Enjoy these 10 Dallas mom and pop small businesses!
Dallas is the Lone Star State’s third-largest metroplex. It is home of the first 7-Eleven, the Dallas Cowboys and of course Tex-Mex. But, most importantly, Dallas is well known as the “Big D.”
Since November 2016, Dallas has added the largest number of jobs, roughly 100,400. Making it the top dog in terms of job growth out of the 12 largest metropolitan areas. If you’re a small business owner in Dallas the odds are you’ve helped add to that growth.
Which is fantastic, because when you want to go where everybody knows your name, the internet just doesn’t cut it. No big-box store can compete with the personal touch of a mom and pop business. So, without further ado, here are 10 diverse Dallas businesses that have demonstrated real staying power:
Photo Credit: Facebook/CampisisRestaurants
Despite the cool-but-misleading retro sign, there is nothing remotely Egyptian about this mom and pop business. Carlo and Antonia Campisi immigrated from Sicily in 1904 and opened a small restaurant in 1946. At the time, pizza was brand-new to Dallas.
When they relocated to Mockingbird Lane in 1950, they couldn’t afford to replace the whole sign on the existing business, a bar called the Egyptian Lounge. Instead, they opted to change one word and go by the Egyptian Restaurant.
Eleven additional locations, now appropriately named Campisi’s, are also family-owned. Fourth-generation David Campisi can’t verify the rumor that Jack Ruby was in the Egyptian Restaurant when John F. Kennedy was assassinated, but Ruby was a regular customer.
Photo Credit: Facebook/The Maddox Shop
Peggy Maddox felt as called to make underwear as Billy Graham felt called to preach. Her special talents benefited victims of the polio epidemic, and The Maddox Shop now caters mostly to women with breast cancer.
Maddox started sewing lingerie in her home in 1934. Her shop eventually moved to Casa Linda Plaza where it has stood for more than 50 years. Maddox’s daughter-in-law took over when she retired.
November 1985: Jay in front of the shop on 10th Street in Oak Cliff, three months after its opening. Photo Credit: Facebook/ViolinsDallas
Jay R. Rury hasn’t been around for quite as long as J.R. Ewing, but he’s a lot more likable than the unscrupulous oilman on the “Dallas” TV show. He has played violin and cello since childhood, but he decided at some point that he’d rather fiddle with them.
You can’t get violins repaired online. Furthermore, each instrument is unique. Restoring the identical sound quality after a mishap takes an expertly trained ear and rare skill.
Rury set up shop in 1985. Notable repair jobs have included a 1560 Gasparo da Salo violin and one of the finest instruments in the world, a Cessole Stradivari made in 1760.
Photo Credit: Facebook/Wild Bills Western
Owner Bill Dewbre still uses the leather-crafting tools and methods that his father designed in the 1940s. His boots and belts aren’t just iconic western wear; they’re works of art. Dewbre has been refining his craft for 50 years at his one location in the West End district downtown.
Photo Credit: dallasnews.com
Demetrios Georgios “Jimmy” Velis, then a 22-year-old from a small village in Greece, landed at Love Field in 1968. In broken English, he repeatedly asked his fellow passengers to verify that he was in Dallas.
With his wife at his side, he’s now been repairing shoes and handbags here for five decades. He also makes custom leather belts and wallets using old-school methods and the finest materials.
Photo Credit: highlandparkcafeteria.com
Sallie “Mother” Goodman and her son Dewey started dishing up soul food in 1925. While inhaling your Angus brisket hash, turnip greens and squash casserole, brush up on history.
The Wall of U.S. Presidents has a set of portraits with information about each leader and his first lady. If you can spot the only typo, you’ll get dessert on the house. Strongly consider the decadent German chocolate cake at this mom ad pop.
Photo Credit: Keagan Oka (flickr)
Bill Wisener started selling vinyl records at a flea market in 1973, but you can now find him on Lamar Street. The 73-year-old is famous for his encyclopedic knowledge and massive inventory of rare records, eight-track tapes, cassettes and memorabilia.
Don’t bother looking for a price tag on anything. Wisener likes to haggle the old-fashioned way and ring a metal chime when the sale is final.
Photo Credit: dallasexecutives.com
Bruce McShan’s parents opened their shop on Garland Road in 1948, and Bruce was born just three weeks later. It is now one of the busiest florists in the U.S. McShan looks more like a rugged cattleman than a florist. It’s hard to imagine him artfully arranging delicate species, but he’s been at it for decades.
He’s also known in the industry as a technological whiz who revolutionized processing and delivery. McShan Florist has sent an arrangement to every U.S. president who has visited Dallas since 1948.
Photo Credit: parkitmarket.com
The market, deli, liquor store and keg supply opened in 1962. Its original founders, Ann and Frank Todora, are still in charge. The deli menu is surprisingly extensive. In addition to hot dishes like Frito pie and chicken-fried steak, the homemade sandwiches draw crowds at lunch.
Keg rentals, however, are Parkit’s bread and butter. The Todora’s keep 365 kegs in stock, and the market has won numerous local awards, including Best Mom and Pop Business from the Dallas Observer.
Photo Credit: Facebook/Lovers Lane Barber
This neighborhood fixture opened in 1938. It was purchased in the early ’60s by Norbert “Red” Mikulec and his wife, Flo. Their daughter Karen Kay “K.K.” Atkinson runs the place now, and you might say it has a split personality. On Saturday mornings, the front room fills with hapless-looking dads and little kids in pajamas.
TV Land cartoons alleviate anxiety, and first-timers receive an official certificate of bravery. The back room is a little more intriguing. K.K. and her talkative staff can be counted on to share the latest Park Cities gossip over a pedicure.
No small business owner is likely to give themselves a day off to celebrate National Mom and Pop Business Day; but know that we in the Big D lift our Stetsons to you.