At Port Arthur LNG, we value local partnerships that uplift our community. We are excited to spotlight Cruz Events, a local, Hispanic-owned small business that specializes in party and event planning services. We are proud to partner with the Cruz Events team throughout the year as part of our commitment to promoting diversity and supporting local business.
In today’s feature, we visit with Daniel Cruz, CEO of Cruz Events.
We would love to learn more about Cruz Events. Tell us about yourself and your business.
It all started when I was hired at the Hughen Center, which was a residential facility for students with disabilities in 2004. The staff needed someone who would oversee the decorations for the student activities such as Christmas and prom and I agreed to help them out. I worked there off and on for about three years and enjoyed every bit of it, especially when it came to making their parties something to remember. Phyllis Branch was the head cook then at the Hughen Center, and she saw that I had a talent for decor. In 2008, Phyllis approached me about decorating for the Diamond-Netts annual Christmas Ball. The Diamond-Netts is a local nonprofit organization and takes pride in being a part of the community. As the years went by, I accumulated a variety of decor inventory and was only using it once a year. In early 2015, my partner Adam Arceneaux and I discussed ways to bring in some additional financial resources that were needed. I thought of a decor business because we already had inventory, and I had a passion for making things beautiful. We did not pursue the business because it became a bit overwhelming to think about initially. In December 2015, we were sitting at the Diamond-Netts Ball, and we started discussing the potential business venture yet again. Adam could see that it made me happy, and it only made sense to put the decor inventory to good use. That night, we agreed that it was time to launch our business. So, on January 1, 2016, Adam and I decided to officially launch Cruz Events. The business was a part-time venture since we both had full-time jobs. The years went by, and we continued to grow within the community.
In March 2018, I decided to leave my job and manage Cruz Events full-time. I was experiencing some things in my professional career and needed a change, so this seemed like a natural transition. However, I quickly realized I was not fully prepared to handle full-time entrepreneurship and the financial responsibilities that came with it. After four months, another door opened with a big opportunity that led me back to education, and Cruz Events went back to being a side gig and continued growing at a slower pace. I felt defeated at that moment, realizing that the full-time business venture failed; at least that is how I viewed it. The dream of owning and running a business was shattered, but in the back of my mind, I knew it was only a test of what was to come, and that test would allow me to inevitably have the opportunity to overcome.
With life and the changes it brings, in April of 2021, I decided – yet again – to manage the business full-time. I was armed with lessons learned from the previous attempt and was determined to bring the business to its full potential. Of course, there were times when I wondered what I was doing and if that was the right decision. Thankfully, business was improving, and we were able to book a variety of events, with each event leading to another opportunity. With the continued interest in our services, I began thinking of the next steps to ensure the business was moving in the right direction. One of those decisions was to create a website, and in the fall of 2021, www.cruzeventsdecor.com was launched.
By February 2022, we became a limited liability company. Three months later, we officially hired three amazing team members who have been the foundation to help grow the business. 2022 was a year of new experiences, growth, and developing vital business ownership knowledge. We are proud to say that we pay business taxes, both local and federal, unemployment taxes, sales taxes, workers’ compensation, business insurance coverage premiums, and we offer our team members life insurance coverage. I realize that I can only have part-time employees and that does not always come with great benefits or a livable pay rate. My goal was to provide the team with livable wages and benefits they deserve. In order to build a dedicated team with strong buy-in, the company must invest in its team members. When you show the team that you care they will return the favor by giving it their absolute best for the business. This journey has not always been smooth. I have had my fair share of bumps in the road, but I have learned to take it as a lesson to improve.
We have always had immense pride in our community and are committed to giving back to our friends and neighbors. We can do this in several ways, including offering donations or discounts on decor to schools, churches, and nonprofits. We have donated more than $5,000 to local cat rescues and established the Cruz Events Community Impact Scholarship on October 7, 2022. Since then, we have awarded three scholarships totaling $1,700.00 to local first-generation students seeking to continue their education after graduating high school.
I always thank God for His guidance and grace. We will forever thank our clients, community, families, and friends for their continuous support. And a huge thank you to those who have been helpful with events when we needed additional resources. Thank you to all the local businesses we have collaborated with.
We look forward to a bright future for Cruz Events LLC. #CruzEvents #WeCanMakeItSomethingBeautiful #MoreThanJustDecor #ShopLocal #CommunityInvolvement
Collaboration with local businesses is good for community growth. What does it mean for Cruz Events to partner with Port Arthur LNG?
When we were hired for a Port Arthur LNG event in 2019, it changed my entire world. Cruz Events was selected and hired by a big-name local industry partner, which I never thought would happen. Something like this was huge because it opened doors not just for Cruz Events but also within the event-industry community. When Port Arthur LNG hires and supports Cruz Events, they support and give back to Southeast Texas. I say that because our business is not only focused on business growth but also on our own impact and partnership with other local, small businesses.
What does the Port Arthur LNG project mean to you and the community?
Booming is the word that comes to mind. The Port Arthur LNG project is creating jobs, which stimulates the local economy and is passed along to all the local businesses in one way or another. In the times that Port Arthur LNG hired us, we have brought in a few other local companies. That means we are not the only ones being positively impacted, but others are also. I know that money does not define a business’s success, but it helps every local business to be able to keep their doors open. Recently, I have seen a handful of local businesses having to close their doors or downsize because things have been tough. With a project like this one and a company that is supporting local businesses, we hope to continue to thrive despite the economic hardships other parts of the state are experiencing. The Port Arthur LNG name carries a lot of weight, and when local businesses can state that they are being supported by such, it means a lot.
To learn more about Cruz Events visit www.cruzeventsdecor.com