Women owning businesses is Girl Power

Published 6:27 pm Friday, October 7, 2016

GROVES — Cindy Kreutzer, owner of Oliver Maxwell’s Boutique in Groves, worked for more than 20 years as a paramedic in Beaumont before she retired.

She soon discovered she had enough sitting at home.

“I’m not a sit around person,” she said. “Me and Herb (her husband) found a shop at Maison d’ Amis (on Lincoln Avenue) and Kizmet (Art Studio) was born.”

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Kreutzer is one of several women who own a business in the area and that number is growing.

GoodCall DataCenter wrote in a press release, for instance, that the Beaumont-Port Arthur area was the seventh-best place for women entrepreneurs in 2016.

“In our 2015 rankings, we wrote that ‘it’s never been a better time to be a woman entrepreneur.’ The state of women’s entrepreneurship in 2016? Even more positive,” it read. “According to the 2016 State of Women-Owned Business report, commissioned by American Express OPEN, there are more than 11.3 million women-owned businesses today — and they’re continuing to grow.”

In their methodology, to determine the best places for women entrepreneurs in 2016, GoodCall evaluated 381 metropolitan statistical areas on the following four metrics and then assigned them an over GoodCall Score:

In the U.S. today, there are 11.3 million women-owned businesses. They employ nearly nine million people and they generate more than $1.6 trillion in revenue.


  • 45 percent of growth in the number of women-owned businesses since 2007 (five times faster than the national average)
  • 18 percent is growth in employment at women-owned business (compared to a one percent decrease among all businesses)
  • 35 percent of growth in revenue at women-owned business (compared to 27 percent among all businesses)

The data also discovered the more small businesses in an area, the better networking opportunities that are available to women. This represents the number of small business owners in each area per capita.

Areas with more women-owned businesses can provide greater support for women entrepreneurs. This represents the density of women-owned businesses in each area.

High education rates for women signify that a community values the success of women in relative proportion to that of men. This represents the difference between male and female educational attainment in each are (men and women 25 and up who have a bachelor’s degree or higher).

The overall economic health of an area can greatly impact how a business performs. This metric is a measure of GDP and unemployment rates in each area, which provide an idea of how a city can support local business growth.

In addition to Kizmet, the Kreutzers formally owned Groves Café and Coffee Bar before selling it. Kizmet was located on Monroe Boulevard before moving.

“We’ve gone back full circle,” she said. “We’re back on Lincoln Avenue,” she said.

Oliver Maxwell is a women’s boutique that also carries jewelry, handbags and accessories, found from around the world.

“We try to be different and unique. We have family and friends in England and Australia they tell us about and we get stuff from there. We just happen upon something when we’re looking,” she said.

Kreutzer is of the opinion that more women can open their own businesses, even stay at home moms with their home businesses.

“Women need to say, ‘I can do this.’ The only failure is not trying. It doesn’t mean your idea won’t work at some other time. I think women are more confident in today’s business field,” she said.

The Rustic Door, a crafts and gifts store on Boston Avenue in Nederland, has been in business since 2009.

Manager Letha Ruiz said she agrees 100 percent that it’s never been a better time to be a woman entrepreneur.

She said roles have changed and there’s not as many stay at home moms as before. Ruiz also feels there is empowerment for women.

“I think being in the south is a big part of that. We cultivate strong women. We overcome a lot of things like hurricanes,” she said.

Christie Holyfield took over the store in 2009 and Patsy Tackett bought it in 2014. The store has 100 vendors inside.

“We’re all for helping small businesses. You throw it against the wall and see if it sticks. And we don’t have the overhead for someone buying their own store. Vendors can try before they bite the bullet (and go out on their own),” she said.

Ruiz said they have enjoyed cultivating the craft mall concept. She added that there’s an amazing support community in Nederland through the public, the Nederland Chamber of Commerce and the Nederland Economic Development Corporation.

Ruiz foresees more women opening their own businesses in the future. For instance, 90 percent of the businesses are owned by women on Boston Avenue. Likewise, many businesses on Lincoln Avenue are owned by women.

She believes it takes “a lot of backbone” for women to open their own businesses.

“It’s encouraging to see. I’m not a feminist per se, but a growing number of single moms are starting at-home businesses and are venturing out to own their own business,” she said.

Some at The Rustic Door have left and started their own full-fledge businesses which is gratifying to Ruiz.

Television celebrity Judge Greg Mathis said find something you love to do, that you would do for free, and make money at it instead.

“Do what you love,” she said.

Ruiz admitted it can be scary venturing out and opening your own business, but everyday can be scary with things like the economy and this being an election year.

“Pull yourself up by your own bootstraps. John Wayne said even if you’re being fearful, it’s about saddling up anyway,” Ruiz said.

David Ball: 409-721-2427