From restaurants and breweries to companies focused on fashion and events, these Bauer alumni-owned businesses represent the heartbeat of the economy — the small business.
Nov. 26 is “Small Business Saturday,” an American shopping holiday that celebrates small businesses and encourages consumers to shop local. We’ve compiled a list below of just a few Bauer alumni-owned small businesses.
Co-founder: Ryan Soroka (MBA ’11, MS ’11)
Taking its name from a well-known description of Houston’s Astrodome, 8th Wonder Brewery sells craft beer with a local point of view. With Bauer alumnus Ryan Soroka serving as one of the co-founders, 8th Wonder has grown over the last five years from a concept to a profitable business focused on customer service and quality.
Co-founders: Brandon Moss (MBA ’07) and Jeff Handojo (MBA ’12)
What started as a hobby between friends turned into a business, giving 11 Below Brewing its start. The brewery, which recently celebrated its first anniversary, holds brewery tours, community events and happy hours.
Founder: Brooks Bassler (BBA ‘02)
BB’s Café owner Brooks Bassler combines New Orleans and Texas style cooking for what he calls “Tex-Orleans” style food. The menu was inspired by his grandmother’s family recipes, and the restaurant that launched in 2007 with its first locations in Montrose and Westheimer has recently expanded to Katy, Upper Kirby, The Heights and Pearland.
Founder: Rashmi Bhat (BBA ‘14)
Combining her love of European food with a Texan flair, Rashmi Bhat is pursuing her dream with “Bonjour Texas!,” a restaurant located in New Braunfels that combines European cuisine with Texas favorites.
Founder: Edose Ohen (MBA ‘13)
“Life is better with a doughnut” —that’s the simple idea that came to alumnus Edose Ohen to build one of the city’s premier gourmet doughnut shops. Enter Glazed, which now has two locations serving handmade doughnuts, including #TheMacon (which includes maple and bacon), along with coffee and other treats.
Founder: Paulina Tobon (BBA ’13)
Alumna Paulina Tobon is combining fashion trends with social entrepreneurship through Luca Love Bracelets, a company that sells handcrafted jewelry made by women in Colombia, who would otherwise struggle to find employment to support their families. Alongside her mother, Tobon runs the business, which includes a charity arm to support initiatives focused on education.
Founder: Derek Shaw (BBA ’03, MBA ’11)
Serving up specialty coffee and espresso (including its Cougar Blend) to the University of Houston community, The Nook Café opened in 2014 and provides a spot on campus for studying and relaxing with friends.
Founder: Fola Lawson (BBA ’08, MS ACCY ’09)
With the goal of dressing every man in style and eloquence, Southern Gents is an online store where you can buy anything from pocket squares to glasses, including UH items within a collegiate collection. The website also includes a blog that provides style tips and fashion trends.
Co-founders: Kurt Hall (MBA ’11), Lauren Griffin (MBA ’11) and Andrew DeBarbieris (MBA ’11)
These three Bauer MBA alumni launched Spark Lighting, Houston’s premier LED lighting provider that serves both commercial and industries properties. The company specializes in designing, installing and maintaining LED lighting for its clients in the Houston, Dallas, Austin and San Antonio areas.