farrell got to the retail center in Mercedes is partly a story of happenstance and working her way to a prime location in the heart of the Rio Grande Valley.
Farrell got her start in the food service business working for Chick-Fil-A. She specialized in marketing during her time with Chick-Fil-A, representing restaurants in McAllen. From there, Farrell worked in public relations for the Palm Valley Animal Center in Edinburg before returning to food services in working for a vendor that served then-University of Texas-Pan American.
It was during that last stop that Farrell ran a café for a large church in McAllen. It was a part-time job that gave her a first step into the restaurant business. She worked on recipes and drinks, getting a sense of what it’s like to serve customers in that setting. The urge to open up her own business would come in due time and the first Shannon’s Sweets opened in McAllen.
There Farrell sat in a place she said seated “12 people at the most,’’ when a customer walked in one day. He is the general manager of the outlet mall in Mercedes and he had a message.
“He said, `You ought to open up a place like this at the mall. We need something like this,’ ’’ she recalled. “We were kind of stunned.’’
Farrell and her business partner, Eric Trevino, took in that observation and looked into the possibilities. They were shown the available space where Shannon’s now sits, and after some serious deliberations, decided to go for the move to Mercedes. Opening on March 30 of this year, Shannon’s has moved forward to establish itself with its restaurant, catering services, and cakes of all types. Deliveries are made in the mall to appreciative store managers and employees.
“The feedback has been great,’’ Farrell said. “We’ve heard `it’s great you’re here. We needed something like this here.’ ’’
The hours are long as Farrell and Trevino are the only employees for now, but their love for the business is apparent. They see their business as having a component of faith and Bible chapters and verses are written on the beverage cups they serve.
“There’s no easy way to do this,’’ Trevino said. “It’s hard work and perseverance. We keep our faith in God and do our best to make what we’re doing a success.’’
- Ricardo D. Cavazos