Not a day goes by that Stephanie Pence isn’t told she’s doing a good job.
Even during an otherwise uneventful lunch, Pence is given a subtle reminder.
“This was my fortune today when I opened a fortune cookie,” she says with a giggle as she holds up a tiny strip of paper that reads, “You will be unusually successful in business.”
A recipient of the Terre Haute Young Leader of the Year Award, Indiana Small Business Development Center EDGE Award, Junior Achievement Rising Star Entrepreneurial Award and Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College Alumnae Leadership and Service Award among other honors, Pence doesn’t need a fortune cookie to tell her she’s a success.
Pence spends her days as the course manager for Police Technical, a national technical training and solutions provider for law enforcement and public safety. In the evenings and weekends, she devotes her time to dogs and cats, as the founder and owner of Hallie Hound Barkery. The business didn’t start off as a business at first, but as homemade Christmas gifts in late 2007. After the dog treats were a hit with family and friends, Pence decided to start selling them.
“It’s come a long way from the first time I sold them on cheap white plates from the dollar store and weighing them on a small little scale to now I have packaged product sitting on a grocery store shelf, which I would have never thought would happen eight years ago,” Pence says with a smile.
Her products are sold locally at Baesler’s Market as well as the Downtown Terre Haute Farmers Market, Agave Vintage Cocktails and Brown Veterinary Clinic; they available nationally online.
Each of the products is lab-tested and is licensed through the office of the Indiana State Chemist.
Putting countless hours into one business would be enough for most people, but Pence also commits her time and efforts to Police Technical. Thomas Mason, CEO of the company, says he knew of Pence’s other business when he hired her and appreciated her entrepreneurial spirit.
“Stephanie is critical to our business. We hired her because she had a great educational profile with a master’s from Saint Mary-of-the-Woods and a degree from Indiana State. She was a perfect fit for Police Technical,” he says of Pence’s “consistency, professionalism and commitment.”
A native of Robinson, Ill., Pence moved to Terre Haute to attend Indiana State University after an injury forced her to retire from collegiate athletics at Bethel College in Mishawaka. Unsure of her future path at the time, Pence says she completed an internship at WTWO-TV during her junior year that led her to a degree in Radio and Film and a job at WTHI-TV as a photographer.
“That’s how I stayed in Terre Haute,” Pence says of her first job out of college. “It was an interesting twist. I hadn’t planned on coming home after high school.”
It may have not been her plan in the beginning, but Pence quickly made Terre Haute her home. Jumping into organizations like Terre Haute Young Leaders and the Terre Haute Humane Society, she made it her priority to give her time and talent to the community.
“I decided from the beginning that wherever I am going to put down roots that is going to be home, and if that is going to be your home, you need to put something into it,” she says. “You do it with your physical property, you always put something into it, and the community is just a bigger expansion of that, so why not do something to better it.”
Joining her in everything from volunteering to manning the Hallie Hound Barkery booth at the Farmers Market is husband Nathan Pence. The two met and quickly discovered they had a sort of “Brady Bunch.”
“He had three dogs at the time and I had three dogs at the time,” Pence says with a laugh. “So it was an instant pet connection.”
The two were married in December 2014 at the Indiana Theatre in downtown Terre Haute.
With a great partner by her side and employment with two amazingly successful businesses, it may seem like Pence has her future all figured out. She says it’s not that simple. In the coming years, she’s looking forward to growing both Police Technical and Hallie Hound Barkery. Anything else she’s leaving up to fate… or her next fortune cookie.
“I am going to go where life takes me,” she says. “I hope we can have a family, but if it doesn’t happen, we will adopt more dogs. We are going to deal with life as it comes, whether it’s growing a business or growing a family or both. I’m good at juggling stuff now, what’s a few more things?”