Webinar aims to empower current, future female business owners … and give away $7.5K – Port Arthur News – The Port Arthur News

PORT NECHES — Allison Bradley said COVID impacted her family run business — Bradley’s Collision Center — through employee safety and customer service, altering the way to best serve the community.

“We had to set up online estimating so customers didn’t have to come in the shop if they didn’t want to for an estimate on their vehicles,” Bradley said, adding the solution came via teamwork through vendor Carwise.

Bradley said customers could send photos of their vehicle concerns to Bradley’s Collision Center, which then worked with Carwise’s online mobile estimating software to create estimates that could be texted or emailed to customers.

“Most loved it, but some of our older customers still came in to get an estimate face-to-face,” Bradley said.

The collision center also adapted to COVID restrictions by taking employee temperatures daily. Anyone with a high temperature was required to present a negative COVID test in order to come back.

Precautions and innovations are nothing new for Allison Bradley, part of the third generation of ownership at the shop, which opened almost 60 years ago in Port Neches.

“I was up here all the time as a kid, but dad always said there was no way I was going to be part of this business,” Bradley jokes. “I pressed on and here I am. We love it and try to do the best we can to make everyone happy. We really just try to make the customers our family.”

Bradley’s Collision Center has been family run since 1962. (bradleyscollisioncenter.com)

Women helping women

Stories of business acumen and successful entrepreneurship are leading the Governor’s Commission for Women to advance economic opportunities for Texas women.

Texas needs more successful women entrepreneurs to help better pave the way for new female business leaders, the Commission contends.

Port Arthur LNG’s parent company — Sempra Energy — is the title sponsor this year of the Governor’s Commission for Women’s Women-Owned Business Webinar Series.

Local businesses are asked and invited to participate Sept. 29.

In addition to the informational webinars, the Beacon State Fund is helping host a pitch competition with awardees selected for each region.

“Texas women small business owners are invited to submit an application to the pitch competition explaining how their business created solutions, employed tactics and made adjustments to pivot in the uncertain times of the pandemic,” a Beacon State Fund release said.

The prize is $7,500.

More information about the series and competition are available at gov.texas.gov/organization/women/webinar-series.

The webinar series, organizers stress, is an opportunity to listen and learn from subject-matter experts and gain actionable advice about starting, growing and sustaining a business in Texas.

Click here for more registration information.

For more information on the contest, click here.

Holli Vidrine, owner of Cropo’s Barbershop, cuts Chance LeBlanc’s hair in March 2020 shortly after taking over the business. (Candace Hemelt/The News)

Opportunity

Thankfully, many of today’s female business owners don’t feel the same limitations experienced by a generation before them.

Holli Vidrine took over as owner of Nederland business landmark Cropo’s Barbershop in early 2020.

She feels like she has high standards to meet because the shop has operated for decades. Being a female-owned business in what some might consider a male-owned industry has not been a hurdle.

“There are a lot more women in the industry, and the men are hard to come by these days,” Vidrine said. “It’s weird how it has all changed. I went to a barbering class a few weeks ago and it was all females and there were two males. I was thinking in that class, ‘dang, this is crazy.’ Women are here, and I don’t think we’re going anywhere.”

Vidrine said each year of her childhood she got to see women doing things they had never done before, including starting businesses, owning businesses and taking over businesses.

“I remember watching a show with my parents that was big news that a woman became a CEO of a major corporation,” Vidrine said. “It never crossed my mind that I couldn’t do that.”

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