We had the good fortune of connecting with Betina White and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Betina, how has your background shaped the person you are today?
Courtney and I were both born and raised in Houston. Along with being business partners, he’s my confidant and oldest nephew. We were raised on the northside of Houston in Trinity Gardens and later closer to Humble – parts of town that aren’t rich but aren’t poor either. Middle class, matriarch-led families that fostered family, closeness, love, and respect. My mother Rosie, and Grandmother Louise, were both great home cooks and cafeteria ladies at HISD and there were a lot of hungry mouths to feed between the kids, the nieces, and nephews and many occasions, the neighborhood kids. Our house was on the corner, always bustling with kids – that togetherness showed us how to lean into each other when we need to and the strength from doing that allows us to now be in a place of service to others.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
Courtney left his professional, corporate job sooner than I did. On weekends and some nights, I would still come help him prep and work on the truck. All of my 15-year corporate career, I worked in Retail Advertising for two major department stores in Atlanta and later in Houston. Pre-Covid, in the summer of 2019, I was laid off. The Shoppette was an idea that he’d been throwing around and he asked me to help and 2 weeks later it became my newest experience. He wanted a space that would serve our grab ‘n go meals, house the sauces, merchandise and just be a vegan hub under the growing Houston Sauce Co. umbrella. We also use the store to highlight and market other mainly local, and carefully sourced vegan, artisan brands.
Having been his “sous chef” from the beginning it wasn’t hard taking the reins and making his idea of what a space should be into a reality. Of course, with time and patience, it’s been a growing extension for the last year and a half. I don’t see it as a job – I get to meet beautiful people every day, help them with vegan recipes, ideas on how to cook and/or use our uniquely-sourced products, plus I get to sample & merchandise shop constantly. I’m in love with always having something new!
We want the Shoppette to be another great part of the Houston Sauce Co. experience. A place that’s warm and caring. We’re always excited to see our guests and give them great customer service by asking ourselves daily, “How would I want to be treated?” We apply that to everyone’s visit, creating a customized experience for everyone who comes in.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Well, first we’d visit Jinya. I L-O-V-E a good bowl of ramen. We’d go off Harwin and then to the Galleria for some light shopping and lots of window shopping. For lunch every day, we’d grab something from the Houston Sauce Co. food truck. There’s enough on the menu to eat there for at least a week and a half and have something different each time! Doshi House for coffee & afternoon snack, and whatever we couldn’t find on a shopping trip at the Shoppette will definitely be found after a visit to VegSide Mkt. Then, end with a great Cantonese dinner – eating all the off-the-menu specials at Ginger & Folk.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
My mother, Rosie. She’s always had big dreams and she likes to live them through us. She worked hard so that her children would be successful, and it is fitting and perfect that she’s able to see the fruits of her labors. She was a big part of why I developed a love for cooking and more importantly serving others and showing love through food, kindness, and care.