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Boerne – Fair Oaks – Leon Springs – Comfort - Bergheim – Bulverde

The Hill Country’s Premier Business Publication Vo lu m e 1 : : I s s u e 6 : : D e ce m b e r 2 013 / J a n u a r y 2 014

WHEN THE IDEA BECOMES

REALITY

Starting a business is no joke. For this issue we take a look behind the scenes to see not only what’s involved, but lessons learned throughout the process

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ENTREPRENEUR INVESTING EDUCATION BUSINESS PROFILES AND MORE...


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CALL US TODAY FOR YOUR FREE CONSULTATION.

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CONTENTS 8

FROM THE PUBLISHER

10 CALENDAR 18 NEW BUSINESS

INBALANCE

26 LEADERSHIP

12

Investing as an entrepreneur

28 BOERNE

PERFORMING ARTS

30 LEGAL 32 TAX PLANNING 34 BUSINESS OWNERS 44 BUSINESS PROFILE 48 NEWS BUSINESS

RANDOM

16

Ambleside School of Boerne

Administration / Advertising

36

Publisher Benjamin D. Schooley ben@thecompanymag.com ADVERTISING SALES 210-507-5250 sales@thecompanymag.com

WHEN THE IDEA BECOMES REALITY

Starting a business is no joke. For this issue we take a look behind the scenes to see not only what’s involved, but lessons learned throughout the process

ART

22

Conroy’s Irish Pub under new management

Creative Director Ben Weber ben.weber@smvtexas.com thecompanymag.com

6 | COMPANY MAGAZINE


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WELCOME | a letter from the publisher Dearest COMPANY Reader, As a publisher, and someone that works with small

Not many businesses would want the reader to see how

“Grand Openings”.

second, but we are willing to allow that. We then sought

businesses almost exclusively, I have witnessed many The frazzled business owner is speaking with me about their promotion they’d like to do with the magazine for

their Grand Opening, and I invariably ask “How has it been going as you get ready to open?” The owner will run their hand through their hair, sigh deeply, and say “Man, this

was WAY harder than I thought it would be!!” I, being the compassionate soul, say “Oh, I know.”

But here’s the thing: I had no idea what was involved.

In early September of this year, I began putting the finishing touches on GENT. A local salon that caters to men, I

thought that I had every detail covered and that the initial move-in and prep work would take a weekend or so and

then we’d be all set. In reality, it was two weeks of unadulterated mayhem. It was dozens of trips to Home Depot, a never ending line of employees saying “I need two of

these, some more of these, and a few of these…”, and it was late nights and back-breaking labor. It was beyond

difficult, and it gave me an all new appreciation for what

it takes to get a business off the ground – especially a brick and mortar establishment.

So, with this in mind, we thought that you, dear reader, might enjoy a look behind the curtain and read about the

flustered they were, or how things came together at the last out some feedback from other local business owners about their own grand opening experiences, and we trust that

you might also share a renewed appreciation for your local small businesses and their owners.

After all, Kendall county is comprised almost exclusively

of small businesses. We do not have many major employers, and so for those of us that live and work here, odds are we

are tied in some way or another with small businesses. And

perhaps that’s one of my favorite things about this area. The community serves the community. By frequenting locally owned small businesses, that revenue is then spent else-

where in the community with other small businesses. And round and round it goes. And at a higher level, that’s the

mission of this very publication; to promote, highlight, and feature small businesses throughout our area in the hope that you grow an even deeper appreciation for them and find new opportunities to support them.

As I mentioned, I had no idea how much effort and passion is required just to get the doors open. And now that

I’ve done it, I’ll spend every dollar I can locally so that I can help someone else KEEP their doors open!

experience of opening a new business. In full disclosure,

the business in question (GENT) will be one that is owned by the same company that owns this publication, but we wanted to ensure that you experienced a “Grand Open-

ing” with all of the dirty, ugly details and honesty possible.

8 | COMPANY MAGAZINE

Benjamin D. Schooley Publisher


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CALENDAR |

BUSINESS AND HILL COUNTRY EVENTS CALENDAR

DECEMBER 4

Groundbreaking for Nissan of Boerne 10:30 AM - 11:30 AM Come and see where the new Nissan will be located!

DECEMBER 5

Annual Christmas Luncheon sponsored by Sonora Bank 11:30 AM - 1:00 PM

DECEMBER 5

Ribbon Cutting Celebration One Year Family Changes Play Therapy Clinic & Frill Seekers 5:00 PM - 7:00 PM Come join Family Changes Play Therapy Clinic and Frill Seekers for their ribbon cutting to celebrate their first year 10 | COMPANY MAGAZINE

DECEMBER 11

Leadership Boerne Session 12:00 AM - 11:59 PM

DECEMBER 12

Business After Hours Mixer sponsored by Authentic Custom Homes 5:00 PM - 7:00 PM Come mix and mingle with your fellow Chamber members at the Business After Hours Mixer sponsored by Authentic Custom Homes, LLC

DECEMBER 17

Ribbon Cutting for Pedernales Brewing Company 1:30 PM - 2:00 PM Come and welcome this new member!

JANUARY 9

Ribbon Cutting for Athletic Republic of Boerne 11:30 AM - 12:00 PM Come and welcome this new member!


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FINANCIAL |

Should Entrepreneurs Invest Differently? By Johnny Johnston

An entrepreneur’s personal wealth is typically concentrated in a single asset: his company. Business owners in Kendall county devote themselves to assessing and taking risks in order to grow their enterprises. But too often they don’t apply that same focus to their personal assets. In fact, some of the attributes that make for a successful entrepreneur can be diametrically opposed to the imperatives of wealth preservation. Entrepreneurs should begin by considering their personal wealth objectives. Many business owners may want to take an even more disciplined approach to portfolio construction than other types of investors. This is partly because they may have more to lose, but also because many of the elements of a solid financial strategy can require additional care when there are significant assets tied up in a business endeavor. It’s important for entrepreneurs to ensure that their portfolio is tailored not only to their particular circumstances but also to the type of business they own. Understanding your investment personality. Getting a better handle on your financial tendencies can help you invest in a way that’s better aligned with your goals. You may consider yourself a risk taker generally, but risk taking in an investment context isn’t the same as it is in business. When you invest cash in your company, your decision is based on careful analysis of a market you know well. However, financial decision 12 | COMPANY MAGAZINE

making in your portfolio is more in the market’s control. An investment strategy aligned with your investment personality may help you stay invested when the markets zigzag. One way to help address the issue is to engage in an exercise akin to stress-testing a portfolio against a range of possible scenarios. By somewhat preparing investors for potential market turbulence, stress tests can help guard against counterproductive behavior which can reduce longterm returns. Prioritizing your goals. What are your short- and long-term financial and life goals? When do you anticipate retiring, selling your company or turning it over for someone else to run? Consider your personal goals separately from your business objectives. Business owners often reinvest substantial sums in their companies. But if you plan to pay for your children’s college education, for instance, and you know what it will take to reach that goal, you can consciously siphon off cash from your monthly income to allocate to a tax-advantaged college savings program. Creating an investment strategy. The process often starts with a bit of mental accounting. Conceive of your wealth in terms of two distinct buckets. The first bucket is your entrepreneurial capital—your stake

Johnny Johnston Merrill Lynch financial advisor

in your businesses. The second is a diversified portfolio that includes assets designed to compensate for the risk inherent in your businesses. It’s important to make sure your portfolio contains enough liquidity to serve as a cushion against recessions, industry down cycles, or any rough business patch. Because that first entrepreneurial bucket is likely highly illiquid (as


it’s tied up in your company), entrepreneurs may want to build as much as twice the liquidity into their personal portfolios as non-business-owner investors. Suitable liquid assets generally include a combination of cash, intermediate-term bonds and a line of credit that serves as a form of insurance against potential business pitfalls. It’s a good idea to apply for a line of credit before you need it. A credit line can give you the ability to take advantage of opportunities that crop up suddenly. Lastly, business owners shouldn’t overlook disability insurance. An inability to work could end up reducing not only your family’s income but also the value of your business. Choosing a retirement plan that serves your goals. Some tax-qualified plans offer noteworthy benefits for business owners, allowing you to put away considerable sums while also helping retain employees via profit sharing. If your business has 100 or fewer employees, a SIMPLE (savings incentive match plan for employees) IRA is a relatively inexpensive option, offering most of the benefits of a 401(k) while imposing fewer IRS reporting requirements. Because participation is voluntary, employees can choose whether and how much of their pre-tax wages to contribute. Employers then match up to 3% of annual compensation, which they can deduct as a business expense. Or they can choose to contribute a flat 2% of compensation for all employees, regardless of whether they contribute.

THERE IS REGULAR HAPPY. THEN THERE IS NEW HOME HAPPY.

Reviewing and updating your strategies. Be prepared to connect with your Merrill Lynch Financial Advisor regularly—at least a few times a year—to go over how you’re making progress toward your goals. As business conditions change and life goals evolve, entrepreneurs may need to modify their portfolios from time to time in order to stay on course. For the entrepreneur in Kendall county, maybe the most important impetus for having a disciplined, diversified wealth management strategy in place is a very simple one. It can help protect your assets by letting you do what you do best: take smart risks.

By Anil Suri, managing director and head of investment analytics at Bank of America Merrill Lynch For more information, contact your Merrill Lynch Financial Advisor Johnny Johnston of the Boerne, TX office at (210) 805-2981. Merrill Lynch Wealth Management makes available products and services offered by Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Incorporated (“MLPF&S”) and other subsidiaries of Bank of America Corporation (“BAC”). “Merrill Lynch” refers to any company in the Merrill Lynch & Co., Inc., group of companies, which are wholly owned by Bank of America Corporation. Bank of America Corporation (“Bank of America”) is a financial holding company that, through its subsidiaries and affiliated companies, provides banking and nonbanking financial services. Investment products: Are Not FDIC Insured Are Not Bank Guaranteed May Lose Value Neither Merrill Lynch nor its financial advisors provide tax, accounting or legal advice. Clients should review any planned financial transactions or arrangements that may have tax, accounting or legal implications with their personal professional advisors Diversification does not assure a profit or protect against a loss in declining markets.

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thecompanymag.com | 13


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EDUCATION |

AMBLESIDE SCHOOL OF BOERNE RE-DEFINING EDUCATION By Kendra Vita

16 | COMPANY MAGAZINE

At the end of an education, what remains? Some aced exams whose knowledge is now forgotten? Stacks of worksheets in the trash? Unpleasant memories of anxiety or stress? Or… could the end of an education be the emergence of a young adult - thoughtful, curious, noble and industrious? It is with the end in mind that Ambleside sets out to pursue this worthy goal. Our path is different from any other educational philosophy available today and is a part of the growing movement of Ambleside Schools International. Our approach is threefold, but begins with the premise that the child is a person. He is naturally inclined toward curiosity and diligence - we only need to strengthen him where he is weak and inspire him toward greatness. Therefore, we will not manipulate him through rewards, punishments, grades or our own emotions. The child must do the work of learning, and we are here to help. With the foundation laid, we set the pillars in place. Charlotte Mason said, “education is an atmosphere, a discipline, a life.” The atmosphere found at Ambleside is one of sincerity and truth where joy is found on the countenances of our teachers and beauty is beheld all around. It is not an atmosphere of competitive tyranny, but rather one in which all are aided and expected to be their best. It is an optimal atmosphere for genuine growth. However, an atmosphere alone would not provide all that our students need. They must learn to self-regulate. The discipline of habit formation is essential to cultivating thoughtful scholars. Foremost among these is the habit of attention. What we give our attention to, we come to truly know and care about. Our students are held accountable to give their full attention through the regular practice of narration. At the end of each reading, someone is called upon to tell back what was just read. With practice, all students can quickly and with ease give thorough narrations. In addition, our teachers daily assist our students to grow in habits such as neatness, kindness, obedience and how they approach their work. Charlotte Mason said that “habits are to students as rails to a train.” With sturdy rails set in place, our students are able to avoid the weight of decision and glide through their days. Habit formation, particularly in the early years, is challenging. But, it is greatly eased when the work put before them is deeply interesting and worth pursuing. The final pillar to erect is that of living ideas. Charlotte Mason believed that “a morning without a new idea is a morning wasted.” In contrast to dull, dry facts – an idea is alive in the mind. Not only that, but an idea helps students to naturally form connections and generate new ideas. For example, if we read Dickens’ “Tale of Two Cities” in order


to learn the plot, main characters and literary style we may come to know something of the book. But, if we read this novel with an eye to gather the ideas that Dickens sought to convey – ideas of love and sacrifice – we arrive at a very different way of knowing this book. Above all other texts we believe that the Bible offers living ideas in abundance and its truths are at the core of what we teach. The ideas discovered become a part of who we are. They mold, shape and inspire our very being. With the foundation laid and the pillars in place, we have good reason to hope that our students will receive the necessary nourishment to enter adulthood with thoughtfulness and a quiet confidence which leaves their feet placed in a wide world full of possibility. thecompanymag.com | 17


NEW BUSINESS |

inBalance

hard to do because this is my baby, a labor of love and tremendous hard work (when I first bought the business I was still teaching high school, so I was doing both at the same time...just about lost my mind...) It’s hard to get everything done and find time for myself. But right now, it’s wort it as my business is still steadily growing and I am making it into what I envision it. What advice would you give to someone wanted to start their own business? I know it sounds cliche, but the best advice is to just not give up on your dream. My dream came to fruition when I was going through a really hard time in my personal life, a huge life adjustment. So the first year I was running this, was me dealing with that as well as working another full time job. I know that if I can survive that, I can do this, I can see this thing through. I don’t think people realize how much work it is to own and operate their own business, but if their willing to put in the hours and the effort and they have the heart, it will all be worth it in the end.

How did your business get started? Describe your background for us. Up until I graduated college, my life was dance. I danced since I was 3 years old, danced all the way through college and continued to coach dance after I graduated. I became interested in Pilates when I was in high school, because it lent so well to dance, then in college I took a course to be a fitness instructor so I could teach it to make a little extra money. I fell in love with it and realized that my goal was going to be to run my own studio one day. I started teaching at Yoga Sanctuary about a year after I moved to San Antonio, then was presented the opportunity to buy the studio from the previous owner. It just snowballed from there and I just kept going with the vision I had for the studio, which is called inBalance today. Tell us about inBalance? I wanted a space that brings the best of both worlds of the mind body disciplines that I love so much (yoga and Pilates) into one place. Our space is an intimate, personal setting where you will find some of the best and most committed practitioners in town. We have everything from yoga and Pilates classes, as well as dance, barre classes and Zumba. 18 | COMPANY MAGAZINE

We are a small, intimate setting, so classes are small. But we like it that way! We provide a space for people to connect with their practice without the intimidation or pressure of large group classes. We offer you a community of fellow practitioners, an opportunity to build meaningful relationships with like-minded people, more personalized attention in classes, and holding a space for you to have a spiritual connection in your practice, so you leave the studio having done more than just physical exercise. What’s the best thing you like about your job? I get to do what I love to do every day of the week. Technically I teach Pilates and barre classes; but deeper than that I am transforming minds and bodies into functional entities that will be strong and able throughout their lives. I am forming a community among the students that come to my classes. I am building relationships and that’s what I love the most. What are your biggest challenges running a business? Finding time to get everything done and stay sane. My biggest flaw is trying to do everything myself, so I am trying to let go of the reins a bit to let other people pitch in. It’s

Any future plans for your company? My goal is to franchise out to other locations, first in San Antonio, then hopefully to other cities around Texas (and maybe beyond!). I think our goal and our vision for our studio is something that should be shared with others and I live for the opportunity to do that, to provide people with a community of like-minded people, and a chance to have a life changing experience. Because that’s what we do at inBalance; we aren’t just changing bodies, we are changing lives. Hope Cowgill, owner of inBalance started out teaching group Pilates classes, while also teaching Pilates classes for the Louisiana Tech University football and boys’ basketball team. Hope moved to San Antonio in 2009 where she continued her training in Pilates and earned additional licenses in Fletcher Pilates. She is also a Certified Personal Trainer though American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM). She is currently working on her 500 hour Comprehensive Certification through BASI (Body Arts and Science International). Hope recently “retired” from her day job as a high school teacher and coach to focus on her true passion. Hope loves sharing the concepts and techniques of Pilates with others and helping them apply these concepts to their daily life and movement. Pilates truly is a lifestyle, and like yoga, it is functional exercise. When not teaching, Hope enjoys Crossfit, long distance running, hiking and spending time with her family.


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thecompanymag.com | 21


BUSINESS PROFILE |

CONROY’S IRISH PUB UNDER NEW OWNERSHIP

Conroy’s new owner Frenchy brings with him years of experience as well as a track record of successful restaurants and bars. We sat down with him to discuss his plans for Conroy’s

The best part is that it’s never a routine. Everyday when I wake up, I say to myself so what’s gonna happen today? There’s always a new challenge to take on, and I love that about this business.

What made you want to get into the restaurant industry? I grew up in the bar industry. My father owned several bars in his day, and like most kids growing up and watching their father, I wanted to be like him. What got me the most is that I realized he hosted a party every day of the week. He was there to entertain his guests, and I love doing that too. The restaurant side of it was just added a few years ago. That part, I would have to say, comes from my love for food.

What are your biggest challenges running a business? Everything about running a business is challenging, from staffing to coming up with good promotions. Fortunately, we have a great team here at Conroy’s that make it easier. Right now, we are just focusing on reconnecting with the community. We want people to know that we’re here, and we’ve changed for the better.

What changes have you made to the existing Conroy’s? We haven’t made any structural changes to the physical building, but we have added a lot more entertainment for our customers. We’ve added new games like giant jenga, ping pong, and cornhole to name a few. There’s also more nightly events like beer bingo, pint night & live trivia to keep guests entertained in the evenings. Finally, Conroy’s is now non-smoking! One of the biggest complaints we encountered upon taking over Conroy’s was the smoking. Guests can still puff one outside on the patio, but inside it is strictly non-smoking. We’ve also improved the selection of beer and extended our kitchen hours later in the evenings. What makes Conroy’s unique? We’re not just a watering hole, we’re a family. Weather you come alone or with some friends to watch a football game, you won’t leave a stranger. Our friendly staff is encouraged to chat up everyone. After all, we’re a small community & it’s those connections that make a successful business. We’re also unique because we believe that you don’t have to come to our bar just drink or grab a bite to eat. Our playful atmosphere gets strangers talking, and by the time you leave, everyone knows you! What’s the best thing you like about running a restaurant/bar?

22 | COMPANY MAGAZINE

What are the future plans for Conroy’s? We plan to continue adding unique entertainment, providing a great selection of beer, and ultimately listening to our customers on what they want...after all, we’re here for them!


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LEADERSHIP |

MAKING GREAT HIRES (part 1) By Paul Wilson

Ask any business leader what they have found to be the most difficult part of running a company and they’ll all tell you the same thing. I’d be rolling in some serious bank if I got paid every time I bet myself what a leader was going to tell me before I even asked the question. Every one of them tells me the exact same thing every time. Their answer? Personnel! Finding trustworthy, dependable, loyal, industrious and drama-free employees is one of the most difficult challenges facing an employer. Employees can either make or break your company. The right people can put your company on the map. The wrong ones can ruin years of hard work. According to management guru Jim Collins, author of bestsellers Built to Last and Good to Great, one of the most important keys to building a great company is to get the right people on the bus. That begins with hiring. Several years ago I attended a leadership conference hosted by a highly qualified leader of an enormously successful organization who shared his company’s hiring paradigm. The minute I heard it, I recognized its brilliance and simplicity. It just made perfect sense to me. Seventeen years later, it has proven to be a reliable and 26 | COMPANY MAGAZINE


rewarding approach to hiring great people. As we say it around our place. We hire people on the 3 C’s. CHARACTER – moral compass COMPETENCY – professional aptitude CHEMISTRY – personal compatibility When hiring new employees, consider their qualifications through the grid of Character, Competency and Chemistry. It’s a trustworthy equation for hiring great people. Ignore just one of the three and you’ll probably end up kicking yourself. In this first article, let’s briefly consider Character. I believe every company has “a soul.” It is the moral nature that directs the energies of the entire enterprise. It runs deeper than vision and mission; this is about the character of your organization. The service you provide to your customers is driven by a certain noble intent. It’s the compassion, trustworthiness and diligence honored by your company that pays out dividends like “credibility” and “reputation.” In my opinion, it’s the intangible fabric of your corporate integrity that ultimately affords you the opportunity to build your business. At the heart of your enterprise is a moral fabric that holds it all together. For that reason, you need to hire people who possess a personal character that is similar to your company’s ethical compass. (Don’t be fooled for a minute into thinking that an individual’s professional character is separate from his personal character. It is not. A person’s professional character is deeply rooted in their personal morality.) If you want people to trust your company and the service you provide, nine times out of ten they are going to appraise your company’s trustworthiness by the people who represent it. From your corporate executives down to your service technicians, once customers get the drift that your people are not trustworthy they’ll find another company to provide that same service. Mark my words:

The character of your employees will ultimately determine the integrity of your company. The integrity of your company will ultimately determine its reputation. The reputation of your company will ultimately determine its success. One of the best definitions of character that I’ve ever heard goes something like this: “character is what you are when nobody is looking.” Who are your employees when they are not on the clock? Practically speaking, you have to ask enough of the right questions in an interview to get a good idea of what this person is like when they are not jockeying to get a job with your company. Hiring people of character is about finding employees who have a good compass when it comes to intrinsic qualities like honesty, dependability, loyalty and compassion. Hiring people on the basis of their character is getting more and more difficult due to the legal risks of asking them certain questions in the interview process. Toss in the fact that some of the character quotient is often intuitive; a feeling in your gut or a nagging uncertainty in the back of your mind. I call it a “red flag.” I have learned to trust my “redflag” cautions. Almost every person who I have hired (or enlisted as a volunteer) after ignoring my “red-flags” about them has later disappointed. If you work with other team members in the hiring process, I encourage you to be very candid when discussing the “red-flags” any of you may have about a potential hire. Think of it as the collective conscience of the company. Between seasoned team members, it should be possible to discern if a candidate has the character it takes to work for your enterprise. One simple test for character is job history. Look closely at the candidate’s tenure with previous employers listed on their resume. While there are always exceptions to the rule, an individual with a job history full of

short-term employment experiences may have some character issues. They can’t hold onto a job, or worse, they won’t! Another litmus test for character, of course, is talking to an applicant’s references. However, in nearly 20 years of hiring I have never received a resume where the references weren’t stacked in favor of the applicant. People just don’t put former employers who terminated them on their resume. (Those who do are relying on current laws that govern what one employer can legally tell another employer on a reference check. I’m all for honoring the law, but this may be a time to go “off the record” with a former employer and appeal to their help as one manager to another.) A person’s use of social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) can also be a very revealing insight into what a person is like when they are not on the clock. The best test is the face-to-face interview process. I highly recommend multiple interviews over time with numerous people in your organization. Interviewing really should be a collaborative process with other key team members who have some skin in the game when it comes to the outcome of the hire. Utilize whatever questions, scenarios, tests or tools necessary to help you get a good feel for the character of the people you are about to hire. While a thorough process may be more time-consuming and expensive, it will be well worth it in the long run. As I tell our team all the time, “We are never in a hurry to make a bad hire.” At the heart of your company is its character; the integrity behind what you’re doing. To build a successful company, you need to coalesce a team of people who possess a personal morality that is consistent with your corporate character. Like the links in a chain, your company will only ever be as strong as the people you hire. Never underestimate the influence of character. Your customers certainly won’t.

Paul Wilson is the Senior Pastor of Cibolo Creek Community Church in Fair Oaks Ranch, Texas. Launched in 1996, Cibolo Creek is committed to the challenging mission of creating a church unchurched people love to attend. A Masters degree in Theology and thirty years of leadership experience in non-profit organizations have granted Paul a unique perspective on what it takes to lead people effectively. Paul and his wife, Charlotte, and their two teenage sons make their home in Fair Oaks Ranch, Texas.

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COMMUNITY |

FIRST EVER SPECIAL EVENT Boerne Performing Arts recently announced the addition of a SPECIAL EVENT to their 2014 concert series. This young organization has successfully sold out every performance since their inception in 2012, and will now add one more dimension to the offerings for our community.

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VOCA PEOPLE, a world-renowned show that has dazzled audiences in over 25 countries around the globe since 2009, was recently awarded the New York City’s 2012 winner of the Lortel award for “Theatrical Experience,” a prize first claimed by the Blue Man Group. The show features eight incredible talents, performing dazzling vocal qualities unlike anything you’ve experienced before. Audiences profess that there is a back-up band to this a cappella ensemble, but the amazing vocal sounds along with the art of beat box create an incredible range of sounds and instruments. This indescribable talent is best pre-viewed by a quick visit to YouTube. With over 25 million hits on their videos, previewing this “out-of-this-world” show will give you insight to what The New York Times stated as, “Simply Great! A Knockout! You leave the theater feeling entertained.” VOCA PEOPLE will be a special event, in addition to the 2014 series which will feature The Ten Tenors (from Australia), The StepCrew (from Ireland/Canada) and Time for Three (Artists in Residence with Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra). Boerne Performing Arts has impacted the community and local businesses with their world-class offerings. Their evening performances have been attended by over 6,000 concertgoers in the first two seasons, while Boerne Performing Arts FOR KIDS, their educational outreach program, has positively impacted over 5,000 local students. Boerne Performing Arts FOR KIDS is a program that serves the students of the hill country region including those of lowincome and special needs. These programs, offered at no cost to students, support and enhance the classroom state-required curriculum while offering a vibrant performing arts experience that many students might not otherwise access. The fundraising efforts of the all-volunteer committee provide the follow-

ing Boerne Performing Arts FOR KIDS programs: special school day performances by the visiting artists, master classes for local performing arts students, and Prelude Performances & Art Galleries for showcasing our local fine arts students. For 2014, the student impact will exceed 4,000 local students. Boerne Performing Arts events are open to the general public. In 2013, a total of 1,068 ticket orders (totaling 3,000 tickets) were placed for the three events. Of those, 11% of the orders were from San Antonio, 7% of the orders came from 50+ miles of Boerne, 11% were from hill country towns within a 50-mile radius of Boerne, and the remaining 71% of the orders were from Boerne/Fair Oaks Ranch. In summary, 29% of the tickets sold were from outside Boerne. Boerne Performing Arts actively partners with numerous organizations to bring the world of performing arts to Boerne. This community effort includes partnerships with The Greater Boerne Chamber of Commerce, The Boerne Convention & Visitors Bureau and Kendall County Economic Development Corporation as the official box offices, and Boerne Independent School District with the use of their state-of-the-art Champion High School Auditorium for all performances. In 2013, the following businesses provided financial support to these programs through sponsorships of the events: The GVTC Foundation, Hearts’ Home Acoustics, Sonora Bank, Authentic Custom Homes, Cordillera Ranch, Frost Bank, The Boerne Star, Morningside Ministries, and J.R. Mooney Galleries of Fine Art. The 2014 season will include the following promotions: Dodging Duck (Free Coozie), Little Gretel (Free Frgal Dessert), Infusion Spa & Salon ($20 Gift Card), and Sugar Shack (Free Ice Cream Cone). All promotions require the purchase of a ticket to a specific event. Boerne Performing Arts’ goal is to enrich the quality of life in the community. By continuing to gain acclaim by local and statewide media outlets, Boerne Performing Arts spotlights the arts community and provides another dimension that enhances the economic well being of the City of Boerne. By exposing our youth to the performing arts, we are creating an appreciation that the next generation will carry forward. For more information about Boerne Performing Arts, visit www.boerneperformingarts.com or call 830-331-9079.


LEGAL |

A POLICYHOLDER’S GUIDE TO THE INSURANCE CLAIMS PROCESS By Shannon Loyd

fact issue—meaning it is arguable on a case-by-case basis. Some policies now require that notice of a loss must be given within one year of the date of loss. Once you have notified the insurance company of the loss, it has fifteen days to acknowledge your notice, commence an investigation and request documents it may need for its investigation. Document the loss and every contact with your insurer and its adjuster Document the damages caused by the loss with photographs or video. Once you have notified the insurance company of the loss, it will usually send an adjuster to inspect and document the damages. However, it is important to keep your own documentation as well. Do not dispose of damaged property until your insurance company has inspected the property or declined to do so. As well, document all communications with the insurance company and its adjuster. Most insurance companies keep claims diary notes which include communications with the policyholder, so having your own “claims diary” and documentation may be helpful if a dispute later arises as to representations made to you or as to the extent of the damages.

When a loss occurs and your property is damaged, approaching the claims process in an informed and organized manner will increase your chances of the claim being resolved quickly and to your satisfaction. Additionally, Texas has laws to protect policyholders and strict timelines by which an insurance company must comply when handling your claim.

Mitigate your damages – protect your property from further damage In Texas, a policyholder is required to mitigate damages at “trifling” expense. This means that you must do what you can afford to do to keep any of the damages from getting worse. Examples of mitigation are placing a tarp over a hole in your roof or shutting off the water supply to your building when a pipe has burst.

Promptly notify your insurer of the loss Notify your insurance company as soon as you discover the damage from the loss. Prompt notice of a loss is required by most policies, although what is “prompt” is a usually a

Cooperate with reasonable requests for documents and inspections Within fifteen business days after conducting its investigation, the insurance company must notify the policyholder of

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its decision to pay or deny the claim, or whether it requires more information in order to make its decision. If it decides to pay on the claim, it must do so within five business days. Most policies require the policyholder to allow the insurance company reasonable access to inspect the damages and to comply with reasonable requests for documents, such as receipts or invoices. It may require more than one inspection. As long as the requests are reasonable, a policyholder should comply. If the insurance company has required more information in order to make a claim decision, it must pay or deny the claim within forty-five days after such notice. Beware of releasing and/or waiving your rights Once an insurance company has made a decision of what it believes is owed under the policy, it must make an undisputed claim payment. It is a violation of the Texas Insurance Code for an insurer to ask a policyholder to sign a release of liability or a waiver of rights in order to receive an undisputed payment of policy benefits. If an insurance company claims that some of the claim payment is actually disputed, it may have a right to ask for a release. However, never sign a final settlement, release of liability, or waiver of rights without fully understanding the document and consequences of signing it. In most cases, you are waiving your legal rights to later seek the full amount of the damages which should have been covered by your policy, as well as prompt payment penalties and attorneys’ fees. Ask for help If at any time during the claims process you feel you are not being treated fairly, contact the Texas Department of Insurance, a public adjuster or, as a last resort, an attorney who specializes in representing policyholders.

Shannon Loyd, owner of The Loyd Law Firm, PLLC, has been licensed since 2004 and has extensive experience in litigating cases involving coverage disputes and insurance bad faith. She received her bachelors of science degree from Texas A&M University and her law degree from St. Mary’s School of Law in San Antonio.


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TAX PLANNING |

Watch Out for Forgotten Surprises in Your Year-End Tax Planning By David Phillip

As 2013 draws to a close, it’s time to start thinking about year-end tax planning. Planning this year holds many extra complications due to the passage of two significant laws that include several tax hikes on taxpayers which take effect this year, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (ACA) and the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 (ATRA) despite the dates on the laws, their impact starts this year. Let’s take a look at some of the provisions in these two laws. Tax Rates Beginning in 2013, the top tax rate has been increased from 35% to 39.6%. These rates start at taxable income of $450,000 for married couples and $400,000 for single individuals. The tax brackets below the new 39.6% rate remain the same. Capital Gains/Dividends Tax For the last several years, the maximum tax rate on longterm capital gains and qualified dividends has been 15%. Beginning this year, if you are in the 39.6% tax bracket long term capital gains and qualified dividends will not be taxed at a maximum of 20%. The 0% and 15% rates for income below the 39.6% level remain unchanged. Surtax on Net Investment Income A provision of the ACA is a new 3.8% surtax on net investment income. This tax is assessed on married taxpayers with adjusted gross income (AGI) over $250,000 and single taxpayers with AGI over $200,000. Net investment income is defined as interest, dividends, capital gains, net rents, royalties and net passive activity income. The tax 3.8% tax is applied to the lesser of: net investment income or net investment income less $250,000 for married couples ($200,000 for a single taxpayer). The tax will be calculated and assessed on your personal tax return. Note that trusts will also be subject to this new tax. And yes, the tax could apply to the sale of your principal residence if your gain is larger than the home sale exclusion. Additional Medicare Tax Another provision of the ACA was to increase the employee-share of Medicare tax by 0.9% for wages of $250,000 for married couples and $200,000 for single taxpayers. The employer is not required to match this additional tax. In addition, the tax also applies to self-employed taxpayer at the same income level as wages discussed above.

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Phase-out of Itemized Deductions Beginning this year, itemized deductions will be phased out for married couples with adjusted gross income over $300,000 and single taxpayers with adjusted gross income over $250,000. Itemized deductions include medical expenses, the sales tax deduction, property taxes, mortgage interest, charitable donations, unreimbursed business expenses and several others. The deductions are phased out at a rate of 3% of the amount your adjusted gross income exceeds $300,000 for a married couple ($250,000 for a single taxpayer). Phase-out of Personal Exemptions As if that’s not enough, also beginning this year, personal exemptions will also be phased out for married couples with adjusted gross income over $300,000 and single taxpayers with adjusted gross income over $250,000. The phase-out is at the rate of 2% for each $2,500 that your adjusted gross income exceeds $250,000 for married couples or $250,000 for single taxpayers. Medical Expense Deduction In previous years, medical expenses that exceed 7.5% of your adjusted gross income have been deductible. Beginning this year, the threshold has been raised to 10% of adjusted gross income. However, if you are 65 or older this year, the 7.5% threshold remains. Expiring Tax Breaks Effective tax planning requires that you not only consider the current year but the next tax year as well. There are many popular tax breaks scheduled to expire at the end of 2013. These popular tax breaks are known as extenders and are subject to extension each year. Some of the most popular are: sales tax deduction (very popular in states without an income tax), teacher classroom expense deduction of $250, mortgage insurance premium deduction for taxpayers with adjusted gross income under $100,000, individual retirement account distributions to charities for persons over 72 years of age, the exclusion of cancellation of indebtedness income on a principal residence, 15 year depreciation on various types of leasehold improvements, and the very popular bonus depreciation on new asset purchases. However, the even more popular Section 179 expense deduction on asset purchases remains unchanged for 2013. These are just a few of the many new factors to consider when doing your year-end tax planning. The good news is with proper planning many of these tax increases and deduction phase-outs can be avoided or minimized. If you haven’t already, I suggest that you consult your tax advisor in the coming weeks to get started.

David Phillip is the owner of the local CPA firm of T. David Phillip, CPA, PC. He has 24 years of tax consulting experience beginning his career with the international accounting firm of Price Waterhouse. He then spent six years as the manager of tax accounting and planning with Ultramar Diamond Shamrock before opening his own firm. A native of Boerne, he and his wife Kerry moved back to Boerne in 2002 to raise their two beautiful children, Abigail and Benjamin.

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BUSINESS OWNERS |

The Power of Christian Coaching for CEOs and Business Owners is Making It’s Mark in Central Texas! By Lisa Cone Ever think about how to apply your core Christian values to enhance and expand your business and make it a part of your personal ministry? In this day and age, just running a company and keeping it viable is more than a full time job. Most CEOs don’t take the time to develop a strategy to incorporate eternal values into their businesses because they’re already overwhelmed. Even those who do take the time lack a set of time-tested strategies to assist them. A growing number of Christian businesspeople are finding the help they seek through C12 Group – a national company headquartered out of Greensboro, North Carolina. C12 was founded 20 years ago as a peer group company that would combine the cutting-edge management strategies and advantages of the peer group with the in-depth curriculum, rigorous methodology and quality control in delivery. The result is the leading, faith-based peer group organization for business owners in the country. Mike Sharrow, a successful corporate consultant, executive manager and associate pastor for Grace Point Church in 34 | COMPANY MAGAZINE


San Antonio, joined C12 for the advisory benefit and became part of a peer group. “It supports faith-based management and the intent to see businesses glorify God,” Sharrow said. And they seem to have the winning formula. Sharrow is now the chairman of a San Antonio based C12 franchise that serves Christian CEOs and business owners in the region. Robert Vogel is the Chairman for the Hill Country Area, and C12 just launched a C12 New Braunfels Group that is Chaired by Bill Sitter. In just a few short years, the I-35 corridor from Dallas to Austin to San Antonio has enrolled upwards of 100 CEOs and business owners. “The Texas C12 member companies are stewarding just over $1.1 billion in local revenues and employ approximately 6,300 people,” Sharrow said. “Nationally, it’s 1,740 companies representing billions of capital, hundreds of thousands of jobs and directly impacting two percent of the U.S. Population.” Based on the size of the member-company, C12 has three tiers of membership. To join C12, a company must have a minimum of $1 million in gross revenue per year and a handful of employees. These members work in peer groups of 12-15 with other CEOs and business owners of about the same level. Likewise, the CEOs of larger companies work in peer groups of 12-15 businesspeople that share similar top line and workforce numbers. That’s because even though the problems and goals may be the same, the approach is going to be different based upon the context each member is operating in. “Much like a Chick-Fil-A, the secret recipe of content delivery, board experience, format and operating philosophy is carefully stewarded nationally with covenants and practices to ensure that a CEO in Philadelphia is getting the same experience as one in Honolulu, Detroit or Austin,” Sharrow explained. The chairman’s job is to oversee these groups and offer on-site coaching. Every chairman is a successful Christian business practitioner who has completed the C12 process. Here’s a look at how a local C12’s activities break out: Executive briefings/business breakfast – member CEOs gather to discuss the mission of C12 and review a relevant issue among peers. This is usually an introductory experience and is designed to inform prospective members in an experiential setting. Monthly board meetings – these are groups of 12-15 that participate in a round table setting. This is the peer group that private business goals and ideas are discussed at. It is referred to as a “Business Sabbath” where the CEO takes a day of rest from the workaday world of his business and engages in goal-setting and problem solving. It’s an opportunity to work ON the business instead of IN the business.

These confidential groups are closed to the public. About half-way through each month, a chairman visits each member-company to see how they’re doing implementing the goals and strategies discussed with the peer group. If they’re having difficulty, he/she is there to offer individual support to move forward. The C12 core curriculum balances its time in four areas: 20 percent prayer/devotion, 25 percent executive education, 30 percent peer forum and 25 percent coaching and accountability. It also sponsors occasional regional mixers and national summits which offer special seminars and workshops on things like, “Pay for Performance: Strategic Planning for Business & Ministry and A Life of Balance.” “Networking happens but it’s not the focus,” Sharrow said. These periodic functions are designed to be more about collaboration. “The average business owner is burned-out, working too much, isolated and doesn’t have a safe place to go to get help,” Sharrow stated. “It’s like being intoxicated with the idea that if I just work a little harder I’ll figure it out. But although more work gets done, the chronic problems persist and there’s always more work.” Sharrow cited Ecclesiastes 10:10 and said it’s about taking the time to sharpen the saw. It’s about innovating towards excellence. “What we talk about is what we actually do. Keeping the end in mind, we press forward knowing the end result is eternal. We take a long-term outlook that doesn’t allow the bottom-line to be the only bottom-line.” So how do they do that? For starters, C12 takes a holistic approach and helps CEOs and businesspeople achieve a healthy balance in their marriage, family life, personal health and well-being. Very often, a CEO sacrifices quality time with their spouse and family and neglects their health to take care of the business. Eventually, any one of these can take its toll. Sharrow said that part of C12’s evaluation of a business’s success is how it creates and implements a transformational effect for employees, vendors, clients and communities. They learn to intentionally catalyze conversations about God in the course of doing business and to inspire each other. C12 also encourages in-house chaplaincies to support staff with whatever challenges they’re facing. The natural out-growth is that typically other Bible-based support groups emerge that employees can participate in during their discretionary time. Ultimately, everyone who comes into contact with the business is a beneficiary of its integrity and faith-centricity.

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WHEN THE IDEA BECOMES

REALITY Starting a business is no joke. From the initial idea through the eventual ribbon cutting more work goes into opening a new business than most people realize. For this issue we take a look behind the scenes to see not only what’s involved, but lessons learned throughout the process Publisher’s Note: I’m the publisher of COMPANY, and I also own GENT, the subject of the article below. This mission of this article was an honest look at opening a small business and to frankly talk about what we did right while opening GENT, and what we did woefully wrong. It’s meant not to be self-promotion, but rather, an inside look into what countless small businesses go through each year as they open, and hopefully a deeper appreciation for the lifeblood of our local economy. – Ben Schooley On September 16th of this year, GENT – Styling for the Discerning Gentleman opened here in Boerne. The brainchild of local businessman Ben Schooley, the business was also his first foray into a full-blown brick and mortar establishment. While the financial forecasts had been poured over, and the product was stored in a spare garage for months leading up to the opening, Schooley discovered very quickly that he, as many do, grossly underestimated the amount of work that goes into that opening day. “I had it all planned out”, Schooley begins. “I had all the product ordered and waiting, the furniture was stacked in my garage, and I was certain that I had thought through every detail. The thing about it, though, is that I had definitely thought through the details, but there were more details than I was aware.”

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Idea


Reality

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CONCEPT And as the old saying goes, ‘The devil is in the details,’ so Schooley and his team learned quickly about the ferocity of work necessary to get something like GENT off the ground. However, to fully understand this project, let’s go back to its beginnings. Creative Director Ben Weber explains, “Ben had just come back to the office from getting his haircut at one of those franchise places by Wal-Mart. He would always complain about the wait times when he returned, but this time he stopped in the office lobby, stuck his head into my office and just said ‘How come somebody can’t open a reasonably priced place where men could get fantastic service and a haircut?! I mean, there’s got to be 15 salons for women in town; how come men just settle for chop shop 10-minute haircuts?’ And with that he walked out. I don’t think he was seriously pitching a business idea, but I couldn’t stop thinking about it. So at 2am that next morning I emailed him the logo for GENT and included one line of text in the email: I made a logo for it. Now you have to do it. And, as they say, the rest is history.” “I thought he was nuts,” Schooley continues. “I didn’t know the first thing about salons, hair care, stylists, or pretty much anything related to this industry. But I did admit it was a damn good logo.” As time moved on, Schooley kept coming back to the logo and the concept of a higher-end men’s hair salon. “Once we got done making fun of the whole concept and about how I didn’t know the first thing about this business, I sort of started kicking the idea around more seriously. And the more I began to peel away the layers, I realized that maybe we had a fantastic idea.”

So sure enough if I didn’t sit in the parking lot at one of those franchise places with a pencil and a piece of paper, and I counted every guy that went in. And the volumes were insane; the one where I sat was averaging over 100 customers a day. Once I had that number, I knew this could be a home run,” Schooley finishes. So with his dreaded excel sheets laid in front of him, the financial platform for the concept was in place. Additionally, the “menu” of services and packages had to be thought through, and again, Schooley was flying blind. “I sat down with a bar napkin and sketched out the floor plan. I had no idea what the smartest way to design the building would be, so I designed it the way I would want it as a customer. We limited the number of stations because I don’t like being packed in like sardines. We put wash basins at each station because I loathe walking across a salon after a shampoo with my hair standing on end. We put TVs for each customer because, hey, these are guys! We made mistakes from a maximizing profitability point of view, but what we did was create a salon that is less about efficiency and production, and more about service, which was the entire point.”

LESSON LEARNED: Ideas can come from anywhere. Be open to them, and don’t discount them.

PURCHASING With the new building under construction by KCN Builders, Schooley was locked in on the concept. There was no turning back now, and the move-in date was beginning to loom. “Once the ink was dry on the construction contract, we had to look at the hundreds of things to be purchased for GENT. This is one thing I think I did well: instead of waiting until just a few weeks before we moved in, I was buying stuff when I found it on sale and just put it in the garage. I spread out the pain of the expenses and allowed me time to find the most cost-effective purchases.” So with a ballooning garage, the team

FOUNDATION With the idea for GENT firmly in his mind, Schooley moved on to the logical next step: financial forecasting. “I hate making spreadsheets. I hate them. I use a lot of them at work, but I’m not a fan of working with them. But there I sat, staring at a blank spreadsheet trying to figure out how to forecast the numbers with this concept to see if it would work. As was the theme with this project, I had no idea what volume a salon might expect.

LESSON LEARNED: Do your homework. Understand your competition, and make sure that the market will sustain your concept. IN HINDSIGHT: “I overestimated our volume to start. That was scary. Instead of telling yourself how much you are CERTAIN you’ll see in a day, cut it in half. If you’re still ok with those numbers, you’ll be fine. And make sure you have a nice cushion to float those first few months. Those are tought times.

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was able to purchase small orders of product, test them, and then secure larger inventories if the product was satisfactory. LESSON LEARNED: Start early, and look for savings. Buying everything at the last moment will cause you to buy without shopping. Take your time and ensure you’re buying the best you can for the least you can. And make sure you have a big garage. IN HINDSIGHT: I bought all the big things, but figured I’d buy all the little stuff like trashcans and power cords when we moved in. That created absolute mayhem. Walk the building while under construction and talk through every detail for purchasing. Then get as much of it as you can so it’s all waiting for you upon move in. You’ll thank me later. MARKETING “I publish this magazine you’re reading, so I work with small business people every day. And of all the businesses we’ve been involved with as they near their grand openings, maybe 5% of them worry about their marketing until after they are opened. This is never ideal. Boerne is a fantastic town that I’ve lived in since the ‘80s, and it’s always been a curious one. People see a business being put together, and they start asking questions. Who is that? What are they opening? When will it open? What will it feature? Most times the answers are rumor based, and can leave customers unclear about what you are really opening. So we started marketing early.” Weber, who was tasked with the marketing, adds, “This was a lot of fun from a campaign point of view. I had free reign to come up with a way to speak to local men and get them excited about the concept. So we selected a handful of well-known men, took some amazing photos, and made them look like models. It created quite the buzz. Sure the subject for the photo got a lot of ribbing from his friends, but it got them talking and got the name out there.” GENT marketing began a full 6 months of ahead of its open date, and Schooley credits this to much of the salon’s early success. “I know that when people are opening a business, they are strapped for cash. I know I was. But to spend that much money on something and then NOT promote it is a mistake I see repeated every month.” LESSON LEARNED: Don’t miss this opportunity with

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your marketing. Start early, and create a solid campaign that engages and explains. Answer the questions the customer is already asking. IN HINDSIGHT: We never put the price on our ads. We just went for a simple “cool” factor, and that worked. However, we later learned that we scared a lot of men by letting them believe our haircuts were so expensive that they would never come here. We’re still fighting this misconception. It tells me our ads looked great, but we didn’t answer the question the customer was asking: How much? But let me say: Guys, it’s only $32 for our signature service! MOVE IN With the keys in hand, Schooley and his team began the process of clearing the garage and moving everything in. A large move is always stressful, but moving in under tight deadlines and doing it while still trying to be at his other job, Schooley was in the trenches. “It was awful,” he begins. “I hated those two weeks. All it felt like I did was go to Home Depot six times a day and just bleed money. So many details I had overlooked, and so many issues I had never considered. Décor, station equipment, desk supplies. It was just dizzying.” Working throughout the day with the publications, and then spending evenings until past midnight was exhausting, and Schooley felt like it didn’t need to be that way. “I’m a bit of a control freak, and the move in was not good for me. The staff was telling me everything they needed, the City was all over me with rules and regulations, and it was just a mess. Many times I had to go outside and just sit in my truck to get away. As we neared the end of a two week move in, things started to slowly take shape, and my emotion slowly turned to excitement. I completely underestimated the move in labor, and I have no one to blame but myself.” LESSON LEARNED: Be ready. It will be hard, but stay focused and establish a point person that delegates well. IN HINDSIGHT: It goes back to purchasing. So many things I could have had ready to go, but I was lazy and didn’t buy early. I paid for that dearly.

OPENING DAY “I thought I was going to have a panic attack,” Schooley begins. “I was exhausted from the move in, we had a busy schedule for the first day, and I thought my chest was going to explode. So much work, so much planning, and here we were, 15 minutes to opening. It was exactly like I felt right before I got married.” And with that, GENT opened to a steady stream of customers on September 16 of this year. While Schooley’s projects for volume were admittedly high, the response overall has been positive. He continues, “The response has been good, and most guys are re-booking an appointment on the way out the door, so that tells me that given enough time, we’ll be quite busy. There are terrifying moments doing this, when you have a slow day and you start thinking ‘What if nobody ever comes back?’ and then you start calculating how much money you’ll lose. Don’t do that. It’s just not healthy, and I’m as guilty as the next person. Focus on your core strengths, and just keep getting better.” With his first brick and mortar establishment under his belt, Schooley is quick to admit mistakes, but also to look positively to the future. Opening a small business in a small community like Boerne is a challenge, and one that few people take the leap of faith to conquer. Will Schooley’s venture be successful? Only time will tell, but the lessons learned will be valuable. “I knew I had to do GENT when I told my wife that if I don’t, I’ll always wonder if it could have been a home run. The jury is out on if it will become that home run, but I’m running a small business in my hometown of Boerne, and I’m having a blast. I learned a lot doing this, and am extremely excited for what the future holds.”

MORE INSIGHT FROM LOCAL SMALL BUSINESS OWNERS: CONTINUED ON THE NEXT PAGE

thecompanymag.com | 41


taurants. She estimates that over the years, she has produced in excess of 850,000 kolaches so, in effect, she has had incredible experience in just this one phase of her business. In Texas, where she moved thirty some odd years ago, Denise cooked for her children and friends while running Ewe and Eye. On her day off, Monday, she would treat herself to go to Central Market or Whole Foods to plan meals for a whole week for her family, knowing she had to feed them right. She cooked some amazing dinners for friends during parties at home – meals to that today our friends have never forgotten.

Veronica Brown & Chef Denise Mazal Business: Little Gretel Restaurant Did you have previous small business experience? We have been in business for many years serving the Boerne Community. For over 20 years, Ewe and Eye Toy Shop and Needlework has been a successful retailer. Opening its doors in 1989, Ewe and Eye has provided a unique shop offering knitting lessons, toys and collectibles. During those years, Denise, the owner, wrote a book and went global where in just one advertisement in Vogue Magazine, she was able to secure $25,000 in orders on pattern kits for ladies. Located on River Road, adjacent to Little Gretel Restaurant, Ewe and Eye was the first retail shop that opened its doors on this street in spite of controversy that the business would not survive outside of the Main Street corridor. What experience did you have that led you to believe your business would be a success? Little Gretel did not just open its doors to the public offering Czech, German and American cuisine. Experience in cooking and serving food took years of planning. Briefly, Chef Denise has been preparing food since she was a little girl, helping her mother back in the Czech Republic. When she left her home country, she worked in the hospitality industry in Paris, at the Hotel Concorde La Fayette and for the leaders of the Oil of Olay Company. In Germany she worked for the Hilton Corporation in Munich. In order to make additional money while working overseas, Denise cooked for private families on a barter exchange which would provide her funds to do her wash. Once she arrived in the United States, Chef Denise worked for years in Boulder, Colorado. There she prepared and served food, including her well-known Kolaches, on a daily basis offering the Colorado community one of its truly, only Czech res42 | COMPANY MAGAZINE

What was the hardest part of opening your business? Of course, leaving 20 years of her life behind her in the knitting and toy shop. Fortunately, her husband stayed on at Ewe and Eye giving her the opportunity to dive into the food industry full time. Once the decision was made, creating a functional kitchen that would perform to her anticipated business. The kitchen at Little Gretel as now her design. It actually prepared food for several restaurants prior to her taking it over 5 years ago. The ebb and flow of the kitchen was crucial and perhaps her hardest struggle to was to re-accommodate it to work for her. Then there was the compliance factor to satisfy City and State officials. Had there not been a prior structure on the premises before taking it over, this would have been a much lesser endeavor. What was the most memorable mistake you made while opening your business? In five short words…”Not having done it sooner!” Once the doors were open and business was in full swing, she often wondered why she had not attempted this sooner! What is some advice you’d give someone thinking of opening their own business? Even though Chef Denise was once advised that you can not do business with your heart, she proved them wrong. “Follow your heart, do what you want to do with all of your passion”. Obviously, willing to work more hours than there are in a day and running your own business – not let anyone else run it for you. Then, in addition, systematically work out the staff working hours leaving ample time for paperwork both of which run hand in hand. What are the future plans for your business? To continue to create venues that are attractive to customers. Little Gretel will continue to create new and fun events and there is always the element of surprise; plan ahead, stay ahead, and move forward. Little Gretel Restaurant 518 River Rd. • Boerne, TX 78006 • 830-331-1368 littlegretel.com

Chaney Rutherford Business: Hearts’ Home Acoustics “Fine Instruments and Instruction” Date Founded: March 2009 Title: General Manager and Guitar Instructor Since opening your studio, how has business been? The business has grown steadily since opening. The sales have increased constantly, as our shop’s become more known in this area, and a great deal of business has also been brought throughout the States and other countries, through our website and our builders’ websites. While our instrument and accessory sales have been good, our greatest growth has actually come through our lessons studio. The lessons taught here have multiplied exponentially. We employ six excellent teachers and find ourselves constantly evaluating the need for other instruments’ instruction to be added to our shop’s offerings to the community. What has proven one of the larger challenges of doing business in Boerne? While many instrumentalists are quite familiar with the typical music store’s brands of guitars, it can sometimes be difficult finding the right target market for the custom guitars in which our business specializes. While we do carry several of the more-known brands, we are most closely-knit to the builders who make only a dozen or so guitars each year. They produce exquisitely-crafted instruments but their names tend to be less-known outside of the “boutique guitar” market. A huge part of our success in this business has been simply in seeking out creative ways of introducing great musicians to some of these spectacular instruments. We’ve engaged the community in “hands on” ways, through hosting concerts and workshops and have employed a more technical side of outreach through email, Facebook, You-


er, being the small town that Boerne still is, word of mouth quickly spread and the rest is history. You know what they say about ‘first impressions’….it is a fact.

Tube, and Twitter. It can be a challenge at times, but it’s been a great journey, helping people become aware of some of the excellence that can be found through some of our worldclass luthiers’ handiwork. How has the community responded to your services? The community has responded beautifully, and we couldn’t ask for greater customers with whom to share this business’ story. We always have a steady stream of new guests coming to visit us and count ourselves blessed to have many “old friends” in the community, even after having been open only five years. We have had the pleasure of meeting many students’ needs for instrument rentals, throughout the school orchestra season; the students and their parents have been very grateful for the proficiency of the rental program and quality of the instruments, and many go on to purchase the instruments they’ve found through our business. The lessons studio portion of our business has grown so quickly that we’ve added another two wonderful teachers, just in the past couple of months. While the community has appreciated the extreme excellence of the instruction they receive here, I believe it’s the great hearts of our teachers and staff that keep them coming back. We have a great family of workers here, and the community knows they will always feel “at home,” as soon as they enter the doors.  Anything you’d do different with hindsight? I’m grateful to say that we have few regrets. We have a great blend of hearts and expertise in our staff right now, and it would have been an even greater start to our business, had we had this same group with us from the very beginning. We’ve learned, however, to be patient for the right people to come along and to trust that God’s timing is always best!  What are your future plans for the store/studio? I’d love for our shop to offer an even greater variety of instruments’ instruction, as we sense the community’s growing needs. We may seek to augment our lesson space in the future. While we host multiple concerts a year featuring special guest performers and provide a beautiful holiday concert hosted by our teaching staff each Christmas, our shop would love to offer more concerts to the community. We’ve thoroughly enjoyed opening our doors this year to more community outreach through “jam sessions,” our ukulele club, and more. We would love finding more such opportunities to serve the area around us. Hearts Home Acoustics 109 Oak Park Dr. • Boerne, TX 78006 830-331-9840

What was the most memorable mistake you made while opening your business? Not being original! Two examples come to mind. Massage establishments give their clients 50 minutes for a ‘one hour massage’, then the other 10 minutes is to get one client out, clean up, change sheets and get the next client in. I too, tried that and found myself exhausted, hurried, late and generally not being ‘myself’. Getting rid of pre-conceived notions about how my industry did things was revolutionary for me. Since then, we always give 60 minutes of massage for a 60 minute massage.

Nancy Frazier Business: Massage Matters Date Opened: January 2010 Did you have previous small business experience? Years ago I worked with Julienne Hadfield, owner of several jewelry stores in New Mexico. Being quite the entrepreneur, she chose to open another location in Cloudcroft. Having worked for Julienne for many years gave me the experience to then open and manage this newest venture. I was involved in all stages of opening a new business…the concept, design, budgets, inventory, you name it. She was a most inspiring business mentor. What experience did you have that led you to believe your business would be a success? Due to some major life changes, I moved to Boerne single, not knowing a soul and due for a career shift. I had wanted to be a Massage Therapist but was uncertain that it was the direction I was to go in. Having a deadline looming, I needed a swift “confirmation”. While having my Bible study, I just plainly and simply asked the Lord for His specific direction if I should indeed, be a massage therapist. I opened the Bible to Isaiah 65:22. The verse, which in part reads, “… and My elect shall long enjoy the work of their hands”. That verse sounded like a “Yes” for a massage career for me! To this day, I keep coming back to this verse knowing that the Lord did bless me and continues to watch over me. What was the hardest part to opening your business? Letting people know I existed. I was new to the Boerne area plus being in the business that I am, requires a lot of trust for people to see me. It was slow going at first, howev-

What is some advice you’d give someone thinking of opening their own business? Time. Listening. Mentors. Time is the hardest for me, even now. You want the customers immediately to come in and bring all their friends. I guess its back to that “word of mouth” mentality. It really does make or break you. There’s nothing like referrals to keep your doors open, just be patient and have the resources to have time as your ally. The next thing I have noticed with my (and other) businesses in town is business owners should be listening intently to customers. Do you have a secret shopper come in? Do you have friends willing to give an incredibly honest evaluation of your business once it is open? Are you truly open to changing the things that aren’t working? Have you asked customers what they would like to experience or things they are sick of? Listen to people. What are the future plans for your business? Specialization in what we do best. Massage. We will not be a place of lunches, hair, nails, makeup, shopping and high tech. Its massage that we love and we are always perfecting our craft. Our goal is to be the place people go…. when their physical therapy visits run out, when they are concerned about preventative healthcare or when they want to just relax in a place that feels like home. Strange as it may seem, we don’t want to grow too big because we always want to know you by your first name, remember the details about you and genuinely try to give you the best care possible. I guess that is our future plan. You…and your family, being with our family. Massage Matters 930 E. Blanco, Building 800 • Boerne, Texas 78006 830-331-8480 • massagemattersbynancy.com thecompanymag.com | 43


BUSINESS PROFILE |

THE P.E.O. GUYS Todd Barnes, owner The PEO Guys

            How did your business get started? Describe your background? I spent several years in the insurance industry before starting in the PEO business with Administaff out of Kingwood, TX.  After a bit of time, I realized there was a need for advocates on the side of the small business owners.  The industry is still fairly young and there are a lot of issues facing the market.  I’ve tried my best to not work as a sales rep, per se, but to be the best industry educated representative for my business owner clientele. What’s the best thing about your job? There are many things I love about being in the industry but my access to the entrepreneurial minds that I deal with daily is what I love the most.  It’s very educational and downright interesting to see firsthand the ideas that have made my clients successful in their fields.  To simplify it, it’s cool to see how other people make their money.  There’s so many ways and it’s so encouraging to know that in these times where entitlements are so prevalent, there are still people that take chances and pour their hearts into growing something that supports them, their families and the community. What are your biggest challenges running a business? Without a doubt, the greatest challenges are cash flow (obviously) and employees.  Successful business owners often see their employees as an extension of their own family and that can be a blessing and a curse.  It’s very difficult to keep the two separate.

Tell us about The PEO Guys:  The core function of The PEO Guys is that of a Professional Employer Organization (PEO) brokerage.  Our goal is to assist our clients in finding the best resource to provide their employee related needs such as payroll, worker’s compensation insurance and risk management, human resource management and employee benefits.  Rather than work for any one particular service provider, we are retained by our clients to find, implement and manage the vendor that best suits their business needs. Tell us about the new name: I believe in keeping things simple.  “The PEO Guys” seemed to me to be a straightforward name that tells exactly 44 | COMPANY MAGAZINE

what we do without a lot of fluff.  One of my longtime clients actually introduced me to one of his new employees by saying “This is Todd, he’s our PEO Guy”.  So I immediately ordered a personalized license plate! Why did you choose to base your business in the Boerne area? I’ve always loved the hill country.  I’ve traveled down to the area for several years from my home in East Texas and when my family and I had the opportunity to make the move down here, we jumped on it.  It’s been a great 5 years in the area so far.  The kids love it and from a business perspective, there are so many small to mid sized businesses based here and that’s the meat of the curve for us.

Future plans for your company?  My goal for the company is to continue on our current growth path.  We average about 20% growth per year, which is very manageable.  Speaking to the question regarding challenges, I want to make sure that each member of my staff is trained to take care of each of our clients in the manner that they deserve.  Growing too fast for us would be an accident waiting to happen. Any other information you want to add? As we move into 2014 and a new age of challenges for small and mid sized business owners, it’s imperative to have a market educated advocate on your side.  We’re committed to the economy and business growth of this community and would love the opportunity to help as many of our neighbor businesses that we can!


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NEW BUSINESS PROFILE |

Mike Stratis, owner, RANDOM

RANDOM

How did your business get started? After visiting and traveling areas such as Cottonwood, Sedona and Jerome Arizona which we enjoyed immensely. We really felt a connection every time we went there and visited local breweries and Vineyards/wineries. We figured this might be our new destination for families and friends to enjoy and share with. We came upon these 7 acres that a friend had introduced to us and had seen a huge potential with its proximity to Boerne Lake and the need for a place for families to go to and truly be able to relax and enjoy an entire day without having to fight traffic and big crowds. Describe your background? I have over 27 years in the construction industry. Mostly Healthcare and industrial. I enjoy what I do and the challenges it brings every day but most of all the satisfaction knowing I’m helping people.   48 | COMPANY MAGAZINE

Tell us about the concept behind Random? Random is going to be a place for everyone to come and enjoy. We will have a wine house with a café ,an outdoor beer garden with 46 taps now, but a goal of 99 barrels  (taps) of beer on the wall , a humidor to store and buy cigars, a play area for kids with a huge bounce obstacle course, an R/C track (remote control cars) for all ages, a volley ball court and approximately 10-15 cabins to rent for short stays. Random is exactly that… RANDOM. We are also Dog friendly, we welcome Bike and car clubs,and want to give back to our community. That is our plan but it can change at any time, we are listening to the people who come and visit and their thoughts and concepts too. Random will always be a work in progress kind of place, constantly changing.   How did you personally get started in the restaurant/bar industry? This is something I have wanted to do as a retirement. Though I have very little experience in the industry except as a part time job bartending. I really enjoyed the business   What’s the best thing you like about your job? That’s a tough question. The long hours of standing on my feet, emptying trash, restocking beer and ice? Seriously, I would say meeting new people and making new friends, seeing people come together and knowing that this is a destination for everyone, weddings to anniversaries to family reunions and birthdays !   What are your biggest challenges running a business/restaurant? I will say the biggest challenge we have is getting our name out there and staying on top of my construction company at the same time. These are two totally different animals in business and the challenge of a restaurant/bar can be wearing, but when you have a full house/back yard, it makes it seem worth the effort.   What advice would you give to someone wanted to start their own restaurant? Have passion and commitment, stay focused on the positive things going on. Make a business plan and keep to a budget.


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thecompanymag.com | 49


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COMPANY magazine is published by Schooley Media Ventures in Boerne, TX. COMPANY Magazine and Schooley Media Ventures are not responsible for any inaccuracies, erroneous information, or typographical errors contained in this publication submitted by advertisers. Opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect the opinions of COMPANY and/or Schooley Media Ventures. Copyright 2013 Schooley Media Ventures, 930 E. Blanco, Boerne, TX 78006


COMPANY December13/January14