Well, Texas, you heard it right. We are about to mess with you. 520 East Brands is delighted to expand into our newest territory – Dallas/Ft. Worth. It is my distinct honor to introduce you to Dory Holzapfel who will be heading up this division.

Now, to be honest, Dory & I have known each other for a very long time. We first met in 1983 at summer camp. We stayed in touch a bit, but as stories go before the age of Facebook, we lost touch as we headed off to college. Dory, hailing from Chapel Hill, NC, is a diehard Tarheel fan. In fact, as a freshman at The University of North Carolina, she earned the privilege to be on the Varsity Cheerleading squad.

What better person to represent our products than a real, live cheerleader?

When we reconnected a few years ago online, I learned that her husband was (at the time) in active duty in the Navy (he is now an active reservist). Since today’s Veterans Day, it seems like a great time to not only say thank you to her husband, but also to Dory, and all the people who “hold down the fort” as their spouses protect us all in the USA.

Dory & her husband now live in the Dallas area with their three daughters and I was just thrilled that she wanted to come on board. With her background in sales (most recently with Discovery Toys), I’m sure she’s going to be successful at bringing our awesome products to Texas!

So here’s our interview… get to know this amazing woman!

What is your career background, before coming to this position?
I had always intended to live my career out in the corporate world, and started on that path directly out of college working as an Operations Manager for Wachovia Bank. That career path took an abrupt turn when I met and married my husband, Chad, an officer in the U.S. Navy. Multiple moves every few years (and sometimes months) made me re-focus on a more flexible style of business, and I eventually turned to having my own at-home business. I represented Discovery Toys for 3 years, focusing on a product line that embraced the most important ‘customers’ in my life: my children! Working with DT was a wonderful experience, getting to help other parents learn to play and enjoy spending quality time with their kids while using our educational products. When the Navy moved us for the final time, to Texas, I focused my attention on my ever-expanding enterprise here at home; eventually taking on the management of a newborn, and her two older sisters as my full-time endeavor.

What’s your long term goal with 520 East Brands?

I look forward to bringing our local area up to speed with the ‘green’ movement through responsible products as they apply to our everyday lives as parents. I hope that I can successfully introduce these wonderful entrepreneurial products to North Texas.

What’s your daily schedule like on days you are working?
My days start much earlier than I would like, as my 2-yr old typically wakes me up around 5-6 am every morning. After getting my 1st and 4th grade daughters ready and off to school, I head to the gym, and then the grocery store. Once home, my two-year old and I spend some quality time playing, and I try to convince her to stop and eat a little lunch. Around 1 pm begins the glorious 2-3 hour naptime that starts my time to take on the business world. Depending on the day of the week, I have to work fast to be ready for soccer practice, piano, Girl Scouts or gymnastics in the late afternoon.

Where did you grow up?
I grew up in the college town of Chapel Hill, North Carolina. I lived in the same town from the time I was 3, through graduating from the University of North Carolina at 21. After I met and married my Navy man, I made up for lost time; moving 8 times in 11 years.

What’s your “elevator pitch” about what you do?
Hmm, well this one is tricky, since I’m just starting! I suppose that I would say that I am joining a team with a dear, childhood friend that has inspired me to get out into my community to share a wonderful product line full of useful, environmentally-responsible, and fun products. I will be representing the mom-preneurs that have used their experiences and their common sense to develop gear that everyone could use and will want to have.

What’s your favorite vacation of all time?
Last summer our family spent a week at Emerald Isle in North Carolina with 3 other families. All four families were military friends that had been through deployments, moves, children and hardships together. We had all been stationed together in the past with the Navy, but had been separated in recent years to different regions of the country. Between us, we had 8 adults and 11 children, and it felt like we were just all part of one big family. It was the first time in years that we were all together, and seeing our children develop the same bonds that we parents had with each other was a gift to us all. We hope to make it an annual event, so we can continue to see our children grow up together, even though we all live so far apart.
(On another note, ask me again in December: after my husband and I return from a trip to Mexico that we are going on to celebrate our 12th Anniversary! It will be the first trip that the two of us have taken since our last child was born, so it will be a REAL vacation for the first time in a long time!)

What’s the one place you’d love to go with your family?
I would love to take our family back to Hawaii. My husband and I were stationed there with the Navy for 3 years, and our oldest child, Caroline, was born there. We can’t wait to show them ‘our’ Hawaii which is so different from the Hawaii that most tourists see and experience. We left the island when Caroline was 2 (seven years ago), and have missed island life ever since.

What’s your favorite restaurant in your local city?
Well, this is a trick question, because these days the places we like the most are the ones with the best coloring books and kid-friendly atmosphere. One of our family favorites is Blue Goose Cantina. It is a tex-mex restaurant that features great fajitas and quesadillas, and, more importantly, an outside seating area that is next to a fountain and a courtyard where the kids can run around. It is one of those places where we always run into someone we know, and it always feels like it has been an adventure by the time we make it home.

Welcome to the team, TEAM, Dory – no one is better suited to represent these products than someone who truly knows how to cheer for them!

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