Wall Street is watching the big box stores and big malls this weekend, but don’t forget the shop around the corner.
Small Business Saturday is a seasonal promotion that independent local retailers count on to attract business during the long Black Friday weekend. American Express and the U.S. Small Business Administration coined the term in 2011 as the economy was still struggling from the Great Recession.
It has become a successful, lasting marketing program that’s still benefiting entrepreneurs. Last year, Amex reported that spending by U.S. consumers at independent retailers and restaurants on Small Business Saturday was up 18% from 2020 to $23.3 billion. That was an all-time high, besting the pre-pandemic $19.6 billion in 2019.
Dallas-Fort Worth has an impressive list of independent merchants who were strong and inventive enough to survive during the worst of the pandemic.
Just to name a few: In 2006, Carley Seale founded Favor the Kind and Roam Fine Goods and now has four stores in Dallas, Houston and Crested Butte, Colo. Former educator Candace Williams founded The Toy Maven in 2007 and now has two stores in Dallas and one in Southlake. Ann and Wes Goyer created Saint Bernard Sports in Dallas in 1978, and now the second generation is leading the chain with two stores in Dallas, one in Southlake and one each in Houston and San Antonio. Brittany Cobb started Flea Style in 2015 and now has four stores in Dallas, Frisco and Fort Worth. She has expanded the concept to include Herloom Hall restaurant in Frisco and Wide Brim hat store in Fort Worth.
Here are a dozen clusters of locally owned shops around the Dallas area:
Bishop Arts District: It calls itself the most independent neighborhood with more than 60 shops and restaurants. Local customers shop there during the week and then it becomes more of a destination for weekend fun for people from around Dallas-Fort Worth and out-of-towners, said Katy Schilthuis of the Mosaic Makers Collective, which she founded in 2018 and has grown to include 80 Texas-based makers of handmade goods. If you visit, don’t limit yourself to the main Bishop Avenue — the side streets from West Davis Street south have even more businesses. CocoAndre Chocolatier & Horchateria is on West 7th Avenue and has been in the neighborhood since 2009.
Henderson Avenue: While it shares a North Central Expressway exit with Knox Street, North Henderson is more organic and earthy than the flip street. The stores are still stylish, though, from the Favor The Kind gift, home and apparel boutique to Esther Penn women’s fashion shop and Coco & Dash Home. The long street stretches to almost Ross Avenue and Louie’s bar and restaurant. Keep going east to Lower Greenville Avenue to shop for casual unique apparel at Bullzerk and at Outside Texas, which was founded in Dallas in 2019 by Josh Florence and Brandon Yates with a mission to give the states’ places of natural beauty their due.
Hillside Village: Northwood Retail has turned this corner shopping center into daily destination for Lakewood and East Dallas residents. Local shops included Betty Lou, Canal Clothing, Texas Goods Co. and Froggie’s 5 & 10 Toy store. Head west on Mockingbird to almost to N. Central Expressway to Austin-based Whole Earth Provision Co.’s only Dallas store.
Plaza at Preston Center: This is a collection of mostly locally owned, high-end boutiques such as Pockets Menswear. While many are upscale, they’re not always pricey. Most are also women-owned such as Betty Reiter, Lucky Dog Barkery, Carla Martinego Boutique, Double R, Apples to Zinnias and jewelers Ylang 23 and Castle Gap.
Preston Royal Village: It has housed many local shops since the two northern corners of Preston and Royal were first developed in 1958. Here you’ll find Ken’s Man’s Shop — a Dallas mainstay since 1964 founded by Ken Helfman and now owned and operated by his son Kory Helfman — Toy Maven, Roam Hoam and Eatzi’s Market and Bakery. Austin-based Tyler’s is worth checking out for casual living and outdoor vacation apparel.
West Village: This shopping center opened in 2001 and is now surrounded by residential and office space. While it has national brands, it also includes locals such as Nicole Kwon, Q Clothier, Rye 51 and Mizzen + Main. Austin-based Kendra Scott has a large store here.
Inwood Village: This is the home of the flagship store of Saint Bernard. Janet and Jay Finegold have operated KidBiz/The Biz since 1995 and moved it here from the Plaza at Preston Center five years ago. It’s the only location for Wolo women’s boutique, Susan Saffron Jewelry, Pogo’s Wine & Spirits and Raw by Canines First. Just east of Inwood Village is Interabang Books and Linen Boutique in the Pavilion on Lovers Lane. Also on Lovers, is Nicholson Hardie’s gift shop.
Snider Plaza: This quaint center has dozens of small businesses, including longtime shops Christy M. Boutique and Kuby’s Sausage House and European Market. It’s a great place for window shopping, strolling, grazing on a meal and then dessert. Around the corner on Hillcrest Avenue is men’s shop, Cullwell & Son.
Highland Park Village: This is a window shopping center experience the equivalent of flipping through Vogue magazine. The locally owned property also includes several locally owned shops: Brian Bolke’s The Conservatory, Market, Hadleigh’s, Madison, La Vie Style House, and St. Michael’s Women’s Exchange.
Casa Linda: This is truly a neighborhood destination, but its unique mix may suit you on any given day with Elliott’s Hardware and local shops the Sample House, Buff City and Sergio’s Jewelry. East of Casa Linda is Makers Connect in the White Rock Shopping Center.
Galleria Dallas: The north Dallas mall has made a point of bringing in local retailers in recent years. Flea Style and Gregory’s moved in this year. Other locals include Lizzie Lu’s Gourmet Treats and Bonsai Paper.
NorthPark Center: The whole mall is locally owned by Dallas’ Nancy Nasher, and it’s the only local mall with a Dallas Public Library in it. While it’s mostly about bringing the world’s hottest concepts to Dallas, NorthPark is home to the second Nicole Kwon store and the only Eiseman Jewels.
If you’re outside Dallas, there are plenty of options to consider:
Grandscape: The development is focused on dining and entertainment, but it also includes smaller shops in an area carved out as the Homestead. Texas original shops are Bullzerk, Creteation, Landry Kate, Odin Leather Goods & Provisions, Dallas Silk Art and Gisela Fuentes’ Gal Clothing,
Legacy West: Read Between the Lines gift shop, Pockets and Austin-based Tecovas are among the local stores. Dallas-based Neighborhood Goods is a new kind of department store that brings digital brands in to try out the brick-and-mortar scene. Legacy West is featuring local entrepreneurs in a special weekend popup area in a breezeway next to Starbucks through Dec. 18. Across the Tollway at The Shops at Legacy are Ella Bleu, Joni’s Boutique, Another Time & Place, Cousin Earl, Dallas Running Company, LOVYT, Prized Kicks, The Impeccable Pig, and y&i Clothing Boutique.
Other notable neighborhood stores include:
- In Uptown Dallas: Stanley Korshak, the anchor of Uptown shopping owned and operated by Crawford Brock.
- In Lake Highlands: The Store in Lake Highlands on Walnut Hill Lane and Audelia Road and Rooster Home and Hardware at East Northwest Highway and Ferndale Road.
- In East Dallas: Talulah & Hess on Live Oak Street and The T Shop in Lakewood.
- In Far North Dallas: Courtney Goldberg’s Urban Spikes on Alpha Road, Christopher White’s Lekka Café & Gifts on Preston Road and Sunnyland Outdoor Living on Spring Valley Road.
- On Knox Street: Dallas-based Hari Mari started as a wholesale flip flop brand and has expanded products to include apparel and opened its first store.
Some locally owned stores have multiple locations, including Bullzerk T-shirt shop, Buff City Soap, The Sample House, Miss A beauty and accessories, Mizzen & Main, Weir’s Furniture and Half Price Books.
And just for the record, these aren’t small businesses, but they are locally based and either public traded companies or owned by major shareholders: Neiman Marcus, JCPenney, Fossil, At Home, Michaels, The Container Store, GameStop, 7-Eleven, Sally Beauty, Tuesday Morning and Zales.
What’s your favorite locally owned shop? I’d love to hear about them at email@example.com.
Updated on Monday, Nov. 28 with a few more readers’ favorites.