Candice Price is the very definition of “multi-hyphenate” (she jokes that “serial entrepreneur” is seriously overused).
Licensed real estate broker. Executive Director of the GROW Nebraska Women’s Business Center. Owner of Home Team Auto Sales. Owner of HT Towing & Repair. Independent insurance adjuster. Single mother of two. Owner of Sapphire Grill. Price is all of these things, and a flurry of other roles and titles so vast it would arguably be overly confusing to mention them all here.
A native of South Florida and the daughter of a Division 1 track coach, Candice Price always had an affinity for sales.
“It’s always been my thing,” she said. “I can sell anything as long as I can understand it, and my first job was in telemarketing.”
Price is not overstating her sales prowess; she owns one of only two African American woman licensed auto dealerships in the state: Home Team Auto Sales. She and business partner Ron Devers spun off HT Towing & Repair, a for-hire tow truck company. And the duo partnered again on a completely unrelated business, the Sapphire Grill, in 2018.
“We purchased a couple of buildings this year,” Price said of the auto dealership. “We started with $3,500 and bootstrapped it.”
As self-described “true foodies,” Price and Devers drove five hours to pick up the trailer that would mark the start of Sapphire Grill. New equipment was incorporated into the mobile food venue, which now caters everything from office parties to neighborhood gatherings to children’s baseball games.
And it is Price’s first foray into car sales that enabled her skill and passion for real estate to ultimately flourish. In fact, the HGTV fan recalled having an early interest in real estate investor Carleton Sheets’ No Money Down Payment program as a child; the program was heavily popularized by infomercials that marketed his real estate curricula.
“I wanted to be able to flip houses, but I didn’t have the capital to do that,” she said. “I did have enough to do a few cars. And that got me into my first house, and I did the first flip.”
She would become licensed in the state of Nebraska as a real estate broker. Price is also licensed in six states as an independent insurance adjustor, and is commissioned as a notary public in Nebraska, too.
Support that Shapes us
Before all of these ventures and distinctions, Price was a mechanical engineering and African American studies student at the University of Oklahoma, the state that so many of her family members called “home.”
As a nontraditional student, she also built a village of sorts among educators and fellow students. Teachers allowed Price to bring her then 8-month-old daughter, Sha’lise, with her to class. When Price couldn’t watch her, other students stepped up to help. Now almost 20
(as of January), Sha’lise is a civil engineering major at North Carolina A&T State University.
“From there,” Price said, a reference to her alma mater, “I was hired in the oil and gas industry and picked up by the railroad. They sent me to Houston and, in 2008, the economy failed and they said, ‘We need you to go to Omaha next week.”
That was in 2009. Between 2003 and 2007, various internships exposed Price to the likes of field engineering, exploration and production, and pipelines and terminals engineering.
Between 2008 to 2015, she worked for Union Pacific Railroad.
“I worked with them in a couple of management positions, and with a $50 million book of business,” she said.
Her career at UP was logistics focused. An opportunity presented itself to enter the real estate industry — something she had wanted to do while at the company.
As she reflects on her previous and current work, Price said, “With everything I’ve done, I’m used to being one of a ‘few,’ or the ‘only one.’”
She referred to the lack of women in the male-dominated auto dealership space, with the disparity even more pronounced among women of color. This is current day but, back in 2004, Price recalled interning with another railroad as a mechanical field engineer in a small community in northern Montana. It was much the same story, only, “I was one of six Black people in the town,” Price said. “Many people are interested and inquisitive when you look different from them … And you’re setting the bar for what they think about [for example] women in car sales.”
Additionally, as a “single parent in the truest sense of the word,” mom to both Sha’lise and 5-year-old kindergartener, Jada, Price emphasized the “village” — those around her who believed in her, and helped out when she needed it. She is doing much the same in her role as executive director of the GROW Nebraska Women’s Business Center, which celebrated its grand opening in May.
“The women’s business center can make things a little easier … with a little bit of access, it makes things a little easier for the next person,” she said.
In addition to a goal of owning a franchise car dealership, going forward Price sees the GNWBC positioned well to be among the biggest champions of women-owned businesses in the state.
“And we are on a great trajectory,” she said.
A nod to the up-swing, Price said the center has already been in a position to invest in additional hires; most recently, Eden Butler was onboarded as client coordinator.