Small Business/Big Change: Supporting Artrepreneurs at PRH

Photo by Alex Barber

Photo by Alex Barber

In September 2012, after 15 years with a fortune 500 Company, I decided to retire to bake full time. I had been doing both jobs for 8 years, but the demands of my baking business forced me to choose which job I wanted to give 100% of my attention to. I chose baking. The company was also doing layoffs in another department, and all of the employees had been placed in other positions except for one. Employees had until the end of the week to find a position or be laid off, so I decided to give up my job so that someone else wouldn't lose theirs.  

Two years ago, Project Row Houses gave me an opportunity to have my first ever storefront. It was during Round 43: Small Business/Big Change that I, with the help of artist Anthony Suber, turned the row house into a modern-day general store called Crumbville, Texas. I didn't really know what to expect, but over the course of the Round, Crumbville became a sort of community center. We hosted artists, musicians, and even authors from the community. The only problem was that the closing came too soon!  

Fortunately, as the Round came to an end, a spot opened up in PRH's small business incubator, and they offered me a space in the Historic Eldorado Building. It's been a year since we moved in, and all I can say is that it's been incredible. From people in the community coming through and now having Emancipation Park re-opened, the experience has been amazing!  

Cupcakes and cookies will sell anywhere, even if it's an online store, but having a space here – in this building and in this community – is special. I don't always see enough faces like mine in the businesses that open around here. Emancipation Avenue used to be filled with innovative black business owners and thanks to the work of Project Row Houses and the Emancipation Economic Development Council, it is starting to again, and I'm hopeful that it will only increase from here.  

PRH provides much needed support to this historic community by empowering individuals like myself and enabling us to fulfill our dreams and aspirations.  

I hope that you'll join me in supporting PRH's small business incubation program and their many other community enrichment initiatives by clicking here to become a member today. Your membership will provide an invaluable service to creative entrepreneurs like me, and ensure that Houston remains at the forefront of innovative artist communities.   

Thank you,  

Ella Russell