I could always find my grandfather in his garage watching his favorite news channel and tinkering with his trains. He loves to refinish old furniture and make it shine like new or take bugs he’d find around his house and examine them under his microscope just to ensure that they were flying ants and not termites.
Like my grandfather, I live to find my own answers and when I see his shelf of how-to books on everything from cabinetry to outdoor projects, I can relate to his resourcefulness. It only felt right to capture him in his famous garage for this interview.
Hector Flores dropped out of school in the 8th grade, joined the U.S. Army at 19 years old, and passed his GED on the first try. All of this and more has come from a Tejano hailing from Kingsville, Texas. At 16 years old and well before Amazon Fresh, my grandfather was delivering groceries from his father’s store to the migrant workers out on los ranchos of Kingsville. He’d show up with bags of flour for tortillas, pounds of spicy chiles, and meats. He was young and respected. They called him “Don Hector” while inviting him to share a meal to show their muchas gracias. This kind of respect followed him in every venture he set off to. His work ethic was beyond compare and the high quality of his work goes without saying. This must have been passed down from his father whose grocery stores were successful no matter where they relocated to and even successful enough to receive threats from other local business owners and Los Rinches De Texas, The Texas Rangers, to skip town.
Eventually, Hector grew restless with the possibility that he could end up in the fields of Texas picking cotton. Fate took him to California with no intention to stay, but stay he did and I’m more than grateful to him for creating a foundation for me to be proud of. Below is the story behind a decision that changed his life.