Amarillo area business news and developments in brief
ActionCOACH from West Texas to celebrate client success at the BizX Awards
Rory Sheppard and his team at ActionCOACH in West Texas announced their customer appreciation at the upcoming BizX Awards. The conference will last for three days, and will culminate in a ceremony honoring small businesses from across North America and honoring the “best of the best” in the small to medium business sector.
“We’ve been blessed to work with some phenomenal clients and business owners. We’ve watched them grow and significantly increase their impact in our community in just two short years,” said Rory Sheppard, owner of ActionCOACH in West Texas.
Finalists include Little Bee’s Playhouse, which won Best Kid-Friendly Company and Best Neighborhood Company; Midwest Compressor Systems and its CEO David Abshire honored in three categories, including Manufacturer/Wholesaler/Distributor, Public Company and CEO of the Year; and Amarillo Angels, as Best Nonprofit. Other honorees include Crackin’ Crab Seafood Boil, Drunken Oyster Cajun Kitchen for Best Full Service Restaurant, Best Thrift Store in America and English Rose Boutique for Best Retailer. Leif Kertis is a finalist in the Young Entrepreneur of the Year category.
Little Bee’s Playhouse owner Kathy Lopez said, “It’s so exciting to be a part of such a great event and to be recognized in two categories, just for doing what we love.”
The 2023 BizX Conference and Awards Gala will be held April 3-6 at the Gaylord Opryland Resort in Nashville. For more information about the event, visit https://bizxamerica.com/.
Adele family acquires Hills Sports Shop
In 1964, Gene Hill opened a lawnmower and bicycle shop on 6th Street, which developed into the largest and most trusted bicycle shop in Amarillo, and one of the most recognized bicycle stores in Texas.
For nearly 60 years, Hills Sport has provided the Panhandle with bikes, outdoor recreational equipment, and amazing customer service.
The Hill family has announced that they will pass the torch on to the Fairly family, who will carry on the legacy of the Hills Sport Shop.
The Hills Sport Shop will be temporarily closed Friday, March 24th and will reopen Saturday, May 20th, with a new staff, well known in the Amarillo bike community, and with a bike shop heavily stocked with quality bikes, accessories, equipment, and e-bikes.
“The Fairly family were the natural fit to look after the Hills for the next 25 years,” said the current chairman, Kirk Hill.
“Gene and Lavoida were our next-door neighbors, and we both grew up going to Hills Sports Shop, so it was an easy decision when Kirk called,” said Christian Fairlie. “Hills is an old Amarillo company, and we are honored to bring this beloved bike shop back to life.”
Hills will celebrate its grand reopening on Saturday, April 29, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. The public are welcome to celebrate the reopening of the Hills and to experience the largest selection of bikes and accessories in the Panhandle.
Rojo was named Professional Driver of the Year
In essence, Rose Rojo leads through service—whether by mentoring new truck drivers, helping needy children in Honduras on annual trips, or reaching out to young people in her community.
“I love helping people,” said Rogo, who was recently named the Truckload Carriers Association’s Professional Driver of the Year. “My goal is to help those less fortunate than me.”
Since 2016, Rojo has logged more than 1.5 million miles for John Christner Trucking in Sapulpa, Oklahoma. She said she enjoys truck driving because it takes her to different parts of the country.
The Amarillo resident has earned the respect of her colleagues for her integrity, level of excellence, and constant giving back.
“Rose has gone above and beyond the call of duty here at JCT – she is an amazing driver guide here,” says JCT’s Laura Watkins. “She is always safe and courteous to all staff and customers, and goes the extra mile to keep them happy.”
Colleagues say Rogo really loves truck driving, but her real passion is mentoring and helping abused and neglected children and helping foster parents understand and deal with children who have been in an abusive home. A survivor of childhood abuse, Rojo reaches out to struggling children to offer hope and encouragement.
“I’m so proud of what I’ve overcome,” says the mother-of-two and grandmother-of-two. She visits Honduras annually to serve underprivileged children and also supports a young boy there, providing resources for his school and clothing.
“We take a lot for granted,” she says. “I want to help these kids.”
Both at work and in her spare time, Watkins notes of Rougeau, “She always gives her best!”
The Buckner nonprofit reports a 93.9% success rate for its single parent program
The nonprofit Buckner Children and Family Services reports a 93.9% success rate for its single-parent family program, Buckner Family Pathways. The program, which served 166 Texas families in 2022, is designed to help single parents earn a higher education degree, take better care of their children, and become self-sufficient.
The 2022 Buckner Family Pathways success rate has been measured by program completion. Graduation from the program occurs when participants from a parent meet one of the following qualifications: graduate with a degree or certificate, transfer to a higher degree program, and/or achieve sustainable employment and financial self-sufficiency. In 2022, Buckner Family Pathways will serve 20 in Amarillo and 166 families across Texas. Of those, two graduated from the program this year in Amarillo, and 31 graduated at the Texas state level. Family Pathways participants are usually enrolled in the program between ages two and four.
Last year participants also reported a 94% satisfaction rate with the program meeting the program’s self-specified quality standards for family strengthening and support.
“It’s not just about finishing the program, it’s about accomplishing something they didn’t think was possible,” said Marissa Phillips, Senior Principal of Buckner Family Pathways. “The women I’ve spoken to have gone on to succeed. Their success looks different. For some, it’s the salary earned or the dollar amount in savings, for others it’s the degree or career, and for others it’s the tangibles like buying a car or a house.”
During their time at Buckner Family Pathways, they are offered affordable housing, child care, parenting skills, money management classes, counseling, family coaching, counseling, and conflict resolution tools. These resources help protect families from domestic violence, financial uncertainty, homelessness, and despair.
According to the Pew Research Center, the United States has the world’s highest rate of children living in single-parent families at 23%. In Texas, 42% of single-mother families live in poverty. Family Pathways focuses on the family, rather than just the parents, bringing about a generational change.