Women in Business: A look back at 2021 newcomers – panolawatchman.com

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Some clouds this morning will give way to generally sunny skies for the afternoon. High 86F. Winds E at 5 to 10 mph..
Clear to partly cloudy. Low 62F. Winds light and variable.
Updated: October 22, 2021 @ 7:44 am
Meagan Smith shows off some of her handcrafted jewelry in her Carthage studio.
Sharrlyn Hurd, left, and Linda Wilson, right, are the owners of Friends Diner in DeBerry.

Meagan Smith shows off some of her handcrafted jewelry in her Carthage studio.
Sharrlyn Hurd, left, and Linda Wilson, right, are the owners of Friends Diner in DeBerry.
A number of women-owned businesses have opened in Panola County in the past year or joined the Panola County Chamber of Commerce in 2021. Here we take a look back at them.
Friends Diner
Linda Wilson and Sharrlyn Hurd have been best friends for years, and the pair of friends decided to start up Friends Diner in DeBerry.
“I’ve always wanted to cook, and I’ve always wanted to start up my own business, so I found out that this was available, and I went to my best friend and I asked her ‘let’s go into business,’ and she said yeah, and so we’ve been running it since,” Wilson said.
The business serves breakfast and lunch, with their specialty being their hamburgers.
“We’re providing for the community something that they did not have,” Hurd said. “You would either have to drive to Marshall, Shreveport or Carthage just to even get a hamburger. The Dollar Store has a lot of stuff, but they don’t have good cooked food. It means a lot to the community, and from what the customers are telling us, it means a lot to them just to be able to come stop by and get a hot breakfast on their way to work and get a hot cup of coffee on their way to work.”
The business has a drive-thru as well as a dine in area. If COVID winds up having to shut down the dine-in area, they’re prepared to continue serving through the drive-thru window, they said.
Friends Diner is located at 7124 U.S. 79 North in DeBerry next door to the post office. They are open Monday through Friday from 5 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday from 5 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Above Average Health
Above Average Health and House Calls was welcomed into the Panola County Chamber of Commerce with a ribbon cutting in August.
“I have a clinic here, but I’ve actually been in business for two and a half years, will be three years in November,” owner Sequoise Givens said. “We do anything that you can do if you go to any other clinic. I specialize in COVID, diabetes and elders. I also take care of people with chronic diseases like diabetes, high blood pressure, cholesterol, weight loss. I have IV hydration for those who need a little pep in their step, that helps for that as well.
They are opened 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. weekends, and located at 424 W. Sabine St., Suite No. 1 in Carthage. Givens also takes appointments. Call her at (972) 246-9315, or visit her website and set their appointment at www.aboveaveragehealthcare.com.
Kid Baker
Trinade Roberts started baking around age 8, and now she’s 11 with a business of her own — Overloaded Sweets by Trin.
“I really started baking when my dad got out of the hospital,” Trinade said. “He taught me how to bake apple dumplings, and she (Trinade’s mom) taught me how to make pecan pie.”
Trinade;s menu includes apple dumplings, honeybun cake, honeybun cake loaf, pecan pie, cookies, cupcakes, mini bundt cakes, chocolate-covered strawberries, rice crispie treats and pretzels. Besides taking individual orders, she does a lot of party packs for events such as wedding showers. These include cupcakes, cookies and her chocolate-dipped items.
There are a few ways to order treats from Trinade. You can message her Facebook profile, Trinade Roberts, or you can text or call her at (903) 690-1744.
Propes Relaxation Massage
The Panola County Chamber of Commerce welcomed Propes Relaxation Massage with a ribbon cutting in May.
“I’m a licensed massage therapist,” said owner Tiffany Propes. “I offer relaxation, deep tissue, prenatal, whatever you need I got you.”
Propes does the massages out of her home, 126 County Road 2081 in Carthage. She also work at a spa in Henderson, The Blissful Butterfly, and at Fountain of Youth in Longview on Fridays and Saturdays. To schedule an appointment, call (903) 263-1014.
Sharp Travel Planners
The Panola County Chamber of Commerce held a ribbon cutting for Sharp Travel Planners in April.
“I am a travel advisor and agent, and I’ve been doing this for about seven years now,” said owner Debbie Sharpe Burson. “Just recently a couple years ago moved to Carthage, and I’m ready to help everyone with their travel needs. I specialize in cruises, the Caribbean, some Europe, Disney, Universal, Alaska, but I’m willing to take you anywhere you want to go.”
Burson works from home and said she’s happy to meet in town at a restaurant or eatery. Contact her by phone or email, (817) 845-5471 or debbie@sharptravelplanners.com.
MeritLife
CPR instructor Catherine Bynum, owner of MetLife, was welcomed by the Panola County Chamber of Commerce with a ribbon cutting in April.
“I teach CPR, first aid,” Bynum said. “I can teach it from American Heart Association, the American Red Cross, and the American Health and Safety Institutes, so whichever certification you need. And I do it here and I also travel… I also do babysitting certification, which includes the CPR and first aid too, for any of the younger generation that wants a certification to babysit.”
MetLife is located at 117 W. Sabine St. in Carthage, right next to the Hobby Horse. Bynum’s office is in suite five, at the end of the hallway.
Her hours are typically 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., but Bynum said she’ll meet people any time for classes. Call her at (430) 240-8589 before coming by the office.
TCMA Events Center
The Texas Country Music Association has come home to Carthage, with President Linda Wilson and her husband Richard taking over a lease at the old Alamo Bar — now rechristened the TCMA Events Center.
The Wilsons plan to provide a mix of live music, food and fun as well as to continue to provide the center as a rental venue.
TCMA represents artists, musicians, venues and media — basically anything and everything that touches country music in Texas — so they were already having to work remotely. And with Richard’s parents getting older and some of their children living here as well, the couple decided to move back home.
Wilson said their work with TCMA means they have “the ability to bring in local bands from this immediate East Texas area, but we also have the great ability to bring in artists that you haven’t heard before that really are fabulous. So we’re able to give our area a taste of some of the music out there that is all over Texas.”
ByDesigns and Gossips
A combo beauty salon and retail store opened up in Beckville in March.
ByDesigns is owned by Curstin Carpenter. They’re open 9 to 5.
“We have t-shirts and signs, and we have balloons, Carpenter said “We do all kinds of gifts and stuff like that.”
Gossips is owned by Nancy Whitlow. They’re open Tuesday-Thursday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Friday 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., and Saturdays appointments only.
“I do family hair; I do highlights, lowlights, balayage, and I have a highlight your March, so it’s 10 percent off any highlights,” Whitlow said. You can find them on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/ByDesignsandGossips. They’re located at 125 Jones St. in Beckville.
Sookie Sookie
Meagan Smith, owner of Sookie Sookie, recently set up her studio in Carthage after moving here in October. Although she mostly operates her business online, Smith’s products are carried in Revival Threads on the square, and she frequently operates a booth at First Monday Trade Days in Canton.
To shop Sookie Sookie, visit Rival Threads on the Carthage square, First Monday Trade Days in Canton, or shopsookiesookie.com. Follow them on Facebook or Instagram, @shop_sookie_sookie, for updates.

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