Robert met Laurie
in Premont, Texas where he moved when he was a sophomore
in high school. He met his future girl friend, business
partner and life partner during the summer of his junior
year. Prior to moving to Premont, Robert lived in Beeville,
Texas where he was raised by his paternal grand parents.
It was here that Robert would be molded into the person
he was to become. Growing up at 1301 S. St. Mary’s was
full of life lessons that would serve Robert later
in life. An average student, but not usually one to
get into trouble or make trouble, Robert passed his
time attending school, playing after school pick up
games of what ever sport was in season, helping out
around home and always having a job. Robert learned
the value of a good work ethic and earning his own
money early in his life, where his grandfather would
take him at a very young age to help him with his electrician’s
job. Soon Robert was on his own having his own lawn
mowing job and delivering the local newspaper. At
age 14 Robert got his first real job (because they
wrote out payroll checks) working at the local bowling
alley. School was a relatively easy walk at about
1.5 miles but work would be a bit more difficult
at about 5 miles. His family members took time to
take him until Robert saved enough money and borrowed
a small portion from his grandpa to buy his first
car. He always wanted a motorcycle but he learned
the valuable lesson of thinking things through practically
when he decided to get that 1969 Chevy Impala for
the whopping sum of $600.00 instead of that Yamaha
for $650.00. That was an awful lot of money but was
very well spent as this car not only was his work
car at age 15 but later took him back and forth to
not only high school but through college as well.
While many people helped to provide for and raise
Robert, money was not handed out by any of those
he came in contact with. Everywhere he turned however,
there seemed to be another life lesson, about honesty,
integrity, perseverance, kindness and other such
traits that became qualities that he and others could
equate with success.
Laurie was raised in Premont
by loving parents. They lived first in a mobile
home out at the ranch and then moved into town into
a one bedroom house where she, along with her 5 siblings,
was raised. She was actively involved in many school
activities including being in sports, band and
head cheerleader. She took her first job at age 16
working at the local Dairy Queen. After working there
for less than a year she was promoted to shift leader
and at 17 became the youngest Assistant Manager
in the DQ business. Laurie worked hard to save money
and prepared to help Robert get to college. Even
at a very young age she was always disciplined
and was looked at by family and friends as a leader.
had not been an option for Robert since no one in
his family had ever gotten a degree. It was a fateful
trip to San Marcos with his high school best friend
(Ronnie Bowen) and the urging of that same friends
mother (Jennifer) that got him to thinking about college.
How would he pay for it, was all Robert could think
about. If you really want it bad enough, YOU can make
it happen. These were valuable words that came to Robert
from more than one source. His grandfather, Mrs. Bowen,
every sport hero he ever had, always taught, YOU
can make it happen if you want it bad enough.
in fact did go to college where he graduated from the
Texas State University with a degree in Business. After
nearly flunking out his first semester his then girl
friend, Laurie reminded him what they had learned a
few years prior, “If you want it bad enough
YOU can make it happen. He went back the next semester
and made all A’s from then on and went on to
graduate with honors. Laurie also attended college
going first to Bee County Jr. College and then went
on to school in San Marcos after Robert graduated and
they were married on June 2, 1984. As Laurie attended
school, Robert worked for the State of Texas as a Business
Computer Programmer and later went back to work for
his high school friend’s parents. That same mom
that pushed him to go to college and taught him to
dream a bigger dream became their employer as both
Robert & Laurie went to work for them, Laurie in
the DQ in Castroville, Tx. and Robert running a chicken
store in Hondo, Tx. It was working for them, Bob & Jennifer
Bowen, where Robert & Laurie learned about running
a business. After working two years with them they
moved to the Rio Grande Valley where they live now
and continue to build on their dreams with their children
Lensda Lee ’88 and Robert Agustin ’92.
pursuit of their dream, many obstacles had to be overcome.
One of the major obstacles faced by Robert and Laurie
was the fact that they were purchasing a Dairy Queen® that had the worst business reputation
in the state of Texas. A Dairy Queen® that made
$46,000 in sales the year prior to their purchase.
The DQ ®nationwide average was $400,000 per year.
second obstacle Robert and Laurie faced was the inability
to get the local bank to lend them money. The owner
wanted $50,000 and Robert and Laurie’s
life-long savings since meeting at age 16 was $18,000.
The attitude of the local banker was a very closed-minded
one, stating “Robert you’re too young and
besides I know that business and there is no way you
will succeed in that business.”
Robert and Laurie
could not get the bank to lend them money no matter
what they did. They turned to close friend Bob Bowen,
who helped by co-signing papers for the loan. Keep
in mind; it was a bank 130 miles away from their store
where they were finally given the opportunity to fulfill
their dream. Fortunately this story has a very happy
The obstacle of making the worst Dairy Queen® into
one of the best Dairy Queens® took a lot of time
and effort. Countless hours were spent by Robert, Laurie,
and many dedicated Team Members passing out coupons,
knocking on doors inviting people to their Dairy Queen®.
Once the people were there, the whole team took
pride in making the customers feel at home, learning
their names, and keeping the restaurant very clean. Some of these Team Members are still with Team DQ® today!
and his wife now own 27 Dairy Queens throughout the
(South Texas & Northern Mexico, with restaurants
in the Rio Grande Valley, Corpus Christi and Monterrey
Nuevo Leon, Mexico), which is more than half the
Dairy Queens in the area.
Remember, the restaurant that
could not go? Well, now it produces in one month what it used to produce annually and has received
International Dairy Queen’s top honor as a Quality Purity Award recipient.
Their restaurants combined will make one of the largest
independent employers (based) in the Rio Grande Valley.
At the beginning, Robert and Laurie wore all the hats.
They were the accountants, cooks, managers, maintenance
workers, etc. They now employ (over) 400 TEAM MEMBERS,
several of which are key Team Members that help to
keep the DQs® a success.
Also, remember the bank that
would not lend Robert any money? Robert went on to serve as one of the Board of Directors at the bank, being one of the
Truthfully the story has not ended.
Robert and Laurie say it’s a never ending story – one
that they, together with their dedicated Team Members,
will continue to add to. You too can add a page or
chapter to the story as a future Team Member or valued
Customer. We would love to get to know you.
at the Dairy Queen!