Today we introduce you to Juli Cuthbertson, owner of Oak Street Home Market located in downtown Roanoke, TX.
When did you start your business?
We opened in July 2017.
What made you want to start this business?
My husband and I recently moved here about a year ago from Kansas. Previously I owned a restaurant in Kansas. I owned that restaurant for ten years, but we sold it and moved down here to Texas. I stayed home for a year, but after about a year, I decided it was time to get out and do something. I didn't really want to go back into the restaurant business again. There are quite a few locally owned and really great restaurants here in downtown Roanoke and I just didn't want to get back into working seventy and eighty hour weeks anymore.
We started looking into what are growing markets in the area, and we looked at the housing market. Housing and construction is a booming industry right now in the area. We noticed in the development that we live, there are currently 600 homes, but by the time it's complete, there will be 2,600 homes. There is a new development going in and across the street from ours. There are others being built up towards Argyle and Lantana. We noticed there are all of these developments that are near us that are just really booming. I decided to look into home decor and that kind of seems to be our niche. We do home decor and gifts. I wanted to have something that was a little bit unique and very reasonably priced. That was really our thing, we wanted to offer nice high-end home goods at reasonable prices. I love to change out things at our house, and we decorate quite a bit seasonally, but I don't want to spend an arm and a leg.
We found this great location about 1300 sq. feet, right in downtown Roanoke across from Hard Eight Barbecue. We do offer some seasonal items but we also have some gifts. Right now we are bringing in quite a few gifts for the Christmas season. We stock things like teacher’s gifts and things you would get for your dad and gifts you would buy for your brother and just some unique different things. We try to buy from vendors that you don't normally see around here.
So that is how we decided on this business. I have some really good friends in Kansas that are my mentor for this store. They have a huge hugely successful shop and I often called them and talked to them about what kind of growth we were seeing with the home building and construction and they've basically held my hand through this process.
What was the toughest thing that you went through when opening or did you run across any hurdles?
I think our biggest challenge now is getting the word out that we're open and we're here. One of the challenges we did have is the building that we've rented has had several different businesses in it fairly recently. I would say maybe two or three in the last couple years. From owning a business before, you never want to go into a building where other businesses have failed. So that's part of the stigma that we have to get over is that we are different from the one that was here prior, but also just getting the word out that we're here. We do quite a bit of Facebook advertising, and we advertise in Cross Timbers Gazette. We also expect to see more people when they bring the Peabody Hotel in which is going to about a block and a half from our location. Also, downtown Roanoke does a really good job of promoting itself and the businesses and things like that so it's just time, and getting the word out is a bit of a challenge.
We do have shopper friendly hours we stay open until 8pm every night because that is when a lot of people are down here eating dinner and walking around. So a few our challenges come because other businesses closed down early so people are not in the habit of walking around. We make sure all the lights are on, and we keep stuff outside so that people can tell that are open. We want to be open when people are down here to shop which is in the evenings and weekends, and that's when we're open.
What are the short-term goals that you want where do you see Oak Street Home Market in the next six months to a year?
Of course, increasing sales which I think is any small business owner’s goals. We just are finishing up our splash page for our website the next step to that is online shopping and then its live videos.
We also are looking and just are working out the details on renting a smaller second location in Highland Village. This is really good for a business of our size, because when you work with certain vendor sometimes they require you buy four, six, eight of certain things. So this will give us two locations to spread things out. Also, the Highland Village location is going to be a lot smaller, and it is going to bring people into this our larger main location.
So our short-term goals are the bigger web presence, online shopping, and then there's the little bit longer term goals of opening our second location.
Finding a Pediatrician for your child is always a top priority. If you are in the Carrollton, Texas area you should contact Hebron Pediatrics. We interviewed Board Certified Pediatrician Dr. Shen Palaniswamy, M.D., F.A.A.P. and would like to introduce her to you today.
When did you start your practice?
I started about a year ago. We officially opened in January 2017. I have been in practice for 10 years. We moved from New Jersey to Texas two years ago and I worked for a year and then decided I wanted to venture out on my own and open my own practice.
I am originally from India. I attended medical school in India and then I did my residency in New Jersey. I ended up staying there for another ten years before moving to Texas.
Can you tell us about some of your challenges or successes since opening your new practice?
I started the practice a year ago and our office is located in Carrollton. The success, I would say is a lot of satisfaction when you hear from patients that they are happy and they come in they get the time that they need. We don't schedule too many patients, so each patient receives a good amount of time with me. For example, with physicals, we will spend thirty minutes, and I can explain everything. I go over the things that they need to know, so they do not get home and realize they forgot to ask specific questions.
I want the parents to be well educated in terms of what they need to do. When chronic illness is a factor, I try to educate the parents as much as possible to in terms of lifestyle modifications that they need to do, things that they need to do work on at home. I do all of this to make the process a little easier for them rather than just managing everything with medication after medication after medication.
I try to educate my patients a lot and when I hear back from them how it changed their life and their kids' life that gives a lot of satisfaction for me so that is a big success.
The other part of owning your own practice is that I have the flexibility to help patients in need. For instance, if a patient comes in and they do not have insurance, I can decide if I am able to help them. Knowing I have control over making these decisions gives a lot of satisfaction. Thankfully God has given me that ability to help somebody and I want to utilize that in the right way. I try to help out people as much as I can and that gives a tremendous amount of satisfaction.
On the flip side of owning your own practice comes in with a lot of administrative headaches. I have to worry about the billing side like if all of the claims are getting paid, are we getting the money, I have to pay the bills, I have to pay my rent and my employees. So that it is the hard part of owning a business. But all other things I think compensate for the administrative headaches that come with it.
Also having my own business I can schedule things in a way that works. For instance, if I need to go to my kid's school to do things with them, participate in their class activities and things like that I'm able to do so. I'm able to block my time in the middle of the day to go to my daughter's class party which is fun.
Both patients and family give a good balance for me and I really love that.
What sets you apart from your competition?
I think the biggest part that sets me a part of me from my other colleagues is the ability and the willingness to set aside the time they need. When people go to doctor's offices, I hear this from a lot of other people and I've experienced it myself when I worked in other places, they’re constantly being rushed. They go to an office they get five minutes, seven minutes for a sick visit the doctor comes in, they check them out like two minutes out they'd write a prescription and they're gone. There is no education whatsoever and that's really sad, it shouldn't be that way. That is where I'm I try to do my best. I want to educate my patients. I want them to learn things and healthy habits which all starts at home. When the parents are not educated enough about healthy habits, whether it's eating or what they need to, or how much time they need to be spending on electronics, what medication they should be taking, over medicating, under medicating, all those things they need to learn. Once they get educated, their lifestyle definitely improves. I am happy to be a part of that, and I want to be a part of that. I want my patients and my parents and my community at large to be healthy and ultimately like the goal for me is even if I educate five out of all the patients that are coming here that's a big success for me. I considered that as a success.
I treat a lot of kids with ADHD. Previously I worked in an ADHD facility for a whole year. People would come in for psychiatric appointments, and they were in and out in like ten minutes. They would come in and get a prescription. They would come in every three months, they get an appointment for ten or fifteen minutes with a psychiatrist, and that is not enough in educating the parents how to deal with ADHD. So frequently what happens is, parents, get frustrated because they're getting calls from the teacher, there is nobody trying to evaluate them on a regular basis to see what is going on, or what else they can do that's not a medication that can help this child out. No one has spent that time with them. When I talk to these parents I figure out many things like the amount of time they are spending on electronics, therapy that they need, what they can do at home that is currently not being done. All of those things help them out and educate them. Many times I hear from parents things like, we didn't know about this, no one has ever told us about things like this. Even simple changes can cause a child to improve tremendously at school, and that is what sets me apart, and I want to educate my parents and help them live a better life.
What do you feel is essential to success?
I tell my parents all the time that success is not just measured by good grades or the amount of money that you have in the bank. Success is improving upon your own self, every single day if you've made a positive change in yourself, or if you make a positive change in somebody that is a success.
What is your five-year plan?
I am really big on obesity management. Childhood obesity is growing at an exponential rate. In five years my goal is I want to have two things. I want to have a separate ADHD center that can educate parents will have therapy in-house and all the group sessions to educate the parents and an obesity center. Those are my two goals.
I try to incorporate that into my everyday practice. Educating parents about healthy eating and what they could do at home from the beginning is key. Many parents overfeed their children. We see a lot of overfeeding, a lot of juice, a lot of junk food, and not enough fruits and vegetables. Those are things that I try to incorporate into my everyday teaching.
What type of advertisements do you do right now for your business?
I have a website, I have a Facebook page, and we do Google ads. Also word of mouth from our patients that are telling their friends and family.
If you are looking for excellent customer service, and top-notch travel services, you should speak with Kyle Mistrot, President and Owner of Texas Cowboy Travel. We interviewed Kyle to learn more about his business.
Tell us about your business.
I'm a full-service travel agency. I provide both corporate and leisure travel services to customers in Texas as well as the entire United States. The ratio is pretty consistent half corporate and half leisure.
On the corporate side, I provide cost control savings to companies with reference to travel costs. My company is associated with Travel Leaders which is one of the largest Consortium's in the world. As a result, we get some of the best hotel rates and car rates available, and I pass those savings on to my customers.
I'm also able to allow those customers within the parameters that they specified for their primary airline might be car vendor or hotel vendor, to be able to utilize those vendors and still stay within the cost control.
I do provide accurate reporting to management on cost savings and spending. I monitor all flights myself and take care of any issues that occur during travel so my customers don't need to worry about anything other than going on their trip and doing what they need to do.
On the leisure side, I specialize in three areas.
Luxury Western Vacations
This typically entails a vacation at a ranch of some kind, but with accommodations that you would find at a luxury hotel in New York or L.A. We then build events around that, and activities and the whole thing.
The second area specialty is custom itineraries. I build the itinerary based on your needs and wants and what you like to do and what you don't like to do. I piece all of it together into a complete package. I build a vacation that nobody else can sell you because it's completely tailored to you.
The third specialty area is mainly just luxury travel itself which is a much broader area.
Those are the three areas that I specialize in. All of my services include monitoring of flights taking care of every single step of the way. I ensure your transfers are booked properly, so when you get to your destination everything is already set up, and your itinerary is there so you know exactly when your events are going to take place. You never have to worry about anything, and if there is ever a question, you call me and I take care of anything that happens that was unplanned.
When did you start your business?
I started Texas Cowboy Travel in 2008. So I've been in business a while. I started working in the travel industry in 1999.
What is the toughest part of owning a business in 2017?
Marketing has always been my weak point. I am getting better with that but it has always been a struggle for me. I'm so good at customer service and sales, however, marketing is where I struggle.
What is the number one way you bring in new customers?
Word of mouth. Typically one of my customers will tell one of their friends, and they come to me for help with their travel plans. Most have never used travel agent before, and that is usually the way it starts. They become customers for life, so that is one thing I like. Definitely, word of mouth is the number one way I get new customers.
Has the Internet played a big role in your business?
Oh yes of course. Without our Internet presence, any kind of home-based agents would be able to operate. It is definitely key to be able to have a good presence online, with something that customers would be interested in looking at.
One of the things on my site is I have this thing called Best T.V. It has video clips of all kinds of different interesting things different areas like cooking, food, and special events that you might like to do. The possibilities are endless and those are the kind of things you need on a website in order to capture them and at least entice them to look at it say oh that's interesting I'd really like to know how to make this dish they're talking about on the ship.
Today we would like to share our interview with Travis and Veronica Schindler:
Tell us how you guys got started in in your business Row & Oak CrossFit?
We move to the Dallas / Fort Worth area two years ago from San Antonio. We were involved in the CrossFit community down in San Antonio. When we moved to Argyle, we joined CrossFit Fort Worth North. In July we had the opportunity to buy in as co-owners of that CrossFit box with another couple Katie and Pete Dyer and we rebranded it to Row & Oak CrossFit.
Did you run across any difficulties when first opening the business?
The most difficult part is the memberships, the word-of-mouth, and doing the grassroots marketing.
There is also a lot of effort that goes into the painting and doing the renovation on the building. We are currently doing a renovation where we are adding a new office space and a new kid’s area.
Those events are some of the bigger challenges that we have faced.
What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from your competition?
We have a very tight community of membership in the box.
We have a very good core of people and we really focus on community and bringing fitness and a healthy lifestyle together. We then focus on taking that outreach out to the community of Roanoke, Trophy Club, Argyle, and Keller areas.
What would you say the number one way you bring in new customers?
Word of mouth, Facebook, and we do other local promotions.
One of the things that we are currently doing at the box right now is we are having monthly challenges for our members. Currently, we are doing a bingo challenge. In the bingo challenge, our members fill in their bingo card by either bringing in their friends or posting about Row & Oak CrossFit on their social media. We really try to engage our existing members to help bring in new members. We also do some social media advertising as well.
We've done community events as well like recently we did one at the Argyle Middle School carnival. While sponsoring that event, we had some friendly competitions set up where the kids were performing certain exercises. For instance, they were on a rower and they were trying to beat each other's time fun. It was really fun watching the kids get into this event trying to beat their friend’s times.
So we like doing events like that in the community to get the word out, and to let people know that CrossFit is a family event. Right now we have a couple of kids that come and workout and we are getting them ready for their next sport. CrossFit is a really good foundation and it helps them gain strength and get faster.
Would you say the Internet plays a big role in your business?
Yes. Social media, in particular, is very important to us.
Are there any characteristic, qualities or advice related to your success that you could provide for a new business owner?
You don't want to overextend yourself and get in over your head on some things. You always want to have a really good business plan to start with. Always understand where you are right now, and where you want to be in a plan, as well as know the steps on how to get there. Also, keep in mind that success doesn't usually happen overnight, so plan out as best as is best you can.