Where Are They Now?
Nisa Bazensky Felps
Nisa Bazensky Felps graduated from Randallstown High School in 1991. She did not plan to marry friend and classmate Ryan Felps. She did not plan to go into the family business. But things change.
By Debra Roth Kane
Today she and her husband live in Pikesville with their three children, Ayden, 6, Naomi, 4, and Elie, 1. Though both Nisa and Ryan are from secular backgrounds, they have become Orthodox and are members of the B’nai Jacob Shaarei Zion Congregation. Ryan owns an Internet company that develops Web sites. Nisa is company president of the family business, Bazensky’s Dinette & Patio in Towson.
iNSIDER: What did you do after high school?
Nisa: I went to the University of Maryland, College Park, and graduated in 1995. I got my B.S. in sociology. I didn’t know what I wanted to do.
So you had no intention of working in the family business?
I did not want to work in the family business. I told my father that I wouldn’t. Instead, I moved to Atlanta. I worked in sales for a company called Promove, an apartment locator. Atlanta was very transient in the ‘90s. It was very lucrative. I came back because my father got sick. I moved to D.C. When he died in 1999, I got into the business.
What are the challenges you face at your company?
As a mother, I face the challenge of time management. I’m here part-time. It has gotten easier now that my uncle is running operations. I focus on advertising and marketing. Now the economy is my biggest challenge. People view furniture as a luxury; if they can put off a purchase, they do. But if they are going to buy, I want them to buy from me. My grandparents are still working for the business. Our company has been in business almost forty years.
What were the highlights of your high school years?
I played volleyball. Senior year, we were very good and our volleyball team made it to the regional playoffs. And I played lacrosse. We were not good. It was fun though. I was in the chorus for the senior play, “Damn Yankees.” We had a blast.
You and Ryan were both class of ’91?
I have known Ryan since I was twelve. We were good friends in high school. He went to Maryland too. After college he moved to Colorado, but eventually we moved to Atlanta together. Then I got a bonus and went on a trip to Israel. We realized when we were separated that we had stronger feelings for each other. Ryan and I fell in love in Atlanta.