Double Wide Dudes Podcast

Looking Back Over 4 Years with the Doublewide Dudes – Mousetrap’s Last Ride

Mauricio Chacra (a.k.a. Mousetrap) has been helping on our podcast for the last almost four years. Mauricio is taking a break from the Doublewide Dudes to focus on some other things for a time, so he and Alberto took the opportunity to look back over the last four years.

The following transcript has been lightly edited for clarity purposes.

Intro: Hey, look! It’s the Doublewide Dudes!

Mauricio Chacra: All right, all right. Welcome back to another episode of the Doublewide Dudes. I’m going to keep it old school today and just kick it with the true OGs of Braustin Homes. Got Jason joining us today. What’s going on, man?

Jason Piña: I am insanely excited to be here. I’ve watched you all leave for the past four years, once a week, and have an amazing time, so I’ve been waiting for this. Yeah.

Alberto Piña: Secretly feeling left out, not telling everybody. We get a meme right before the recording, a little cat with the sad cat eyes.

Mauricio Chacra: I still remember AP coming back, three months into the business, and he’s like, “Hey, we’re going to do a podcast.” I’m like, “Oh, yeah.” We’re all just working. He’s like, “We’re going to name it the Doublewide Dudes. Who’s the second guy?” And we all just look at each other like, “Okay, who’s going to do this? Let’s go.”

Jason Piña: The only guy that knows how to record? Yeah, it had to be you.

Mauricio Chacra: Yeah, I had to step up.

Podcast: Oh yeah. Well, all right, all right. Welcome back to another episode of Doublewide Dudes.

Mauricio Chacra: My name is Mauricio Chacra, AKA Mousetraps, and I’m sitting here with AP.

Alberto Piña: And we’re the Doublewide Dudes.

Mauricio Chacra: That’s right.

Alberto Piña: Well, this is a special edition. I don’t know what we’re going to call it, but for the time being, this is going to be your last podcast with us.

Mauricio Chacra: Yeah.

Alberto Piña: Stepping up into more of a leadership role in the sales team. And I think back four-and-a-half years ago, we had nothing to do. Nobody was calling us, nobody really knew who we were, we had nothing but time. I remember I went to some marketing seminar during startup week. They were talking about finding your voice. And that’s where the podcast idea came from, and you just knew how to make beats, and one thing led to another.

Mauricio Chacra: “Yeah, you got a microphone, right? Right? All right, let’s do this.”

Jason Piña: How did you come up with that theme song?

Mauricio Chacra: Oh, I don’t know. We were just searching for it. And we were thinking about… We went through some pre-purchase ones, to get the rights to it or whatever. And then we pieced that together, and it ended up working.

Alberto Piña: We were trying to… You know the Johnny Cash song, “Ring of Fire?”

Jason Piña: Yeah.

Alberto Piña: (singing) “I fell in…” We were trying to copy that intro music with the mariachis, and make it very San Antonio.

Jason Piña: Oh, that’s right. Yeah. Yeah.

Alberto Piña: Well, in line with the special edition, what I was wanting to recreate… You all remember a couple of years ago, we went out to celebrate Braustin birthdays? All of us around the table, just reminiscing?

Mauricio Chacra: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Alberto Piña: And it’s your last episode. We got four-and-a-half years to talk about.

Mauricio Chacra: Yeah, man.

Alberto Piña: So I guess we’ll kick it off. What was your favorite podcast memory?

Mauricio Chacra: The early stages where, as nervous as I was, it was probably the funnest ones, because we just didn’t know what we were doing. I remember we were splicing… Because we got together at my place, and I have the editing software. So I remember going through takes, just one sentence, where we were trying to be like, “What’s the next topic?” We were looking at the list, and we were just not knowing what we were doing. Just putting things together. Recording three, four hours for a five-minute segment, right? Like the mobile home myths? That’s the one you want?

Alberto Piña: Yeah.

Mauricio Chacra: But along the way, we’ve had a lot of cool conversations where, each one, I feel like I’m learning something, which is the beautiful part about podcasts. But I can’t pinpoint an exact one. The early stages were, for sure, super cool. Getting it out there. And I remember spam texting my friends like, “Hey, I got the Doublewide Dudes podcast. Download it!” I got some subscribers. And I remember a friend of mine that was like, “Ugh,” and I had to do a couple of follow-up texts, like, “Hey, it’s me, Mau. I’m not spamming you. Please, subscribe.” Like, “Oh, I thought this was a bot. I deleted your texts,” you know? So, yeah, I remember doing that.

Alberto Piña: Remember the first few episodes? I think we launched three at the same time. Mobile home myths. And we went, anybody at Geekdom, we were, “Hey, we need you to download, like.” We were trying to get up there.

Mauricio Chacra: Yeah. We were spreading the word.

Alberto Piña: And these people didn’t know who we were. We were just the guys asking people to download our podcast.

Mauricio Chacra: “The Doublewide what? All right, for sure. I’ll check it out.”

Jason Piña: I remember you all asking everyone to download the podcast. And then I think the next step was, you all came out with the intro. So then that’s all I heard on the eighth floor. We’re all trying to work at that little table, and then I’d hear it go up, “Do-do-do-do.” And we’d look, and sure enough, AP’s standing next to someone who’s-

Mauricio Chacra: Yeah. Sure enough.

Jason Piña: Who’s brand new at Geekdom and doesn’t want to say no to him. You know what I mean?

Mauricio Chacra: “Yeah. All right, all right, I’ll do it.”

Alberto Piña: Oh, welcome to Geekdom! Download the podcast.

Mauricio Chacra: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah, that was good times. And for the audience now, we got this nice podcast studio, and all the fancy camera equipment.

Mauricio Chacra: Yeah. It’s real good.

Alberto Piña: But it started off in your living room.

Mauricio Chacra: It was just us, and we’d sit there until 1:00, 2:00 in the morning, with the editing, and… That was good times, though. All in all, thinking back to those first four-and-a-half years, beyond the podcast, were just really, really exciting. Remember when… What was the parade? Battle of Flowers? There was something that was shutting down the street, and we weren’t going to be able to get to Geekdom. And the whole team rolled up to Mau’s house, and we just parked at his house. He made this bomb breakfast.

Mauricio Chacra: Yeah.

Jason Piña: Yeah. That’s right.

Alberto Piña: That was probably one of my favorite early first-year memories there.

Jason Piña: Yeah. That was our first experience of working downtown with a fiesta going on. We thought we would be all right, and everyone here was like, “No, we’re closed down.” I’m like, “Well, we’re going to work.” And then we tried to, and instantly, no way.

Mauricio Chacra: Yeah. All the streets were shut down, and we couldn’t even get here.

Jason Piña: Yeah.

Mauricio Chacra: Yeah.

Jason Piña: Was that for the whole week that we were at your apartment?

Mauricio Chacra: I remember we tried it the first day, and it worked out. I think we did one more day, and ended up cooking the breakfast, and there wasn’t very good ventilation in my place. So it was like 86 degrees. Like, “Hey, we got to get out of this apartment. We can’t be sitting in here!” So I do remember that: we’re all sweating, and there was no proper ventilation. But, yeah, I think that we just probably worked from home for the rest of the week. Yeah.

Jason Piña: That’s when I first realized how good you were at making salsa. You made that green one. Remember?

Mauricio Chacra: Yeah.

Jason Piña: That was really good.

Alberto Piña: I learned a number of recipes during… Every time we do the podcast at his house, we cook up something.

Mauricio Chacra: Yeah. He would text me pictures later, like, “I have Elsa making me this right now.” What was it? Cabbage and… what? I don’t know what else is in there, but.

Alberto Piña: It was the cauliflower and cabbage. Which, on the surface, there’s nothing about that that sounds good.

Jason Piña: Right.

Alberto Piña: But the way he made it, right?

Jason Piña: Yeah.

Alberto Piña: I put on a shell, and then you put the egg on top, and…

Mauricio Chacra: I was making egg tutorial videos; I was that into it. I remember sending Jason, like, “Check out this perfect flip of this egg, dude.”

Jason Piña: Oh, yeah.

Mauricio Chacra: Remember that?

Alberto Piña: Yeah.

Mauricio Chacra: Well, and then, remember, we were at our first official sales lot, right, in Poteet, and we’d make breakfast every single day there. We got the cast iron, we’d all shine it. Like, each of us had their different duties in the kitchen, right?

Alberto Piña: Yeah. It was fun. Well, and that sales lot, just like the podcast, those are some of my favorite memories. You think back, doing a podcast in the living room, not the ideal setup. But we made it work, right? Our first sales lot was a double wide in a mobile home park. Not the ideal setup to start a business, but we made it work. That was one of our first Instagram posts, on the Braustin Instagram account, was you cooking at the stove at the doublewide we were using.

Mauricio Chacra: Yeah. And the caption is… Whatever. He’s like, “Mau making his famous papas y huevos, and playing some music.”

Alberto Piña: Something like that. Yeah. So, the podcast, we’ve gone from mobile home myths to interviewing customers, seeing what their experience is like, to interviewing folks doing all sorts of things in affordable housing. Any one guest stand out to you as something you really learned a lot from?

Mauricio Chacra: There was one, that lady in… was it Minnesota? Or St. Louis? She was doing some housing for… was it vets? Veterans?

Alberto Piña: Where they were using the prison system to build the houses?

Mauricio Chacra: Oh, that one was interesting for sure.

Alberto Piña: Yeah, that was probably my favorite.

Mauricio Chacra: Yeah.

Mauricio Chacra: That’s crazy. What were they doing then? Like…

Alberto Piña: Basically turning the prison into a single-wide factory. Where the inmates would learn skills that, when they got out, could lead to jobs, reducing their recidivism rate. It was a really cool idea. Right? They need affordable housing; you’ve got a group of folks that could benefit from learning new skills. And then the market as a whole, that’s one of the biggest challenges right now. People don’t know how to build homes, and it’s not a skill that’s constantly taught, right? What about you? What’s your favorite episode? Listening from a distance?

Jason Piña: I think just the theme of the mobile home myths was cool. When y’all did that initially. Yeah.

Mauricio Chacra: That’s one of the most common things. Still, to this day, four years in, I’m still hearing customers have that. The stigma’s still there. It’s like, over the years, talking to all the people in the affordable housing space, it’s just, as a whole, the whole United States feels that. You know?

Alberto Piña: Yeah.

Mauricio Chacra: So everyone in this space, they know what these builders and factories are now capable of, and all that. So that’s why we decided to attack that at the very beginning, the mobile home myths, to have our audience and listeners really hear from an insider view of what all that entails.

Jason Piña: Was that the first couple podcasts y’all did?

Alberto Piña: It’s probably the first…

Mauricio Chacra: Like, eight?

Alberto Piña: Yeah. Eight? Nine?

Mauricio Chacra: We did a little segment, and there was like… We attacked each little myth. I don’t remember the order.

Alberto Piña: Like “trailer trash”, “tornado magnets”, depreciation… I think those are the first three. The most common ones.

Jason Piña: But I think y’all did it in a good way, to where you’re not bashing the rest of the industry. Just, “Hey, this is… It’s a little bit different than what you actually think.”

Mauricio Chacra: Yeah.

Jason Piña: Yeah. I thought it was good.

Alberto Piña: That’s one thing I’ve learned. The industry as a whole is full of people that want to make things better, right? It’s just, do they have the tools and resources, or even thought processes, to do that? And that’s where I think the podcast, and just in general what we’re doing, has helped. Remember we went to Texas, the TMHA convention?

Mauricio Chacra: Yeah.

Alberto Piña: We were giving that initial talk. It was probably back in ’17, ’18? We were talking about the videos, the drones, and we thought we were done, and some guy in the back raised his hand. “Hey! Don’t you have a podcast?”

Mauricio Chacra: Yeah. “You haven’t talked about that? What’s going on with that?” Yeah.

Alberto Piña: Yeah. We didn’t think anybody was listening. But I think in terms of total downloads and listeners, we’re well past, what, 7500?

Mauricio Chacra: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Alberto Piña: I mean, not a ton. We’re not Joe Rogan. But, yeah, we’re talking about a very niche topic, so the fact that that many people have downloaded or listened, kind of a lot more than I originally thought, right?

Mauricio Chacra: Those were the early days, though, too. We were barely starting, as well. I mean, he’s in the space, right, granted, at that convention. And he was an older gentleman, someone who I wouldn’t think would listen to podcasts. Anyway, so it’s like, he knew about it.

Alberto Piña: Then we had… I think Leroy. He’ll just go down in history as my favorite customer. He was one of the only customers I had in Braustin.

Mauricio Chacra: Right. About the only home you ever sold, dude.

Alberto Piña: But, talk about the best one! Right?

Mauricio Chacra: Yeah.

Alberto Piña: I remember, he came on our podcast, and he works at Anheuser-Busch; brought a case of whatever the latest and greatest beer was. He was all pro on the podcast, because he had used do interviews, or something with ESPN on the racing track circuit for Budweiser, or? Remember that? In terms of speaking and interviewing, he was probably better than us at the time. Well, y’all have had a lot more customers than me. Thinking back over the last four-and-a-half years, who sticks out in your mind, J?

Jason Piña: Rubin and Anna Dias, for sure. She had gone to a bunch of places before us, kept getting a no, but kept going to other places to hopefully get a yes. And, I don’t know how she did it, because some of the no’s she was telling me sounded really valid, that people were saying. I mean, someone actually went out to her property and said, “There’s no way a house can get in here.” And then when she called me, right away, she said that. Like, “Look. Here’s the deal. I was told no on financing. I was able to get that. Recently, almost closing the house, someone went to the property and said, ‘There’s no way a house can get in here,’ so I might be wasting your time, but I don’t know.”

And I think it was really exciting when they went and did the site inspection to her property, and we got the response of, “Yeah. We can easily get it in. You’re going to have to bring some machinery, do some maneuvering,” but I remember how excited she was then. And then, even towards the end, there was something about the septic? The city wasn’t going to allow it to happen, and she kept digging and finding all this stuff. It was really neat. I always tell the story. Work during certain hours, and be so good at it that you don’t necessarily have to answer phones on your days off. But Ms. Diaz and Rubin, I spoke to them at… I think it was 1:00 in the morning one night?

Alberto Piña: Jeez.

Jason Piña: I was up, and I was sending her some information on an email. And within 45 seconds, I get a response saying… She answered to what I asked, and then said, “Me and Rubin are in bed. Do you mind jumping on a call real quick?” And I was like, “Yeah, I’m reclined on the sofa right now watching the Sopranos.”

Mauricio Chacra: Yeah.

Jason Piña: “Let’s do this.” And I had her on speaker on my chest, and we were talking for about 20 minutes. But, yeah, they’re super cool.

Mauricio Chacra: That’s Awesome.

Jason Piña: They’re easily one of my favorite customers.

Alberto Piña: Yeah.

Jason Piña: In addition to the struggle, and her just plowing through it, afterwards, when the home got delivered, they had a little family gathering. So they invited me over, and they had a margarita machine.

Mauricio Chacra: Dang.

Jason Piña: They were making street tacos outside. And I’m trying to be the polite guest and not just eat 30 tacos right there. Trying to contain myself. And I believe it was their grandmother or their mom, but they just kept bringing dishes of tacos to me. And there was like-

Mauricio Chacra: Secretly … yeah.

Jason Piña: The authentic street tacos, with the small corn tortilla. And yeah, it was incredible.

Mauricio Chacra: Dang…down.

Jason Piña: It reminded me of living in the Valley, with my wife’s family. When you’d go over there, it was neat.

Mauricio Chacra: The little corn tortillas?

Jason Piña: Yeah, yeah, yeah. The food was incredible.

Alberto Piña: The big three that stick out to me, I think all three were that first year. It’s the three videos that we first made, right? The Chavez family, Leroy, Michelle, and them; the Diaz family; and then the Smiths.

Mauricio Chacra: The Smiths, yeah.

Alberto Piña: That was your your customer, right?

Mauricio Chacra: Yeah, yeah.

Alberto Piña: Just, all three had different stories where it was “no, no, no”, and then, whether it was luck or us trying to find a different way, we were able to get a yes.

Mauricio Chacra: Yeah. That was one of my favorite customers, for sure. Just, when people actually feel the gratitude of the hard work that we put in, and the honesty and upfront information, it’s extremely satisfying. Seeing that video, you see them really kind of struggling with their past experiences, and then thinking that that’s the only thing that exists. Which is wild to me, right? And the fact that I saw that video, and the nice things they had to say, it just really struck me as, “All right, well, we’re onto something here. It’s nonstop from here on out.”

Alberto Piña: Yeah.

Mauricio Chacra: You know what I mean?

Jason Piña: Yeah. I still remember, in that video, when Mr. Smith said he took out something from the wall socket, and water just came pouring out. That was an emotional video. That was a good one.

Alberto Piña: It was. The last recording, I took AJ down to Refugio, and he was just trying to get out of the house. And he was staying in the back while I was asking him the questions. And then he said something… it was about you, or Braustin, and just… I couldn’t. I just started crying. I’m like, “All right, AJ.”

Alberto Piña: You’re going to see your dad cry real quick.

Mrs. Smith: We love your dad.

Alberto Piña: There’s a real emotional… I mean, this is a dream for our customers, right? It’s not like we’re selling a cup or something that they’re going to use and then never think of again. This is the backdrop of every substantial memory they’re ever going to have, right?

Mauricio Chacra: To a point.

Alberto Piña: And then they reminisce, just like us talking about the podcast in your living room. For them, it’s the background of everything they’re going to have in their scrapbook, right?

Mauricio Chacra: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Alberto Piña: You know, it’s been four-and-a-half years since we did the podcast. We’re completely different as a business. There was 4 of us, now there’s 24 of us. Probably even going to be adding some more. We’re going to different cities, different states. If you go back in time, is this… We’ll start with you, J. Is this what you thought this was going to turn into four-and-a-half years ago? Or what was going through your mind, if we go back four-and-a-half years ago?

Jason Piña: Four-and-a-half years ago, I was trying to figure out how I was going to park.

Alberto Piña: Right?

Jason Piña: Park for the day downtown, and to save that $1.30 to park under their bridge. But, no, I definitely knew it was going to be something huge, just surrounded by the people we had around us, and the ideas, and the talent that was around us. I knew it would be something huge. I had no idea what, though. And, yeah, it’s wild seeing it all come together. But that’s still some of the excitement, is, we’ll go down one lane, and we’ll think, “That’s a neat idea,” and you get so far, and you’re like, “No, there’s no way that will ever work. All right, let’s try something new.” And there’s just nothing that says we have to stick to one thing.

Alberto Piña: Yeah. It’s funny talking about the parking. That’s some of my favorite memories, too. We all got bikes. We became a bicyclist gang. But they would be pouring down rain, like, “Aw, man. We got a mile-and-a-half to go to get to the free parking under the bridge! It’s pouring down rain. Let’s just… Let’s go. Let’s go make it happen.”

Jason Piña: What would happen when it rained? One person would go to the car. I think usually it was you, Mau?

Mauricio Chacra: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Jason Piña: Or me. Because we had the trucks, and people would throw their bikes in. And then you’d pull up to the front of Geekdom, and everybody would just jump in.

Mauricio Chacra: Yeah. Incredible.

Alberto Piña: And we upgraded to the $1.50 parking. And that’s when the scooters first rolled out.

Mauricio Chacra: Oh, yeah.

Alberto Piña: I was real disappointed. Those things… I was all hyped up, watching you guys zoom in and out, and they looked fast, they looked fun; I get on, and this thing barely moves. Like, 100% not designed for folks almost 300 pounds.

Jason Piña: That’s why they developed the ones with the chair on it. The big ones.

Alberto Piña: Yeah. But what about you? I remember, what were we going to do? Some consulting thing? And you and I were going out to this condemned mobile home park?

Mauricio Chacra: Hold on. Let me tell that story.

Alberto Piña: All right, you tell it. From your perspective. You tell it.

Mauricio Chacra: Yeah. We were trying to decide the consulting, what do we do, starting a business. And the idea, sure enough, popped up. Like, “Hey, what about mobile homes?” This is our backdrop. This is what we know. What are we doing?” So we made some phone calls, old contacts, and there was… My previous experience of mobile homes wasn’t very well… Not very good memories. The effort was there, the learning experiences. So we started consulting, we’re having this. But you make a few phone calls, and sure enough, we drive down Highway 16. We roll up to this mobile home park. And I walked…

I remember getting out of that door. It was just me and you, and our old consultant at the time. And, sure enough, you got to dip in, and you’re just walking around like your hands like this on your hips, just going like that, nodding, like, “Man.” Just seeing your mind going. And I’m over here sitting in the car, about to get out, like, “Dang. We’re about to sell mobile homes at this park right here? Like, what are we doing?” And, yeah, I still remember that switch. It was almost immediate. Once you knew, “All right. We’re going to do this. We’re going to do mobile homes.” Then it was just nonstop from there. I remember seeing that click in you, and seeing your mind working as this having a possibility. Like you saw the vision. You know? I still remember that day.

Alberto Piña: Yeah. That was that condemned park. It was rough, but…

Mauricio Chacra: “What are you thinking about, Mau? We’re going to take over the world!” And I was just like, “Yo! I don’t know about this one, man.”

Jason Piña: I remember the first time I went there. Y’all had already seen it, and AP had been there a bunch of times, and I put in my two weeks at the previous company I was with, and so I was all ready to go. Mind’s made up, no matter what. And I pull into that park, and I’m looking around. I’m like, “All right. I’ve seen some things, being in this industry for a while. All right.” And we get in, and it was… Wow. You couldn’t flush the toilets. Some of the used houses, they were…

I remember that was the plan at first, just to get us going until we could build a website and sell new homes, it was going to be, we were going to help sell some of those used ones. And I got home that night, I was blindly excited, still, right? Blindly excited. And then I’m on Indeed looking for security jobs at night, around the house. And then Krystal’s like, “What are you doing?” I was like, “I got to find a way to make this work. I’m going to take a little bit longer than expected.”

Alberto Piña: I was looking at stocking shelves at night or something, because we…we just didn’t think we were going to make any kind of money out of the gate, but. Well, we got that website going. January 20th, I remember that. That’s our official birthday. And then, like three days later, Leroy called.

Jason Piña: That’s right.

Alberto Piña: And that was, looking back on it now, we just were not ready for someone to want to buy anything from us. We figured it out.

Mauricio Chacra: I remember, when I helped my first customer, we finally closed the deal. We’re all looking at each other like, “All right, cool. Let’s go ahead and help this family, get things going.” And I was like, “All right, cool. Who’s going to set up the house?” You were like, “I don’t know.” “Who’s going to deliver the house?” “I don’t know.” “Well, we’re gonna figure it out, though!” It was just like, “All right, let’s go!” Yeah. I remember taking every step as just, “We’ll figure it out.” That’s the whole mentality of us.

Alberto Piña: Yeah, those are things I like to look back on. Here, our first day, you and I started at our house. All right, we’re going to save cost, we’re going to work from home and build up into an office. And then, I don’t know, I think you and I… I don’t even think we made it an hour into the workday. My four kids are screaming in the background. You know, they’re being kids.

Jason Piña: I bet it was talent show time.

Alberto Piña: “Hey, Jason, look at this!”

Jason Piña: “Hey, Dad!”

Alberto Piña: “Hey, J! Look at this! Look!”

Jason Piña: “Uncle Jason, look at this!”

Alberto Piña: And then we looked at each other, like, “This is never going to work.” And then I think the next day, we came down to Geekdom.

Jason Piña: Yeah.

Alberto Piña: For that $50 a month office space.

Jason Piña: Yeah. Well, and at the time, you come to this space, and $50… And especially startup mode, right, where every dollar is a lot.

Alberto Piña: Right.

Jason Piña: And you get there, and you’re like, “$50 for…” and you’re just penciling out, “We get internet? And we get a copier, and a scanner? There’s water, and sodas, and all of that?”

Alberto Piña: Yeah. They have chips and dips on Wednesdays?

Jason Piña: Yeah. The best!

Mauricio Chacra: Yeah.

Jason Piña: Oh, and then all of the food from there. I think the food from their events kept me fed our first six months.

Alberto Piña: Yeah. For sure.

Mauricio Chacra: Easy. Easy.

Jason Piña: For sure, the starving debt.

Alberto Piña: I was watching John’s meet the team video, and that was cracking me up. Because him and John Garcia were actively trying to get us in, and we’re like, heads down, like, “We got to build a business. We’re not going to make any money going to chips, dips, and friendships, not that we don’t like you guys, but, like…”

Jason Piña: Every week, every day, there was something.

Alberto Piña: Yeah. Like, we have no money, and if we don’t make something, we will never have money.

Jason Piña: Yeah.

John Wondra: I didn’t know anything about what they were doing; I just knew that these guys never left their desks. And, at Geekdom, we’re a part of a community, and the whole thing is, everyone to work together, and hang out. But these guys were never to be found. It’s my job to help build the community, so it was funny having to kind of pull them and find ways to trick them, with free food and tacos, to hang out with us. They would come down for that. And of course, I’d look, and they’d disappear with all these tacos in their hand and get back to their phones.

Alberto Piña: And y’all stroll up with armful of tacos… Because, I mean, I had to eat too, right? Y’all were on a mission.

Jason Piña: Well, that day, we were-

Mauricio Chacra: Normally it would be one of us.

Jason Piña: They tricked us. Normally, we would send one person down, and they would come back with four plates or eight tacos or whatever. And this day… And we would always ask the Johns first. Like, “Hey, we have to stay,” or, “Can we in-and-out like we always do?” And so that day, they’re like, “Yeah, yeah, whatever. Just come grab them.” So we go downstairs to the event center, and right away, when we walk in, I know it’s a trap. Like-

Mauricio Chacra: It’s like in and out, right?

Jason Piña: Yeah, we’re stuck. There’s, what, 15 chairs in a circle; there’s only four people there; and us three just walk in. We see the tacos to the right, in the brown bag, and there’s no turning back. We grabbed our tacos-

Mauricio Chacra: We had a sit-down.

Jason Piña: And then sat down, and they’re asking us, like, “What’s your favorite date? What’s your favorite pickup line?” And the whole time I’m thinking, like, “We got to get out of here.” Like, “We got to get back to work! How do we exit this situation?” and I can only take so many calls. Yeah. It was cool, though.

Alberto Piña: It’s funny to hear John, from his perspective. Because I imagine, to the outside world, it just looked like we didn’t want to talk to anybody.

Mauricio Chacra: Just a bunch of jerks that don’t want to…

Alberto Piña: Just a bunch of jerks, eating free tacos and chips. But, nah, we were just focused. That first year, to me, is an entire blur. It just went by so lightning-fast. But, what’s your favorite part about what we’re doing now? What gets you all excited about the future and what we’ve grown up into?

Jason Piña: I think my favorite part is, you get to see new people come in that are fairly green when it comes to sales, or other positions too. And then, because of the stuff we’ve done in the past couple years, whether it’s putting playbooks together, different training, you see them excel much faster than what normally would’ve happened. And then to see them either get a raise, or they help a lot of families out or whatever, but you see that excitement on them, because they’ve just had an amazing…

That’s just got to be one of my favorite feelings of all time. Just to see that. And you know it’s because of that first year or whatever, and just progress. If they came to us four years ago, it’s a lot slower. But now, to see that, and you see how happy they are, and the things they’re able to do with their families, and helping great families, but also doing stuff for their own, and you see that progression. I think that’s the best feeling.

Alberto Piña: Yeah. That’s huge. Y tú? What’s your favorite so far? Yeah, what are you excited about?

Mauricio Chacra: I didn’t get to say, like, four-and-a-half years ago, I didn’t really think, obviously, this was going to happen. It was just like, “Head down, get to work, let’s build this company.” And now to see where we’re at, four-and-a-half years down the road… You said 24 employees? I thought it was 20…

Alberto Piña: 24. Yeah.

Mauricio Chacra: 24 of us? It’s hard to imagine that’s what we were going to be. Just because startup mode, a dollar chicken taco is just too much money, right? All that stuff. So seeing that is just incredible. And then down four years from now, creating our own destiny and having the power to do that is super exciting and satisfying. You know?

Alberto Piña: Yeah. Well, that’s that figure-it-out muscle we started developing as a team. Really, day one out the gate. It is now like… We could’ve never seen COVID happen. And now it’s getting behind us, but now there’s this new supply chain issue, and it just… I was talking to some of the other folks in our industry a few days ago, and, “Yeah, how are you all doing with this, or this, or this?” And I almost forgot how big the problems are facing our industry. Because I walk into the office, and, “Oh, we’re changing to do this? Cool.”

And we’re just so accustomed, as a team, to changing everything almost constantly. I almost feel like, if we’re not completely changing on a quarterly basis, y’all going to start to question if I’m even doing my job. But it’s just so ingrained in what we’re doing. But I was talking to Pat and Mike in our board meeting today, and I was talking about the feedback we’ve been getting during the interview process, because we are looking to hire some more team members. But then, from the customers, too, talking about these videos, whether it’s the meet-the-team, or the birthday videos.

And these have nothing to do about buying a home. But their feedback was, essentially, “Y’all look like a cool group, or a fun group to hang out with. And if I’ve got to spend 90 days buying a home with somebody, looks like y’all are the ones I want to do that with. Or if I’ve got to go… everybody’s got to work somewhere, to pay bills. If I got to do that, it might as well be with somebody I enjoy.” And really doubling down on that has probably been my favorite part of what I’ve seen this year.

And not just because the creative team’s in the room with us. I just want to point that out. I would’ve said that whether you were here or not. But it’s almost like we had this identity and this culture that we knew we were building, right? It was a very conscious effort from us to build it that way, but we weren’t projecting that out as much as we could. And now, being able to let the world know, like, “This is what we’re doing,” it’s kind of fun, right?

Jason Piña: Yeah.

Alberto Piña: You can make money, you can make a difference, and you can have fun, all at the same time. You don’t have to pick and choose one or the other.

Jason Piña: Yeah. I think it’s cool to look back at some of the really… Or, from now, some of the really insignificant wins, but for us at the time, it was enormous.

Alberto Piña: Yeah? Like what?

Jason Piña: Like, so, we would walk a half-mile to work every day, just so we didn’t have to pay $1.30. But then, when we finally got those $50 parking passes that the company could actually afford, that was like winning the lottery. It was like, “Oh, we’ve made it. We’re big time now.” And then, I mean, little stuff. Like insurance was, then, huge, and then everyone on the team gets insurance. Or when we had that kick-off barbecue. And being able to go to Lowe’s and pick up a couple extra barbecue pits, just so we could have a cool cookout. Those tiny little wins, but at the time, we were like, “We’re doing it!”

Mauricio Chacra: Yeah. That-

Jason Piña: “This is amazing!”

Mauricio Chacra: That early mentality, I’m telling you. It’s like, startup mode.

Jason Piña: And now we’ve got a parking garage. Nobody has to worry about rain. It’s unbelievable.

Alberto Piña: Yeah. I don’t know, I feel like an old man sometimes. “Back in my day,” but…

Jason Piña: Yeah, yeah. It’s-

Alberto Piña: It’s real life! Like-

Jason Piña: We get that story. You always heard that from your grandparents, so now it’s like, “Nah, I really parked under a bridge, so I can ride my bike or walk to work.”

Alberto Piña: Remember the bats? Like, you could only park in a certain area, because if you parked in the wrong… If you parked under the crack…

Jason Piña: Oh, that’s right!

Alberto Piña: You were going to have bat poop all over your vehicle.

Jason Piña: That’s right, yeah.

Alberto Piña: It was just unavoidable. It was like…

Jason Piña: Yeah. God.

Alberto Piña: I learned that lesson the hard way, the first time we parked under there.

Jason Piña: Those walks were the best. Remember, you and I, we tried to go down the street where there was construction, and the foreman came and kicked us out?

Alberto Piña: Yeah.

Jason Piña: Like we were little fifth graders walking from home? And when we tried to talk our way out of it, thinking, “We’re in sales. We can make this happen.” He’s like, “No. Turn around now…” “All right. Yes, sir. We’re out of here.”

Mauricio Chacra: Like going back to your car? Or what do you mean?

Jason Piña: Yeah! It was after a day of work, and AP and I were trying to go back and just have a nice little stroll home, and we tried to cut through, and the guy hops down off his machine and he starts pointing. We just kept going, acting, you know, and then he’s like, “No, you got to get out.” Okay.

Alberto Piña: Yeah.

Jason Piña: “All right. We’ll respect your job.”

Alberto Piña: It’s like we put that sign up by the tables. No assigned seats, but, like, we’re the first ones in, last ones out. Those tables just became known as Braustin’s tables.

Mauricio Chacra: Oh, when you cleaned the tables, and Geekdom was like-

Jason Piña: Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.

Mauricio Chacra: Can you believe that?

Mauricio Chacra: “Well, this is a co-habitive workspace? Communal? You can’t put your sign outside. Who does that?” We’re here every day, seven days a week. Like, these were our tables.

Alberto Piña: Yeah. But I remember sitting there, and they came and made us take the sign down, and whatever. But I remember sitting there and looking at… who was it? Realco, in that office, at the time?

Jason Piña: Yeah.

Mauricio Chacra: Yeah, Realco.

Alberto Piña: I was like, “Man. This is a nice office. One day. One day.”

Mauricio Chacra: I thought the same thing.

Alberto Piña: Now, I mean, it’s the Braustin office today, but I don’t even have a desk. We’re at a room already, and there’s more team members we’re bringing on, and more we’ve got to do. And downtown, growing up, was not a place… Just, there’s just nothing to do down here. There’s no reason, other than occasionally to go see the River Walk. But it’s so different now. Even the city as a whole, the area. They’ve got the new park. That barbecue spot, what’s it called?

Mauricio Chacra: Pinkerton’s?

Alberto Piña: Oh my goodness.

Mauricio Chacra: Oof. Yeah. It’s good.

Alberto Piña: They’re going to take all my money.

Mauricio Chacra: Solid brisket.

Alberto Piña: And then the new park they made, down by where we used to park, Travis Lot? This whole area is radically transformed, and there’s just an energy.

Mauricio Chacra: It is. Yeah.

Alberto Piña: That you feel, right? Other than $60 haircuts, I’m loving everything about downtown. Yeah.

Mauricio Chacra: Yeah. The vibe’s nice. Living downtown, and then working downtown, was definitely just a really good experience. I mean, you’ve got half a mile to work; you’ve got all the cool eatery spots; you got Geekdom surrounded by all these entrepreneurs, and the energy. So I think it was a blessing that the internet went out that day, at…

Alberto Piña: Yeah.

Mauricio Chacra: Was that when y’all had to come over here?

Alberto Piña: Yeah.

Mauricio Chacra: Who would’ve known. Meeting all the different media teams, and just contacts that we developed, or got in contact with over the years, sprung up new ideas that we probably wouldn’t have thought of ourselves. Yeah.

Alberto Piña: No, we never would’ve thought about this. And we weren’t even thinking about… I mean, we use software, we all have apps. But we weren’t thinking about how we could use it for our business, and our customers, but.

Mauricio Chacra: Yeah, that was a huge part of our success, is, when we came in, this sales team, and we just had our head down, and we’re selling. But AP then developed relationships with everyone at Geekdom. And even though you had been selling for a while, you came in like, “I have no idea about anything.” And people were so willing to help out. And I had nothing. Like, I’m, “I have no idea. Show me.” And you’d get little pieces from all these cool people around us. And then they maybe would need some help on, “I’ve got this great idea, but I don’t know how to sell it,” and ideas started flowing.

Alberto Piña: Yeah. It’s like a barter economy of talent.

Jason Piña: Yeah.. Out of the gate.

Mauricio Chacra: Yeah. But I think you have to come in like how you did, just humble and, “Look, I don’t know anything. I have an idea. I’ve got the work ethic behind it. But I don’t know. If you give me some advice, I’ll definitely use it and not waste your time.” I remember, every time you’d peek out of the elevator those first six months, I knew: what idea? Have you got a new idea or not? Depending on the pace you’d be walking back, you know?

Mauricio Chacra: Yeah.

Mauricio Chacra: Going to these meetings and meeting different people. All of a sudden, he’s walking back super excited. I go, “He’s about to throw something down.”

Alberto Piña: Yeah, yeah.

Mauricio Chacra: Like, “What has he got now?”

Jason Piña: Sometimes we get the most insane idea, and we’re like, “All right!” You know? “We’re going to try this!”

Alberto Piña: But that’s what people don’t see, right? We’ve tried so many things that just were never going to work out. But, looking back, it’s easy. Like Steve Jobs said, it’s easy to connect the dots looking backwards, but, like the internet going out at that spot we were at. Had that not happened, we wouldn’t have come to Geekdom, and then who knows if any of this is alive, right? And in the time, you’re just ticked because the internet went out. But you don’t see how it’s all going to fall into place, right?

Mauricio Chacra: Yeah.

Jason Piña: Yeah.

Alberto Piña: And there’s so many different examples like that. And in a lot of ways, I think that’s kind of what our customer… Like Miss Diaz. She kept trying, and trying, and trying, and trying, and eventually things just fell into place, right? You know Michelle, some of my first memories of Michelle, she’d bring you lunch at our two tables. Four-and-a-half years later, it’s different than what it was then, but initially, what was her thoughts, when y’all first got together and started dating, on what we were trying to do?

Mauricio Chacra: Yeah. I remember telling her about the consulting or doing something else, because I was doing different work prior to this. And it was just like a spark in my eye that she was just down with. The idea came about. I came to work. And the first week in, I saw the vision, and then just come home, excited, talking about it, and she was just game. She was just down. Like, “Support your dreams. I’m ready to… And, anything that you want to do, I’m down with it.” And this was early in our relationship. It’s not like we’re four years into a marriage, taking a punch at a new career, and she’s just… But she was just really excited for me to be working with such close friends, and be able to create this business to where we’re in control of it, and having fulfilling work. I remember having those conversations early with her.

Alberto Piña: That’s awesome.

Mauricio Chacra: And she would bring me incredible lunches. Like, someday-

Alberto Piña: Yeah, y’all’s second date, I think, was a lunch at the table we were all trying to work on, or… The Texas table.

Mauricio Chacra: Yeah. Nah, but she was all for it, man. I remember she was just surprised. I don’t know. Prior to us getting together, I don’t know what type of work ethic she thought I had, or what. But she was just impressed and just loving the idea of the go-getting attitude that Braustin kind of sparked for us. Because I saw that vision, and it was just working with us and creating something. So, it was amazing.

Alberto Piña: Yeah. I know for sure, without Elsa’s support, we’re not here. I’m sure you’d say the same about Krystal and her support. But what we’re trying to do is… It’s still a little borderline crazy, right? But it was 100% a lot crazier four-and-a-half years ago than what it is right now.

Mauricio Chacra: Especially you guys, with families, and… That’s a whole different responsibility. Taking a brand new concept, throwing savings at it, different ideas. Really taking a risk.

Mauricio Chacra: Yeah.

Mauricio Chacra: A huge risk. And I felt that energy early on, and I kind of adapted that mentality, and would just be like, “All right. It’s lunchtime? What am I going to do? I’m not going to go get a chicken burger at Bill Miller’s. I got to save some money. What are we doing here?” Right?

Alberto Piña: Yeah.

Mauricio Chacra: That was important, on the success and growth, and it’s just crazy to see now all the different things that we’re doing. New locations. New factories. Bigger offices. More employees. The scale of that, four years ago, was just unimaginable for sure. So, four years from today, or even 10 years, who knows where we’re going to be?

Jason Piña: It becomes normal to us, because we do this every day, and we’re surrounded by it, and the crazy ideas. But the few times that I’m out around other people now, and you tell them what you do, and what Braustin does, and they’re like, “Wait, what?”

Mauricio Chacra: Yeah.

Mauricio Chacra: And I’m like, “I know. I know. I don’t… 80% of the customers, we don’t ever see.” And it’s always online, over the phone, at the River Walk. It’s amazing. But, yeah. You see in their eyes, like, “Guys, it’s crazy.” Yeah.

Alberto Piña: It’s just been fun, man. Just thinking back on the four-and-a-half years, and all the shenanigans that we’ve been through. And, hopefully, probably more than the success, the financial aspect, really, my biggest hope is that it continues to be this fun. The level of stress and responsibility, of course, has gone up. It’s a lot more stress making sure 24 people eat than 4. But it’s also more fun.

Alberto Piña: What was that video? The Easter egg video, and the cascarones? It just looks like it’s a fun place. So, Madeline, my six-year-old, she got her own laptop for school, and they’re doing virtual school and all that. She comes down the other day. “I want you to ask me anything about Braustin video. I am the biggest Braustin fan. I’ve liked and subscribed. I’ve liked every video. Ask me anything.”

Jason Piña: No way. Wow.

Mauricio Chacra: That’s incredible.

Alberto Piña: And we had just done the meet-the-team with Lauren. I was like, “All right. The new girl on the Braustin team. Where is she from?” She’s like, “Dang it. I haven’t seen that one.” She goes back. She runs down like 20 minutes later. “She’s from Florida! And she has rules about the beach!” Like, all right. You win.

Mauricio Chacra: She knows me as the Doublewide Dude, right?

Alberto Piña: Yeah. Your name will forever be the Doublewide Dude, at our house, with our kids.

Mauricio Chacra: That’s hilarious.

Alberto Piña: But it’s fun to get them and just see how they’ve progressed with the business, too. And for them, they don’t know anything other than Braustin. Every double wide we pass on the road’s a Braustin mobile home. Some of the cutest pictures you’ve got of your girls are with them wearing our old-school hats. Before the sweat stains creeped in, right? But, yeah. It’s been a fun journey for sure. So now that you’re off the podcast, now that you’re leaving us, what are…

Mauricio Chacra: Who’s the new Doublewide Dude, man?

Alberto Piña: I don’t know.

Jason Piña: Is this my tryout? I don’t know.

Alberto Piña: This was a low-key tryout for Jason. What are your thoughts? What are your critiques? Let’s see.

Jason Piña: Hey. Au naturelle. That’s what I’m doing, for sure.

Alberto Piña: George, what do you think?

Jorge: I approve.

Alberto Piña: You approve? All right. Wynton?

Wynton: Yeah, he-

Mauricio Chacra: He can hold it down?

Wynton: Yeah.

Wynton: He can hold it down.

Alberto Piña: All right.

Mauricio Chacra: He’s got that Doublewide Dude stature. He’s good to go.

Alberto Piña: Well, it ultimately comes down to the audience, so we’ll let our listeners… Any comments, suggestions?

Mauricio Chacra: Yes.

Alberto Piña: But, it’s the end of an era, man. The end of the original Doublewide Dudes. And I’m just really excited for you to take that next step with the team, too. We need it, for sure. It’s kind of always been the plan, right? You were going to raise… Not raise, but train. It’s kind of the same thing, right? You train, you raise. Grow that next part of the Braustin team, and help them to learn it the right way. So.

Mauricio Chacra: Yeah. That’s the vision, and I’m super excited. I’ll definitely be back on the podcast, just not as consecutively as we were doing it.

Alberto Piña: We’ll discuss it.

Mauricio Chacra: I’ll still be a Dude.

Jason Piña: Yeah, we’ll talk about it.

Mauricio Chacra: I’ll still be a Dude.

Alberto Piña: Yeah. We’ll see if it fits with our schedule of activities we’ve got planned for you.

Mauricio Chacra: Yeah. We’ve got a lot of those, so we’ll see how it turns out.

Alberto Piña: Well, I’m excited about Leroy and I working on the Cutlass. “DBL-WD-DUD”, the license plate is available, “Doublewide Dude”. And that is 100% going to be the license plate!

Mauricio Chacra: All right.

Alberto Piña: That’s going to go on that Cutlass, once we get that road roadworthy. So, we will pick up right where we left off on the podcast, make sure we do you proud. And any parting words to the audience?

Mauricio Chacra: Nah. Thanks for listening, for sure. The support. And it was a crazy idea to begin with, and I’m excited, and I’m happy the way it turned out, and the way it’s been going. For sure.

Jason Piña: We’re going to miss that beautiful voice.

Mauricio Chacra: That sweet molasses.

Mauricio Chacra: That smooth molasses. Thanks.

Mauricio Chacra: All right, well, that does it. Another episode of the Doublewide Dudes. As always, thanks for tuning in, and… You want to wrap us up?

Mauricio Chacra: We’ll catch you guys in the next one.

Outro: Safest. Easiest. Lowest price. Find a better way home with Braustin, the nation’s first virtual home dealership. Call us or visit us online at