Eleanor Beauchamp Harren
This former Trinity student raised three kids and then in her mid-life founded a business that is wildly successful.
By Donna Parker
Eleanor Beauchamp Harren, who describes herself as "young at heart," has been running her praline business for 25 years - no easy feat considering she is turning 80 years old this year.
After Eleanor's youngest daughter graduated from law school, Eleanor wanted more out of life than just TV and crossword puzzles so she decided to use her aunt's recipe for delicious pralines and started her business with just a $50 stake.
"I had been catering for four years but that's a hard job for anyone so I decided it would be easier to make pralines and sell them," explains Eleanor, who was already filling requests for her delicious candy for everything from barbeques to weddings.
"Everyone liked them so I began making them in my home kitchen and initially took them to three restaurants in Corpus Christi. The business took off from there as more and more people purchased them."
She began delivering out of the back of her station wagon but now sells more than two million pralines annually.
"My kids had all graduated from college and this was something constructive to do that helped both me and my small town."
"It's been good for me. I needed something to do. We used to go out dancing and play bridge. Now I find myself going out with friends and neighbors for dinner after work."
This active business owner looks back fondly on her Trinity years and chuckles when she remembers that coming from such a small town and school that she had no idea how to take notes!
"So I loved every bit of it but my first semester. When I went to class under Dr. Paul Schwab, department of religion, everybody was taking notes and I wondered what in the world they were writing down," laughs Eleanor.
She actually wanted to call it quits but her mom encouraged her to stick it out and that next semester, she met her future husband on campus.
"I lived in Mary Katherine Hall and we had such fun. We were actually part of the crew that carried the books to the new library when the transfer from the Woodlawn campus was made. We used to go for snacks at the home of Professor Charles Allen, chaplain and professor of religion. He was wonderful to all the students and anyone who wanted to go for snacks Sunday evening was invited."
Even with her astounding success as a later-life entrepreneur, Eleanor says her biggest achievement is her three children, Frank, Anne and Amy - two attorneys and one CPA. Daughter Amy is currently lending a hand to Eleanor by assisting with marketing efforts.
"The best thing about starting my business is just having fun and a little independence," says Eleanor.
Now, Aunt Aggie De's pralines may be found in all Whole Foods stores in the south and southwest regions, as well as many in the Rocky Mountain region. They may also be purchased from www.auntaggiede.com or at her retail store in Sinton, Texas.
You may contact Eleanor at Eleanor@auntaggiede.com.