Lea Bogle needed a part-time job 35 years ago, long before cell phones were even invented. The job she got was with a pager company. Remember pagers? Bogle liked the job, and when she lost it (due to what she describes as a #MeToo moment) she decided she liked the business but not the boss. Her solution: to be her own boss.
Premier Wireless was born to provide wireless communication for businesses, schools, and governments. As it celebrates its 25th anniversary this year, the mobile-phone company has grown to include stores in both Houston and Dallas.
“I came out when I was 29,” says the 56-year-old Bogle. “It was very hard, and I didn’t realize for a long time that I was only out to an inner circle of friends and not in my business. I’ve got a lot of clients that are rural and some conservative government agencies, so I was hiding what I was in business.”
What really changed all that for Bogle was the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce.
“I learned how important it is to support each other,” she says. “And now I’m certified as an ‘LGBT Business Enterprise.’ I’m certifiably gay!”
Bogle says it’s important for her now to do business with and support like-minded businesses.
“I do cheat with Chik-fil-A. I mean, it’s just giving them a $1.92 for their diet ice tea—and they did feed all those people down in Orlando,” she says, referring to the company’s response to the Pulse Nightclub massacre.
Bogle says work is her primary activity, although she does like to travel, golf, and meditate. She has two grown daughters, a very fat cat, and a little poodle named Cookie that she describes as the light of her life. Currently single, she wouldn’t mind finding someone who could match her energy level and who wants to be active in the community.
Among her volunteer interests is the Dalton DeHart Photographic Foundation. She sits on the board of the nonprofit archive that chronicles Houston’s LGBTQ community through a massive database of photos.
“I’ve known Dalton forever,” she says. “Who doesn’t? So when he asked me to be on the board, of course I said yes. Being able to preserve our history and capture those important moments through his lens is crucial for our community.”
Finalists: Kevin Casey, Bill O’Rourke
Best Copy/Print Shop
Finalist: AlphaGraphics of Sugar Land
Best Grocery Store
Finalists: Kroger, Whole Foods
Best Jewelry Store
Finalists: Select Jewelers, Tenenbaum Jewelers, Zadok Jewelers
Best Liquor Store
Spec’s Wines, Spirits & Finer Foods
Finalist: Total Wine & More
Best Place to Buy Cellular Phones
Finalists: AT&T, T-Mobile
Best Place to Buy Erotic Playthings
Finalists: Katz | Mystiq – Kirby, Montrose Forge
Best Place to Buy Eyewear
Finalists: Eye Contact, EyeBar Houston, Eye to Eye, Montrose Eye Care, Spectacles
Best Specialty Food Store
H-E-B Grocery/Central Market
Finalists: Phoenicia Specialty Foods, Spec’s Wines, Spirits & Finer Foods
Best Women’s Clothing Store
Saks Fifth Avenue
Finalists: Macy’s, Nordstrom
Best Men’s Clothing Store
Finalists: Guyz N Style, Nordstrom