Successful Women Business Owners in Boerne and Comfort
Running a business is no small order, but it can be fun. These hill country women share their stories in their ventures as business owners and the great experiences they’ve had along the way.
Calamity Jane’s Trading Co. and Daisy Pearl
Starting and running a business is no small feat, but when you decide to run two, you have to be pretty dedicated, love what you do, and more importantly, have fun while you’re doing it. Shawn Beach, owner of both Calamity Jane’s Trading Co. and Daisy Pearl in Boerne, has been doing just that for the past 15 years. When the California native first moved to Boerne 25 years ago with her husband and two sons, she was originally working in architectural and interior design.
She is seasoned in the field with 30 years of experience in residential work, but things shifted when she ran into the problem of not finding what she was looking for to fulfill everything she wanted in her design projects. From there she decided to open the furniture store Calamity Jane’s with the intention of carrying pieces that she wanted to place in the homes she was designing. Her store carries a variety of pieces from all over the world and ranges from large items such as sofas, beds, and end tables, to accessories and gift items. Design services are also available.
Her second store, Daisy Pearl, is a clothing boutique which carries boho-inspired looks and everyday wear. It came along eight years later in an organic fashion after she started experimenting with carrying a few clothing items in Calamity Jane’s. When she got the opportunity to move to a bigger building for the furniture store, she separated both and Daisy Pearl was established.
Both places provide the best of both worlds for her as she confessed to loving clothes just as much as she loves furniture. How she manages to run and maintain both stores comes together through a combination of things.
First, she compliments her extraordinary staff in helping her stating, “You’re as good as your help.” Another contribution to her success is the top priority she places on customer service. She is very appreciative of the loyal customers she has served over the years, having seen families who walk through her door grow with children and grandchildren. And lastly, she recognizes how retail business is changing and desires to meet and cover all customer needs — going back full circle to how things all started for her. She accomplishes that with the eclectic, one-of-a-kind quality pieces she carries in the furniture store, such as a favorite collection of hers, Jason Scott. In Daisy Pearl, she provides various styles and quality pieces to accommodate different people’s tastes. And she enjoys it all sharing, “Retail is a lot of work, but a lot of fun.”
Cedar Eaters of Texas
“Never say never,” or in the case of Pam Hegener, “Never say retire,” because that is exactly what happened when she and her husband moved to the Texas Hill Country in 2001. Hegener explains they were more than ready and had every intention of doing so when making their move from Louisiana to the Boerne area after years of running a large industrial construction/pipeline company. But you could say the role of the business owner came looking for them once again. It all started when they began the process of clearing their new property of brush and discovering different equipment would be needed to get the job done. From that discovery, Cedar Eaters of Texas was born and took off due to the high demand for that type of service in the area.
Being in the business of cedar and brush mulching and mesquite grubbing vastly differs from the work Hegener once did, but it is instrumental to the role she plays as a business owner. She has a medical background, having previously worked with a pathologist in a children’s clinic. It was this experience in the medical field which pulled her into the human resources and management side of their business. She juggles the bookkeeping, timekeeping, and bill paying along with ensuring the work environment is a good one for their 22 staff members, understanding the work they provide assists staff in financially supporting their families. As she joked about never really arriving at retirement, she also notes the fun side of this venture.
“We have really enjoyed it, it is really rewarding,” she says knowing that she and the business play a part to help families meet their needs while also doing something to help the environment. She adds that the work itself provides instant gratification in that you see immediate results.
And the secret to their proven success in running not just one, but two successful businesses as a husband-wife team, ”grow smartly,” she says. She mentions trying not to grow too fast, watching the market, having a strong brand, and most importantly, downhome professionalism. Having a good reputation goes a long way, particularly since a lot of their business is gained by word of mouth. Hegener has a daughter and a son who are also a part of the business and she is happy to have all her grandchildren within a few hours drive.
State Farm Insurance
An introduction — that’s all it took for Ginny Thompson to realize she loved the insurance field and wanted to be a part of it. She fondly describes how her love for it came about so naturally and credits her first calling in education for influencing her decision to work in the field. Potential clients who have stepped into her office comment on her degrees, and when they learn of her post-graduate work in psychology admit they never really had a chance from the moment they walked in. Thompson, who hails from a family of educators, saw the educational side of insurance as an opportunity to better equip people about insurance. She sees it as a necessary purchase, but people need to be educated about it for their needs. Meeting those needs is a natural thing for her saying, “It was just my calling.”
That memorable introduction took place in the mid-70s while working alongside State Farm agents, and during a time when the field was a male-dominated industry. It took nine years of applications to get the position she was after. In 1985, she was offered the opportunity to become what she calls a “scratch agent,” to open up an office as an independent contractor and build a client base in Boerne.
At the time she admitted asking, “Where is Boerne?” and encountered challenges when starting out, such as opening an office in a small community of 2,400 while also knowing another State Farm agent already worked in the area for the past 10 years.
She knew she could do it because of her past experience and with State Farm’s support and backing. Tenacity paid off for her as she has been operating her business for over 30 years, where today she and her team of seven provide insurance needs in auto, life, home, financial services, health, and banking and securities to a rapidly growing community.
As a result of sustaining a long-standing career as a business owner, highlighted by many industry and agency awards year after year, Thompson struggles to find what has been the most rewarding. She revels in the privilege to have worked with some of her staff for 27 years and seeing their families grow; knowing her business has provided herself, her team, and their families a means of support; being rewarded by the community she serves through organizational leadership roles; creating friendships with clients; and the main one she goes back to — educating. People walk out of her office knowing they’re protected.
By Jennifer O’Neill
Photography by David Teran