Best of 2021: 11 businesses featured in Lake Travis-Westlake

Primrose Schools has tried to give children a sense of normalcy throughout 2021. (Sally Grace Holtgrieve/Community Impact Newspaper)
Primrose Schools has tried to give children a sense of normalcy throughout 2021. (Sally Grace Holtgrieve/Community Impact Newspaper)

Primrose Schools has tried to give children a sense of normalcy throughout 2021. (Sally Grace Holtgrieve/Community Impact Newspaper)

Despite numerous hardships, here are 11 businesses in Lake Travis-Westlake that have continued to expand their reach in 2021.



January

Central Texas child care provider Primrose aims for a sense of normalcy during trying times

Since March, the coronavirus public health crisis has had an unprecedented impact on child care, education and the lives of working parents. Amid the ongoing disruption, Christy Black, owner of Primrose Schools of Bee Cave, Lakeway, Mueller and West Lake Hills, is working to remain a vital resource in the Greater Austin area.


March

Get messy on purpose; enjoy lake views at Art Barn ATX in Leander

Art Barn ATX is more than a studio—it is a creative destination. Apart from making unique crafts, visitors can picnic beneath the trees outside, swing, visit the on-site chickens and play vintage video games in the on-site arcade. The business, which opened about four years ago, hosts birthday parties and summer camps along with art sessions for all ages. Crafts are not just for kids; the activities are also fun for adult birthday parties or date nights, owner Amber Gordon said.

April

Austinites run creative fashion house at Magik

Austinite King Magik said he has always had an eye for art and fashion. From the time he was in high school, he said he would curate and restore vintage clothing and shoes for resale. In 2009, King met his now partner Shae Magik, who helped grow and develop the small business, which is known today as Magik. What started as a part-time hustle eventually grew into an online store, styling service, in-house brand and in 2018, a storefront location at the Domain. Today, King and Shae are selling much more than just vintage items—Magik has grown into its own unisex clothing and accessories line.

June

My Pure Delivery lactation business offers wraparound services for new moms

When neonatal intensive care unit nurse Diba Tillery became a lactation consultant, she realized there was no support for breastfeeding moms beyond their initial days in the hospital. This inspired Tillery to start her own business as a lactation consultant focusing on breastfeeding and helping new moms through support systems and educational opportunities. It started in a hospital setting, moving to its own brick-and-mortar location that opened in 2016.

July

Woman-owned Texas Tiny Pools makes a splash in Austin

Since 2017, Amy Hageman and her husband have been designing tiny pools in the Austin region, and in 2020 the company experienced its highest sales to date. The concrete pools typically range in size from 8-by-8 square feet to 12-by-25 square feet and are fully customizable.

August

At Leander gym Transform Boot Camp, members become like family

Prior to meeting, Jesse and Ashley Stewart said they each wanted to own their own fitness gym. When the couple realized it was a shared dream and the opportunity came up, they decided to open Transform Boot Camp in September 2020. After more than a decade of combined training and fitness experience, the two decided to put that passion into a business of their own. Transform offers 30-minute self-paced group afterburn workouts using a combination of high-intensity interval training, or HIIT, and active rest training. These allow the body to burn up to twice as much fat in half the time and continue to burn calories up to 32 hours after.

September

Hand-blown glass studio expands in Spicewood off Hwy. 71

J. Schneider Studios in Spicewood produces hand-blown glass pieces as well as custom-made metal fabrication and contemporary lighting for both local developers and individual homeowners. The work, some of which can be found at developments such as The Reserve at Lake Travis, includes floating staircases, hand-blown chandeliers, custom tables, metal railings and furniture.

October

College Inroads: Students find the right degree plan using systematic approach

Simply deciding what schools their children should apply to can be as daunting as writing essays for many families. That is where the educational consultants at College Inroads can help. Started in 2009 as a small business, College Inroads today has grown its customer base nationwide offering an extensive, structured plan that can show students their strengths and talents and how to apply these to their college search.

November

Lake Travis-area veteran looks to add on-site java house to Invader Coffee

Local Lake Travis entrepreneur and Marine veteran Wes Whitlock, who established his Rogue American apparel brand in 2011 and extended the business five years later with Invader Coffee, is currently on a new path to growth. He is looking for investors to fund his vision for an on-site coffee shop at his Rogue American Apparel storefront on Hudson Bend Road. Today, Whitlock has moved Invader Coffee forward with a small team of employees and expert roasters to sell a line of coffees with unique flavors such as chocolate, cinnamon–and a customer favorite–bourbon and bacon.

Szabo Woodworks: Crafter builds custom pieces made to last

Szabo Woodworks is a local woodworking business started by veteran Robert Szabo in December 2019 following his return from active duty in the Middle East with the Marines earlier that year. Szabo started his woodworking journey began with what he thought was a weekend-long kitchen cabinet project that ended up taking a year. He began woodworking as a way to keep his mind occupied and moving forward after returning from active duty. In addition to commissioned work, Szabo sells bath trays, cigar holders, coasters and accessory wall shelves along with woodworking patterns for those building their own projects.

December

Contactless model helped Austin-based yard card business expand

Card My Yard is an Austin-based yard rental greeting service set up by two stay-at-home moms in 2014 and now has 450 franchises nationwide. The web-based business followed a contactless model of operation even before the COVID-19 pandemic hit in early 2020. During the pandemic when celebrations moved outdoors and businesses worked hard to reduce contact, Card My Yard became a way for people to celebrate and meet the heightened demand for safe fun, co-founders Jessica Stanley and Amy Arnold said.
By Grace Dickens

Reporter, Lake Travis/Westlake

Grace is the Lake Travis/Westlake reporter for education and city government. She joined Community Impact Newspaper in October 2021 after graduating from the University of Texas at Austin with degrees in journalism and geography.