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Made in the 956: First female owner of The Sportsman in San Benito

Made in the 956: First female owner of The Sportsman in San Benito
2 months 1 day 6 hours ago Tuesday, March 19 2024 Mar 19, 2024 March 19, 2024 11:58 AM March 19, 2024 in News - Local

One Rio Grande Valley woman is making waves, and it's not just because she sells boats for a living.

Christi Romero is the first female owner of The Sportsman in San Benito.

She's also this week's made in the 956.

A one-stop boat shop in San Benito, Valley fishermen know it. It's a Valley staple. 

"We've been in business since 1951. We sell parts, service. We have storage, and we sell the legendary something boats and trailers," Christi said.

She first walked through those doors back in 1988. She didn't know it then, but her life was about to change. 

"I started as a secretary, and worked in parts, service, became the office manager, eventually became the general manager, and then I purchased the business, and the rest is history," Christi said.

History, or her-story, indeed. Christi is the company's first female owner. 

"I didn't have any formal education past high school, and I was just looking for a job, and I came in here and applied, and I got the job and was earning $3.35 an hour, and I never imagined getting past that," Christi said.

But Christi did get past it. Something that always didn't come easy working in a male-dominated industry. 

"You know... I think the biggest obstacle was myself," Christi said. "I'd say probably, 90 or 90 percent of the workforce in the boating industry is men, and they're well-educated, very successful, and financially well off people and so me being not just female, but, I think, Hispanic was a little different," Christi said.

But Christi says she worked hard and learned from her mentors.

"And it was definitely in my head, it really was. But now I know that I belong, and I can hang, just like the rest of them," Christi said.

Christi is now sharing her story, hoping to inspire the next generation of women.

"Always continue to learn. Learn everything you can about what you want to do, and don't be afraid to throw out the trash, answer the phones or whatever it is, learn, help others. You can be the janitor and the manager at the same time. Just learn and really, you'll gain the confidence in yourself," Christi said.

Christi Romero from The Sportsman in San Benito, made in the 956.

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