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March 26 , 2004

Retail Connection makes SA connection with new office

March 26th, 2004 - The second office of Dallas-based The Retail Connection LP is officially up and running. Leading the new office, which is located in the Alamo City, is J. Sherman Hinkebein Jr. He most recently served as the executive vice president of the local office of The Weitzman Group -- the same Dallas-based real estate firm that Retail Connection CEO Steve Lieberman headed until he founded Retail Connection earlier this year. Lieberman's partner in the venture is Alan Shor, who most recently served as president and a member of the board of directors for jewelry retailer Zale Corp. Shor is president of Retail Connection. Hinkebein will serve as executive vice president for the local office. The company is located in the Forum Office Complex, at 8000 Interstate Highway 10 West, in Northwest San Antonio. Lieberman and Hinkebein go back a long way -- 19 years to be exact -- when the two first worked at Henry S. Miller. While at Weitzman, the two often teamed up on assignments, says Hinkebein, who was one of the first brokers for Weitzman's local office. The two began talking seriously about the San Antonio office for Retail Connection about two weeks ago, he adds. "I'm thrilled to have this opportunity to set up the office for (Lieberman) down here," Hinkebein continues. "(Lieberman) is still representing the tenants he always represented; I still have my group of (clients). Now we're going to focus on picking up more clients, and taking the idea of service to a higher level." Hinkebein says that his parting with Weitzman was amicable. "Really, this past year was my best year, both personally and professionally," he adds. "But (Lieberman) is such a dynamic person. To have that ground-floor opportunity to set up an office with him -- who wouldn't jump at the chance?" Lieberman, too, was eager to get the San Antonio office up and running. He began looking for the right opportunity early on to add The Retail Connection to the local real estate landscape. The new San Antonio office will offer a prime vantage point from which Retail Connection plans to strengthen its presence in the Central Texas market. Lieberman says Hinkebein will provide "exceptional service to our retail clients and greatly enrich our Central Texas operation." So what are Hinkebein's plans for growing Retail Connection's connections here? Like Lieberman, Hinkebein is not one to measure success by an office head count. "Steve (Lieberman) probably has about 20 resumes from people that want to work in the San Antonio office," Hinkebein says. "But we're going to do this right; we're going to concentrate on giving a level of service to our clients that exceeds their expectations. "I love the phrase 'responsible growth,' " Hinkebein continues. "We have the (infrastructure and support) in Dallas to where we can give a client tremendous service, without having the personnel that you used to have in an office." The Prickly Pear Good-bye Boccone's Restaurant. Hello to The Prickly Pear. The Nevarez family recently opened the new restaurant -- on the site of what had been Boccone's Restaurant, at Loop 1604 and Blanco Road in North Central San Antonio. Prickly Pear consists of what Nevarez calls a mix of steaks, chops and seafood -- combined with a Southwestern flair. "We fell in love with the location; we see an endless amount of growth poised for this area," says Mark Nevarez, who is the managing partner of the venture. An informal survey of the area's neighborhoods and businesses -- along with plans that Nevarez has been cooking up for such a restaurant for several years now -- led to the make-up of The Prickly Pear's menu. The concept is very different from the well-known Tex-Mex fare, says Nevarez, adding that dishes will be influenced by recipes from such locales as Monterrey, Mexico. "Besides," he adds, "how do you do (a restaurant with) a Southwest concept without some Mexican dishes? This place will have something for everyone, but I'll let the people judge for themselves." The response to the restaurant thus far has been "overwhelmingly positive," Nevarez adds. As for the decor, Nevarez says that he has done more than simply give a fresh coat of paint to the site. The pizzeria section of the former Baccones site now features a full-service bar decked out with mahogany wood. Large, 5-by-4 foot. mirrors adorn the walls. They are mounted at a downward angle, providing a more intimate feel to the place. Nevarez also has plans to extend the private dining area of the restaurant, so that it can accommodate groups of up to 60 people. "The Prickly Pear is a place of casual elegance," Nevarez says. "It is a place where people will feel comfortable getting a beer and a quick burger; or where couples can enjoy a steak, a bottle of wine and an after-dinner drink."
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