According to the 2016 Women Owned Business Report commissioned by American Express, “Between 2007 and 2016, the number of women-owned firms increased by 45%, compared to just a 9% increase among all businesses. Therefore, over the past nine years, the number of women-owned firms has grown at a rate fully five times faster than the national average.”
What this means is that women are now majority owners of 38% of the nation’s businesses, with women of color and Latinas leading the way (79% of the firms launched over the past nine years have been minority owned.) These numbers reflect the great strides that have been made in just one decade, but there is still a lot of room for improvement.
Here in Houston, we are doing our part. Women-owned businesses grew at a staggering rate of 62% during that same time period, and more are on the way.
If you live in and around Bellaire you might have noticed a lot of buzz around the area of Presidio Square. With a new double-decker HEB underway, and more development planned, that corner of the city is seeing tremendous new growth. Just a few blocks away, at the 6700 block of Ferris, the former Earthman Funeral Home building is also getting new life, and it is decidedly woman owned.
Native Houstonian and former head of the Monarch School, Debrah Hall, recently opened the doors of Define Body and Mind on the corner of the complex. The first Bellaire location of its kind, Debrah had a vision for the area. Having been a member of Define since 2011, she thought the residents of Bellaire deserved more services close to home.
The beautiful calming space has separate areas for cardio and strength classes, as well as a yoga studio where they also teach hammock and fascia ball classes. The mission of Define is fairly unique to the industry, and incorporates not only physical goals, but also meditation and mindfulness, making fitness a holistic body-mind concept.
The brand new facility has a fully equipped dressing room and childcare center, and has been well received by the community already. Debrah has seen a surge in new members who are happy to now have a top-of-the-line boutique studio so close to where they live, and she is currently offering a 50% discount on memberships for teachers. Contact Debrah Hall directly for details.
Next door to Define, scheduled to open in October, is the 4th Houston location of Nekter Juice Bar and owner, Andrea Young, says she plans to open 3 more by the end of the year. With a lot of competition in the fresh juice market lately, Ms. Young says she specifically partnered with Nekter because of the quality of ingredients. There are no gluten products or dairy products in the store, so every juice, smoothie, and acai bowl is gluten free, dairy free, vegan, and locally sourced. They are also really delicious!
Rounding out the end of the complex, opening late in the year, will be the new family-friendly restaurant The 401. Kristi Coffee, whose family has owned and operated a cornerstone of the Houston restaurant scene, Hungry’s Cafe, grew up in Bellaire and is excited to be a part of this new wave of offerings.
Bellaire has long been an underserved area, and the people here deserve great services in their neighborhood.
Named for the last three numbers of the Bellaire zip code, The 401 will be a 5,000-square foot establishment with a 1500-square foot patio, plus a small private event room. The food will be Mediterranean with a Texas flare, and they will serve lunch and dinner, plus brunch on the weekends.
What will distinguish The 401, however, is the kids’ room. On weekday afternoons, there will be tutors on hand to help kids with homework, plus iPads and games available for play. So, the kids will have fun hanging out with friends, and/or finishing up school assignments while mom and dad enjoy a glass of wine and great food. The concept is brand new to Houston and Kristi, a mom herself, hopes it will become a go-to place for Bellaire families.
Long time Bellaire resident, Doug Freedman of United Equities, is the developer on the project.
It’s an exciting time to be in Houston, in Bellaire, and increasingly more so to be a woman entrepreneur.
If you are interested in knowing more about women owned businesses in Houston, check out the Women’s Business Enterprise Alliance.
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