BOERNE, Texas – Veteran-owned small businesses in Boerne can get a helping hand from a new non-profit. The Task Force VOSBO, or Veteran-owned Small Business Organization has a mission to promote local businesses and provide educational opportunities for its members.
The group is run by its board members and two special advisers including WWE superstar, Bill Goldberg. Mark Sierra, owner and chef of Compadres Hill Country Cocina in Boerne, serves as the Task Force VOSBO’s president.
Other board members include Craig Lightcap with Good as New Exterior Cleaning of San Antonio, Hector Santiago with Sunshine Wood Works of Boerne and Ryan Gruener of Olive Branch Brokerage of San Antonio. Jon Henderson with Legacy Farmstead serves alongside Goldberg as a special advisory for the non-profit.
“I believe, a lot of times, there’s a fear of diving into opening up a business right,” Sierra said. “You get a lot of veterans that come (back) from combat and all walks of life in the military. They’ve already done their time. They’ve already done their service, you know, but a lot of us still have that that drive where we need…a task.”
The Army veteran opened his restaurant in the summer of 2020. After a lot of trial and error and help from other veterans who own their own small business, Sierra realized the need for business guidance that exists within the military community.
“(Through Task Force VOSBO) we can help promote (small businesses), try to come up with resources for startups… (and) for existing veteran-owned businesses to get their name out a little bit more, just so we can help one another,” Sierra said. “A few of us who own small veteran-owned businesses to come together, join forces and create almost like… a chamber of commerce.”
One of the first business owners to benefit from the network and leadership is Army veteran, Ben Wonser, owner of Right Way Cleaning.
“It’s an exterior cleaning business,” Wonser said. “We do windows, building washes, concrete (and) a lot of pressure washing.”
After nearly four years in the cleaning business, Wonser said he still has a lot to learn. The new organization has helped advise Wonser on how to expand his Boerne-based business from solely residential clients to commercial clients.
“It’s not only great for just the guidance and help from the (group), but it’s also great for networking,” Wonser said. “There’s a multitude of businesses in this group and we can all benefit from each other.”
Craig Lightcap, co-founder and board member of the group, also owns a cleaning business and has offered help to Wonser.
“(Lightcap) actually told me about the group, and he actually helped me with my business and he didn’t have to,” Wonder said. “I thought (his offer to help) was a testament to his character.”
The network of like-minded men and women has made Wonser feel comfortable and confident in the growth of his business.
“You know, (my business) started out predominantly as a residential business, but we (broke into) the commercial scene about two and a half years ago,” Wonser said. “With the help halfway through (from the task force they helped me with) ironing out some of the ways to talk to the commercial clients (and) how to sell (my product) to the commercial clients.”
A special adviser, Goldberg, said he wants to help veterans have a smooth experience as business owners.
“Well, it’s awareness, number one,” Goldberg said. “(The task force is) like a partnership, number two, and number three, it’s kind of (to help prevent them) reinventing the wheel.”
The professional wrestling superstar has never been one to tag-team in the ring, but said this is a group of professionals he’s proud to be part of. His strongest attributes aren’t his signature moves like the spear and jackhammer, but instead, it’s his experience as a business owner and desire to help those who have served the nation.
“Task Force VOSBO has shown confidence in me to be able to help lead so, my job is to do the best that I can do to raise awareness and get the word out,” Goldberg said. “Any time that we can supersede hard work for people that have risked their lives for our country, (then) it’s a great day. It’s the most important thing that I can do with what I’ve done with my career in the past, is to raise awareness.”
Sierra said he’s eager to have Goldberg on the team in order to help and connect with more veteran business owners in Boerne.
“He’s done so much for veterans everywhere,” Sierra said. The are certain thinks he knows in the business,” Sierra said. “He’s going to be a real big asset to us.”
The nonprofit will first offer its services to those in the Texas Hill Country, but hopes to expand with time.
“Eventually we’ll branch out to other parts of the the Hill Country (like) San Antonio,” Sierra said. “Maybe we’ll get into Austin, South Texas, that’s our goal. We (will) start off small, but there’s no telling there might be a chapter somewhere in the Dallas Fort Worth area later (or) cross over to other states.”
“We’re here to help you guys,” Sierra said to veterans. “We’re here to, you know, take you out of your comfort zone… We always encourage veterans to lead, right because that’s what (Task Force VOSBO) is all about.”
Applications to join Task Force VOSBO are now being accepted. For more information or to inquire about the application process, veterans are asked to reach out through the group’s official Facebook page listed here.