ARLINGTON – Three months ago, Rangers and Comerica Bank announced the Comerica Call-Up Contest, which was launched to support women and minority-owned businesses in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. It gave companies the opportunity to apply for their chance to partner with the Rangers in 2022.
The competition is a continuation of the 2020 Rally Back competition that helped small businesses overcome financial problems during the COVID-19 pandemic
On Wednesday, Rangers and Comerica announced the grand prize winner 2021: the Dallas-based chocolate shop CocoAndre Chocolatier. The store was opened in 2009 by the mother-daughter duo Cindy and Andrea Pedraza and has been in Oak Cliff since 2014.
CocoAndre Chocolatier receives advertising and marketing support on the Rangers ‘social channels, the Rangers’ Radio Network and in the Rangers 2022 game program.
“CocoAndre Chocolatier is more than just chocolate, it’s a bond we’ve built with our customers who have become our best friends,” said Cindy Pedraza. “The friendships and bonds we’ve built over the years are priceless and that’s the fuel that keeps us going. At the end of the day we are like the Rangers – a team that together has become a legend and a respect in the Hispanic community. “
Cindy said that she applied as soon as she received the email about the grant in hopes of connecting with the Rangers and the community. Since I’ve always been a fan of the club, it was a surreal feeling to even be considered a finalist for the scholarship.
The competition was judged by a jury that took into account all the originality and creativity, as well as the obstacles the company had to overcome over the past year and the connection with its surroundings.
CocoAndre Chocolatier also uses its main location to provide a place for other local businesses that don’t have full shops to host pop-ups and showcase emerging brands.
“Funding has always been the toughest part for a Latina-owned company,” said Cindy. “These are the realities when you’re a small business – the money can just stop and then you have to find out. We always try to figure out the next step. Never get comfortable and keep going. Because just because you won today, you don’t know what tomorrow will bring, especially in these times. “
The first runner-up was Cornbread Hustle, a recruitment agency that provides education and transformation programs to help people with a criminal history and recovering addicts to get them back on their feet. The runner-up was Fort Worth company Game Theory, which combines the experience of a bar with board games to encourage people to interact and keep their phones off.
Both will receive a social media post on the Rangers’ channels and tickets for a game at Globe Life Field.
“It’s honestly inspiring what companies have been through to hear about the barriers they have overcome and how resilient they are,” said Rhonda Davenport Johnson, Comerica’s national director of retail and small business banking. “The stories were inspiring, they were impactful. It’s a shame we can’t pick all three of the companies highlighted today. But the wonderful thing is that they make so much difference in their communities. And they are all so passionate about the work they do. “