‘Legacy Business’: Harlingen shop recognized during SBA celebration

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Pictured from left are Mark Magouirk, owner of Tommy Graham’s Paint and Body in Harlingen, Angela R. Burton, district director for SBA’s the Lower Rio Grande Valley District Office, and Edward “Ted” James, Region 6 Administrator. (Courtesy Photo)

Tommy Graham’s Paint and Body in Harlingen has been named an “SBA Legacy Business” by the U.S. Small Business Administration as part of SBA’s 70th anniversary celebrations.

Founded in 1978 by the late Tommy L. Graham with the help of an SBA 7(a) guaranteed loan, the company is one of 68 businesses across the United States to receive the honor. SBA’s Lower Rio Grande Valley District Office announced the company’s inclusion on Aug. 24.

Tommy Graham’s has been located at 911 S. Commerce St. since 1986.

Mark Magouirk, who began working for the company at the age of 14, eventually took over management of the business when the Grahams were no longer able. In 2007, Magouirk met with an advisor at the Harlingen Chamber of Commerce’s Small Business Development Center, where he received technical assistance in developing a business plan.

Magouirk purchased the company not long after Graham’s death in 2010, retaining the business name in the founder’s honor. Tommy Graham’s is well known in Harlingen and has received a number of awards and other recognition. Magouirk credits SBA’s Paycheck Protection Program for allowing him to keep his employees on the payroll during the COVID pandemic.

“It’s such an honor to have been recognized as an SBA Legacy Small Business,” he said. “Our legacy may be a reflection of our past works and struggles, but the true value is when those works make a positive impact on someone’s future.”

SBA Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman rang the closing bell at the New York Stock Exchange on July 31 to celebrate the 68 Legacy Businesses and mark SBA’s 70th anniversary. SBA Regional Administrator Edward “Ted” James said the Legacy Businesses “represent the rich history and traditions that have shaped communities across the South-Central region.”

“I am honored to recognize their resilience and dedication to success as SBA celebrates 70 years of small business support,” he said.

SBA was established by Congress in 1953 under the Small Business Act to “aid, counsel, assist and protect, insofar as is possible, the interests of small business concerns.” The agency has delivered millions of guaranteed loans, loan guarantees, contracts, counseling sessions and other assistance to small business since its founding.

Angela Burton, SBA Lower RGV District director, said it’s an honor to recognize an SBA Legacy Business in the Valley.

“As SBA concludes this remarkable month-long journey celebrating seven decades of fostering dreams, fueling ambitions and forging connections, we stand poised at the intersection of tradition and transformation, ready to lead aspiring entrepreneurs into the future,” she said. “A big shout out to everyone who celebrated with us.”