UHV student overcomes challenges to chase business dream
Briana Reynoso’s life has gone through so many big changes in the past 10 years. But it has all led her to where she is right now – back in her hometown and starting a Bible shop while pursuing a business degree.
Reynoso, a Victoria native, graduated high school early and left town at the age of 17. She would have never guessed years ago that she would be back in town one day and be a member of the community of local business owners. After enrolling in classes at the University of Houston-Victoria, she has found the support she needs to help her in her business journey.
“Going to school has changed my life,” she said. “God willing, in a year I will be finished and have my own brick-and-mortar store.”
Reynoso is entering her senior year at UHV, where she is studying for her Bachelor of Business Administration in finance. Her education journey started in 2020, when she moved back to Victoria from the Dallas area, where she had lived for the past couple of years. At this point, Reynoso had already made a prior big move from Houston to the Dallas area and gotten married and divorced. As a single woman with no children, and the pandemic on the horizon, she decided to come home. During a trip to Coleto Creek with a friend, she shared her thoughts and feelings about giving up and just taking her dog to live in solitude in the mountains.
It was then that her friend shared his faith with her, inspiring her to seek God and trust the journey she was on. Since then, Reynoso has accepted God as her savior and knew that a life of service to God was her purpose. She worked in a Christian store in town, but when it closed down, she knew she would open her own Bible store.
She first went to UHV’s Small Business Development Center to receive guidance on how to get her shop started. Although her years of working in management positions helped her, Reynoso was encouraged to pursue a business degree. She went to the UHV recruitment center and enrolled in classes, which she was able to take while establishing her business. Her pop-up shop, called the Bible Shoppe, opened in July and is located at the 361 Pop-Up Shops venue, 2504 N. Laurent St. in Victoria, a place where small business owners can house their businesses.
“I got pointed in all the right directions coming over here, including finding the best classes for my work schedule,” Reynoso said. “I was able to go to school during the week and work at the store on the weekend, so my school schedule and work schedule worked together well.”
For Reynoso, becoming a student again at 34 after being out of the classroom for more than a decade was like riding a bike. She had always been a studious person and received high grades in her classes when she was younger, and she didn’t skip a beat when it came to college work. Reynoso is a serious student and is driven to do what needs to be done in order to receive her education. She sold her vehicle so that she could afford classes and invested in a bicycle, which she uses to travel to the UHV campus, work and everywhere else she needs to go. She learned what services are available to students and uses those resources, such as the Makerspace lab in the UHV Library. She also became a writing tutor at the Student Success Center to earn some extra money as she doesn’t receive any outside help to pay for her education. She hopes to become an economics tutor for the upcoming academic year.
Most days, Reynoso spends time balancing between classes, tutoring, the Bible Shoppe, homework and studying. Her schedule is usually jam packed, and during the spring semester, she experienced burnout for the first time after she was sick for several days. Even getting sick was a learning experience for Reynoso, as she can now identify the physical symptoms of burnout so that she can prevent burnout in the future.
“Students like Briana, who are driven, ambitious and hardworking serve as an inspiration for all of us here at UHV,” said Jeff Blodgett, interim dean of the UHV College of Business. “We are here to serve our students and help them on their educational journeys, and we are excited for Briana’s future and know she will be successful.”
The Bible Shoppe has expanded from a store to buy Bibles to a place where people can get their Bibles or other books embossed, purchase Christian books and dictionaries, request handmade gifts, browse the selection of items, restore items or simply stop by to talk with Reynoso. Creating a business has allowed Reynoso to be more creative, which she enjoys.
For now, Reynoso is taking the summer to recharge for the upcoming fall semester. She is grateful for all the help and guidance she has received at UHV so far from faculty and staff, including Kendall Aguero, a Student Success Advisor, who Reynoso said has gone “above and beyond” to help make sure she had everything she needed to be successful. She also is thankful for the business faculty who have shown her what she could do with a degree in finance.
Reynoso thanks her parents, who are proud of her for getting a bachelor's degree, and she also appreciates Joseph and Ninfa Capers, the owners of the 361 Pop-Up Shops, who are important supporters of her ambitions. She gives all the glory to God, as he led her back home and has made her life better in every way imaginable, she said.
“This is exactly what I am supposed to be doing,” she said. “I am grateful to have the opportunity to provide a Bible store in my hometown, and without UHV, I don’t think I would be here today. I know what my end goal is, and I am so glad to have supportive people around me.”
To learn more about applying to UHV, go to www.uhv.edu.
The University of Houston-Victoria, located in the heart of the Coastal Bend region since 1973 in Victoria, Texas, offers courses leading to more than 50 academic programs in the schools of Arts & Sciences; Business Administration; and Education, Health Professions & Human Development. UHV provides face-to-face classes at its Victoria campus, as well as an instructional site in Katy, Texas, and online classes that students can take from anywhere. UHV supports the American Association of State Colleges and Universities Opportunities for All initiative to increase awareness about state colleges and universities and the important role they have in providing a high-quality and accessible education to an increasingly diverse student population, as well as contributing to regional and state economic development.