B2B | Small Business

Small businesses carving niches in burgeoning Pearland

Author: Jocelyn Kerr
Publish Date: 
"We get all kinds of people coming in," Perrine said. "Engineers, schoolteachers, stay-at-home moms and dads, students, people of all economic groups …. I've seen the growth (in Pearland) everyone is talking about, even having lived here only a few years."

Pearland's population is more than 100,000, up from 91,000 when the coffee business opened. In 2000, the population was 37,000.

Small businesses are popping up in small shops throughout the city, often catering to urban trends s and showing how support is growing in the once-rural community for specific products and services. Some of the enterprises are small gyms or health-product stores, others specialize in food or drink items such as meat, smoothies and baked goods.

"Entrepreneurship is on the rise here," said Cheryl Kipp, vice president of communications for the Pearland Chamber of Commerce. "We're seeing a lot of local shops that still give us a small-town feel even though there's so much expansion."

The businesses know they must keep up with the times.

"With the exponential growth, our customers have changed," said Adrian Hernandez, co-owner of The Drink Stationwww.thedrinkstation.com, a coffee, tea and smoothie shop at 8209 Broadway that opened in March 2008.

"People are more eager to experiment with things like loose leaf teas, soy milk and almond milk now," Hernandez said.

"When we started, people wanted sugar substitutes, but now they're asking for natural sweeteners like organic cane sugar, honey and blue agave syrup."

The median age in Pearland is 34.4, two years younger than the national average, according to the PEDC's 2013 Pearland Demographic Overview.

"Pearland is a more diverse city now," Hernandez said.

"Our customers were mostly kids and their parents before, but now we're hosting more community events like Neighborhood Watch meetings and we have a church that meets here before we open on Sunday. There aren't a lot of places where people can meet like that."

The business plans to remodel to better accommodate such meetings.

The remodel will take place at night while the store is closed so it won't disrupt business and the process is expected to take until the end of the year. The Drink Station also is opening a second location in League City this fall.

Pearland Coffee Roasters' Perrine remembers what it was like getting the business started.

"My business partner and I were the only people running the business the first year," he said. "We had no staff; so we were there all day, every day."

Hammond and Perrine roast their coffee beans in-store and sell it by the bag alongside their espresso drinks.

They also provide coffee to local stores and restaurants including Killen's Steakhouse and The Food Corner Mart in Friendswood.

The heart of the business is still the coffee shop.

"We chose this location because it's not owned by a mega corporation," Perrine said.

"It's owned by the old tenants who used it as a cake shop for many years."

"The past year has been really good," he said "We've added a cold-brew system and white tea we get straight from the farmer. That's a great thing to come from this growth - we can do more business directly with farmers to make sure they're getting what they need."

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