Lubbock

Denton, Jupiter House, Denton Square, DISD

Shay and Rosie Hlavaty

Shay Hlavaty sits outside Jupiter House writing a birthday card for her friend Maddie who rescued her for the second time after Shay’s car broke down last night at 10. Her car also broke down a few weeks ago because of a bad alternator. It’s taking a while to finish the card, but Shay says Maddie deserves a lengthy note and the extra time.

“I’m supposed to be subbing but I can’t so I’m just hanging out,” Shay says.

Shay is unsure if she’ll have to pay for the repairs but hopes it will be covered for faulty parts. If there is more damage than another faulty alternator, she’s worried she can’t afford the costs between her paychecks from regular substitute teaching for Denton ISD and working at the Abby Inn.

However, Shay was just hired to teach English and Language Arts to Gainesville sixth graders this fall and will commute from Denton. She now has an alternative teaching certificate.

Shay, a Lubbock native, likes her hometown and the country life as the daughter of a cotton farmer.

“The positive thing about living in Lubbock is that when you go and visit anywhere else it’s beautiful,” Shay laughs, “The tress and rivers and wildflowers here are amazing to me every day.”

Shay’s love of nature continues with her love of hiking and biking on local trails.

Shay graduated from Texas Tech with a degree in environmental conservation before she moved to Arkansas for environmental education camp. From there, she went to Kansas for graduate school with her boyfriend “for like two months and realized it was not what [she] wanted to do with [her] life.”

She and moved to Denton with her “old lady” Blue Heeler/Catahoula mix, Rosie. When they’re home, Shay likes to craft, “making pillows and whatnot” with supplies from Scrap as Rosie lounges around; but the two love to the attention they get doing their favorite things- hanging on the courthouse lawn and going to Oak Street Drafthouse. They’re working on making friends here, and Shay thinks working at the Abby has helped them make new pals.

“I’ve met random people along the way because I’m pretty outgoing and having nothing to lose,” Shay says, “So not a lot but I’m working on it.”

Shay will stay on the square today, finishing the first Game of Thrones novels before she is supposed to have dinner with a friend, and grab a beer Maddie before giving her the card she just finished.

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Dry Heeves

Dry Heeves, a Lubbock band that labels themselves “dirt surf rock” plays at City Tavern in downtown Dallas. Dry Heeves got a promotion group in Los Angeles to send their CDs across the country to college radio stations. Ryan Ulm, the bassist, hopes that something picks up soon.

Dry Heeves were lucky to play at City Tavern about three months ago after Arpi visited with his parents and networked with one of the bartenders. The performance was spectacular and they were invited back on their way to Mardi Gras to play. Mardi Gras will be the furthest they’ve had to travel for a show.

“I’d say getting out of Lubbock is the hardest thing we struggle with as a band,” Ryan slurs. “It’s a bubble in the middle of nowhere where it’s five hours to any of the nearest big cities”

Arpi Grann from Arlington plays guitar. He’s the only one band member that’s not an original and has been with the band for nearly three years. The other band members are from Post, Texas and met Arpi after moving the band to nearby Lubbock.

It’s hard for struggling bands to travel and go on the road to play big shows. The biggest show they’ve have played is Choppa Fest in Lubbock. It is not actually a festival but a tribute for a friend of the band who passed away. Local artists got together and had a benefit concert where nearly 400 people attended.

“It was more of a community thing,” Arpi said as Ryan nods his head more in reverence than from the alcohol swimming in his stomach to calm his nerves.

Arpi work at Texas Tech painting and doing simple maintenance but Ryan does not have a job right now. Ryan tried music classes at Tech but it never really took. Singer and guitarist Dylan Davis and drummer Anthony Merrell also have jobs to play the bills- but the band sustains itself for the road and promotion.

Arpi and Ryan hope they can start playing more shows. It’s the most fun they could ever have and want to be able to travel, partying with people from all over the world, while they do it. Getting people to go out and have fun with them is a struggle worth fighting for a band that had a blast choosing their name by putting together gross words on a white board. When they’re not performing, Dry Heeves find pleasure by going hard and practicing.

“I guess our communicating with other people and between ourselves and get on the same page is the hardest thing we’ve had to overcome,” Arpi says as the two walk away to begin their show.

The band has been called an angry Beach Boys and have been together almost six years.

Which Wich, CSR, Sandwich, Donations, Philanthropy, Christian, Dallas, Downtown Dallas, Customer Service

Rachel Ford

Rachel Ford, wearing her branded Which Wich jacket, walks down Main Street across from headquarters looking for a few hungry folk to take some PB&J sandwiches off her hands.

Rachel, who has worked as the receptionist for Which Wich for the past six months, loves giving out sandwiches at the end of every day.

“It’s kind of fun to give sandwiches away every day. Some people are like uhhh whatever, but others are like yeah I’ll take that sandwich,” she says with a smile as she looks over at Johnathan Clark who decided to eat his free dinner after all.

Rachel gives out sandwiches all the time- whether it’s donated peanut butter and jelly or leftover sandwiches from the day.

Every time someone buys a sandwich, Which Wich donates a sandwich. Additionally, a certain amount of profit goes to global outreach.

“We get to go to children’s organizations after school where the kids need a snack, we go to the vet hospital we go to different places and we encourage each store to find their community someone they can do this for.

Rachel, originally from upstate New York, has lived in Dallas for the last 20 years after a divorce. Most of her family lived down here so she came with her two children who are both grown and married, each with one child so far.

“Most people don’t want to hear it but I’m a Christian and I used to make fun of Christians,” Rachel said. “One day the Lord tapped me on my shoulder and grabbed my attention. That’s by far the best thing that’s happened to me.”

Rachel, who used to make nearly $4,000 a day, had her ego popped when her income dropped to $0 with the 9-11 incident and reality hit her. It is the hardest thing she has had to overcome.

“It’s what everyone has to overcome and most people don’t even realize they have it. That’s the crazy thing about it,” she says with a laugh.

Rachel received her real estate license from Lubbock Christian College while still in high school in Lubbock. She had wanted to jump from high school to being a professional but walked across the graduation stage in high school four months pregnant.

“I graduated high school and went right in to mommy,” Rachel said with a look of pride.

Rachel said she hated her time at Lubbock Christian College, now Lubbock Christian University, “I’m not Church of Christ. It’s too legalistic,” she said with a whistle. “If the lord god was that in a box, that would be crazy.”

Before working at Which Wich, Rachel worked at a corporate wellness company where she had a lot of fun and loved seeing the company grow. She ultimately decided to leave when she watched the company grow away from its mission for customer service.

Now, she loves that she’s at a company where she gets to not only provide great customer service but give to those in need.

Marketing, Chief Marketing Officer, Dallas, Downtown Dallas, Rancher, Entrepreneur, City Tavern

Nathan Bellah

A man with shaggy hair, a beard and nice clothes sits alone at a table in City Tavern drinking his first cocktail of the night listening to the live music, The Southland Swing Band. But mostly, he’s listening to the conversations around him, wondering who he’ll meet tonight.

Nathan Bellah lives across the street in Third Rail Lofts. He’s an experienced downtown resident and previously lived in the Davis Building and the Mosaic. Buildings within walking distance of the bar.

A while back, he bought a house in East Dallas for a little while and just sold it. “It was just a hell of a deal man, so I just had to buy,” Nathan says.

Overnight, the housing market in East Dallas boomed, and he knew it was time to sell. The day after he put it on the market, it sold. “I was like, oh shit,” he said. “I don’t have anywhere to go. So I was like, I guess I’ll move back downtown.”

He’s lived downtown for about six months and considers City Tavern his Cheers. He’s met people from all over the country and the world, people in the city for a while on vacation and business trips and people on a two-hour layover who just needed a drink, people who work as janitors and starving artists to elite businessmen and popular musicians. To Nathan, City Tavern is the best place he can meet interesting people and that’s what he’s here to do.

Two young men, barely old enough to drink, walk away from the bar, each holding a beer they look too eager to drink. The band wraps up a song, and Nathan hears the two men mention digital marketing, so he takes the opportunity to strike.

Nathan is a jack of all trades, a human Swiss Army knife. Nathan has two companies. One company is a ranch here in Texas that raises and trains rodeo bulls.

After the initial icebreakers, they start to talk about themselves. The boys mention that they’re from the area and have had hard times finding jobs. They’re full of the dreams of inexperienced entrepreneurs.

“I grew up in Lubbock and I’ve tried to fight those roots for a very long time,” Nathan says. “But after a while, you realize that living in Texas you have to give in to working in either oil or agriculture.” It stemmed from there. We’re blessed. He and his friend, two young guys just like them, were doing well. “I asked my buddy, what do we do with some of this extra money we have. He said to me, ‘You know what? Let’s buy a bull.’”

They all laugh.

“You know, you’re dealing with the salt of the earth,” Nathan said. “The people, in the business have been very helpful, even though you’re competing against them.”

Nathan says that in the business, everybody knows everybody and it’s like a family.

“My buddy and I stick out like sore thumbs,” he says. “You know, he’s covered in tattoos and I wear like New Balances and have some tats too and when we show up, everyone is like ‘oh shit here they come,’ just excited for us to be there. It’s cool.”

Nathan considers himself an entrepreneur from the start. “I guess I’ve always had it in me,” he says. “Just like I’m sure you do too.”

The conversation shifts and the boys talk about themselves some more. They had an idea for a company they wanted to start when they were in school. They weren’t doing too well in their classes, and uninterested in continuing their education, jumped at some advice to pursue their dreams. The dreams failed, and they started to look for other jobs with little success.

Nathan says that like them, he sucked at college, but finished. He grew up in Lubbock and decided to go to Texas Tech for a year, but ended up transferring to the University of North Texas. After bouncing around a few majors, the Entrepreneur decided to double major in rhetorical studies and Spanish, instead of something like business administration.

“I ended up really liking the communications department and the next thing you know I am back in Spanish which I hadn’t taken since junior high, why not get a degree in it?”

Nathan says the coolest thing that probably ever happened was in his first three jobs out of college working for the man, he got laid off. Each one, laid off. One after another. He ended up going to work for The Bear Stearns Companies, Inc. Nathan finally landed a job where he wasn’t laid off, but quit instead.

“I met a man who is now 63 working in digital technology with a resume you wouldn’t believe,” he says. “He has been my mentor to this day.”

The man had a small private company in 2005 and asked Nathan to jump on board randomly, so he left Bear Stearns.

“I left this job at corporate America at a company with roots so thick you wouldn’t think anyone could tear the tree down,” Nathan says.

It was the biggest gamble of his life and they still work together to this day. They have made good money together and helped a lot of companies out. It was a good role of the dice.

“I mean this guy headed up the YTK project for the US postal service so his level of knowledge in digital is extensive plus he’s a tinkerer, he’s a genius, let’s say that, he’s a genius,” Nathan says. “He’s got some strategies that he developed that are on the cutting edge of digital marketing. God, that’s so boring to even say, but yeah, we’re going to use him for some things.”

They all have another sip of their drinks and look at the stage as the band begins to play an old Duke Ellington dance hit, “It Don’t Mean A Thing.”

“I always say dance with the person that brought you and he’s just been a good person,” Nathan says, emphasized by a slight Texas drawl.

Nathan jumped ship at the right time since Bear Stearns shut down in the 2008 financial crisis and was sold to JPMorgan Chase.

“I kind of wish I would have been laid off. I would have had a severance package,” he tells the boys. One almost spits out their beer as they snort with laughter.

“You don’t have to be worried about what’s happening now,” Nathan says. You need to be worried about what’s going to happen.”

“How do we do that?” one asks Nathan as the other looks panicky.

“You go and learn, you know, you always learn,” Nathan says. Not the answer they were expecting. “You try to better yourself.”

“We don’t have any money,” they say to Nathan.

“If you can’t gamble on yourself, who can you gamble on? If you can’t gamble on what you love, what can you gamble on?” Nathan says.

Nathan goes on to discuss his most recent gamble, a job as the Chief Marketing Officer for a company he’s launching with his best friend soon. Menguin will be an “online tuxedo rental solution” for all the men in major metro areas that hate to go out to Men’s Warehouse or Joseph A. Bank.  Now you can now go online, build your tuxedo, rent it right there.

“We actually have a technology that will measure within an eighth of an inch using your computer camera,” Nathan said. “We’re pretty excited about it.”

The boys show some enthusiasm, ask a few questions about the tech but their eyes sparkled with the hope of a job, from their new mentor. One, shaking, looks at the other who nods. His voice wavers as he asks Nathan for a job.

“That just tells me right there you don’t believe enough in yourself to even go and get higher education, like step outside, change the game, change the game, that’s it,” he says to the bewildered faces. “That’s all I could ever ask. I always say this, impress me. Impress me.”

The boys can tell the conversation is over when Nathan spots a documentary producer he met the week before and walks away.