After spending nearly a decade studying biochemistry, Pearland resident Weihong Zhang abandoned his career working in the pharmacology department at the Baylor College of Medicine Medical Center to pursue his real passion: specialty coffee.
Principal designer Jen Hayes prefers to focus on envisioning on what is possible instead of focusing on the face value of things.
When looking for a storefront for her interior design firm Feather & Nest Interiors in 2016, Hayes chose a place many others would have discounted. She was looking for a home base to conduct design consultations and to sell home decor products.
Owners Tracey and Phillip Griffin opened their fitness studio Scoop Pilates and Personal Training in Missouri City in May 2010, and the husband-and-wife team has been using their own professional training and experiences to help others establish healthy lifestyles.
Missouri City resident Shahin Nanji started her tutoring business in 2012, teaching her students in a 70-square-foot office space on Sugar Creek Boulevard. It was capable of fitting two students at maximum.
An electrical engineer, Nanji had no previous experience running a business but wanted to pursue her passion for teaching—starting at the Lenotre Culinary Institute in Houston as an adjunct faculty member, instructing math and computer science skills related to cooking and business management.
Owner Xiao Hua “Joshua” Wu opened Wu’s Fine Violins in 1999—crafting, restoring, appraising, renting and selling stringed instruments from his shop in Sugar Land. Although customers may purchase violas, cellos and basses from the store, Wu is most well-known for his handcrafted violins.
Originally from the Zhejiang province of China, Wu began playing the violin at age 13 when he acquired an old, battered instrument from a neighbor.
Missouri City resident Valerie Lerner has visited multiple cities across the U.S. and internationally to fulfill her yoga instructor’s certification requirements. Her efforts have helped her successfully operate her own studio, Afterglow Hot Yoga, in the Sienna Plantation community.
Note: this business has since closed.
Mother-daughter duo Tricia and Alex Zody, owner and lead designer, respectively, started the business in 2016. The studio has a flower bar at the front where Alex teaches classes on how to design flower arrangements.
Missouri City resident Lauren Culpepper met the daunting task of launching her own business with determination, opening her boutique, Ally & Belle, in July 2017 at the Township Square center.
The store sells apparel and novelty and gift items, including beauty products, stationery, accessories and home decor pieces. Culpepper purchases her inventory primarily from small-business owners like herself or those devoted to a charitable cause.
At Fire It Up Pottery & Art Studio customers can explore their creative side with glasswork, clay and paint. Business owner Lottie Cantu has more than 40 years of pottery experience and opened the 2,300-square-foot studio in April 2015, helping many complete their do-it-yourself art projects.
After owning jewelry stores in New Mexico and Hawaii, Kent and Cay Hutton decided to put down roots in November 2017 and open Hutton’s Jewelry and Gifts in Sugar Land. Kent opened his first store in Roswell, New Mexico, in 1976 and worked with Cay during the holidays.
“She came in and helped me gift wrap,” Kent said. “We got married a couple of months later, and we’ve been partners ever since then.”
Before opening Texas Doggie Daycare in Missouri City in October 2017, owner Greg Boerner ran a software company for restaurants and retail stores.
Being a dog whisperer, Boerner finds training dogs to be second nature, according to Patti, his wife and Texas Doggie Daycare co-owner.