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Making Dallas Even Better

State Fair of Texas Willfully Ignorant of Its Economic Impact on Dallas

The Morning News has taken a closer look at the “fuzzy math” that the nonprofit State Fair of Texas uses to assure Dallas that it remains a tremendous boon to the local economy. Numbers ranging from $200 million to $600 million have been thrown around, but all of them are pretty much meaningless because the fair doesn’t track its attendance:

As a private organization, the fair can use whatever measures of success it prefers, [State Fair president Mitchell] Glieber said. Estimating attendance is too difficult, he said, noting that not every gate has turnstiles and some admit carloads of people.

“Accounting for the accurate number of people is not critical to us,” he said. “If somebody wants to say it’s 2.3 million or if someone wants to say it’s 3 million, it doesn’t really impact us.”

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D CEO Women’s Leadership Symposium Speakers Announced. Join us June 1!

D CEO is proud to announce our first Women’s Leadership Symposium hosted on June 1 at the Hilton Anatole. Join us for a half-day packed with empowerment, education, and actionable takeaways on the subjects of leadership, entrepreneurship, mentorship and community involvement.

Our twelve speakers are powerful DFW-area executives transforming their industries and breaking the mold right in our region. Expect to learn and be inspired by stories of success and biggest mistakes (and how they learned from them), how innovation and creativity drive leadership, and how to create the best network of mentors and your own personal board of directors.

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Raising Capital Locally a Popular Topic at Dallas Startup Week

Entrepreneurs from Dallas-Fort Worth and beyond have swarmed downtown Dallas and the surrounding area for the past two days to gain valuable expertise and insight on growing their companies. But it became clear on Wednesday, there was one thing everyone wanted to know: “How do we get funded in Dallas?”

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Five DFW Firms Named to Nation’s 50 Fastest Growing Women-Owned Companies List

Five Dallas-Fort Worth entrepreneurs have been honored for leading some of the fastest growing women-owned or women-led companies in the nation. The 50 Fastest-Growing Women-Owned/Led Companies, an annual ranking released by the Women’s Presidents’ Organization in Partnership with American Express, was based on revenue growth from 2011 to 2015. Only companies that had at least $500,000 in revenue as of January 2011 were eligible.

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A Blow to the Dallas Garment Business, Ctd.

A FrontBurnervian who read last week’s post about Dallas-based fashion company Foremost moving its manufacturing to Los Angeles wrote in to encourage us not to retract our June 2015 D Magazine story (as I’d jokingly suggested we might) that had given Foremost positive press for its decision to make its clothes in Dallas in the first place.

She’d previously launched (and parted ways with) her own clothing line produced here and wanted to emphasize that the skills to make great garments still exist in our city:

They all have an incredible knowledge base and worked on large-scale accounts and for big designers (at the time) and the sewing rooms off Harry Hines that existed 40-50 years ago produced many, many well-known ready-to-wear lines. In addition to manufacturing, everything was sourced out of here — fabric, buttons, zippers, labeling, etc. The people the article referenced are the same people I’d met — they were the ones in management then and lost their jobs when companies like Haggar and JCPenney went to manufacturing overseas. Those people are now in their 60s and 70s trying to do their own things, but not for big names or fancy accounts. An incredibly talented patternmaker does work out of her garage studio at her house near White Rock. Items are still very much made in darkened, hot backrooms off Harry Hines by talented people who can cut and sew, but the items they make are sheets, camera straps and garments that don’t require costly skills to produce things like tricky pockets and zippers …

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A Blow to the ‘Made in Dallas’ Garment Business

D CEO managing editor Danielle Abril reported last night that Dallas-based clothing line Foremost is moving its manufacturing to Los Angeles. You might remember that just last June, in the pages of D Magazine, Foremost founder (and twotime EarBurner podcast guest) Matt Alexander was featured in an article highlighting a small-scale renaissance of garment production in the Design District:

Alexander’s idea for Need came to him during a pub chat in London, and Foremost was only an inkling until a visitor to his Dallas office said that he was planning to manufacture men’s pocket squares here. “I knew there was a pressing demand for affordable men’s and women’s clothing, but I had thought that we’d have to produce maybe 3,000 copies of each garment and go to Atlanta or L.A.,” he says. “When I learned that garments were still being made in Dallas, I asked him, ‘Can they do 100 of these?’ It all kind of came together then.” 

Matt Alexander’s discovery that the city’s decimated and nearly invisible garment trade still had capacity held out the promise that he could make money if he could find the people who still make not plans, but things. He found a world populated by scarred and aging veterans of the industry and by the rank young upstarts who have moved into its ruins.

So apparently the veterans and the upstarts couldn’t produce cheaply enough to keep Foremost a going venture. Do we need to retract our article?

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Dallas Startup Foremost Relaunches Brand, Moves Manufacturing to L.A.

Dallas startup founder Matt Alexander has made some big changes to his year-old online clothing line. In addition to pushing out some products, dropping prices and unveiling a new recycling program and revamped website, Foremost has moved its manufacturing processes from Dallas and Arlington to Los Angeles.

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Troy Aikman Dissolving His Foundation, Moving $1M Into Donor-Advised Fund at United Way

Editor’s note: At the request of the United Way of Metropolitan Dallas, the following information was to be “embargoed” to media outlets today until 7 p.m. However, once Cheryl Hall of The Dallas Morning News posted a story (tagged “Exclusive”) containing the information well before 7, we had no choice but to follow suit.    […]

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Hunt Oil Laying Off 10 Percent of Workforce

After hearing a rumor that Hunt Oil was laying off some of its people, I called this morning to confirm. The company replied via email:

Hunt Oil Company confirmed today that it has adjusted its corporate workforce by approximately 10 percent to conform to current conditions within the oil and gas industry. “While difficult for the Company and our people, Hunt Oil’s actions are consistent with what the vast majority of other oil and gas companies are doing at this time given the dramatically reduced level of activity within the industry,” said Jeanne Phillips, spokesperson for Hunt Oil Company and Hunt Consolidated, Inc.

No word on how many of those people will come from the Dallas office. In 2014, Forbes said Hunt Consolidated had 2,400 employees.

Dallas Menswear Startup Mizzen+Main Raises $3M

Dallas startup Mizzen+Main raised a $3 million Series B round of funding adding more big name investors to its lineup. The round, announced Thursday, was led by Ben Nash, CEO of PCS Wireless; NFL star Thomas Morstead, who plays for the New Orleans Saints; George Couri and Bruce Kalmick of Triple 8 Management; Vegas Tech Fund; and Brian Tochman of Dallas-based MRCA Investment. Other private investors also participated.

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Leading Off (4/7/16)

Lewisville lake dam receives funding for improvements. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Congress members announced yesterday that $100-$200 million worth of construction to control water leakage under the troublesome dam will begin in 2018. In progress currently are repairs to the 160-foot-long hole in the dam, expected to be completed by summer’s end. Officials still insist that the “high-risk” dam—for which repairs have been significantly moved up—is safe, but hey, what do I know.

Tent city closure unresolved. The homeless encampment near downtown was set to be closed by May 4, but that’s looking unlikely now. The City Council could not come to an agreement about where the 200 people who live there would go. City Manager Gonzalez said he wants to begin gradually closing it in May, but I’m not sure how you go about gradually closing a homeless encampment.

FBI Pays a visit to investment firm. CDK Realty Advisors used to advise the Dallas Police and Fire Pension System, but now the pension system claims that the firm gave “reckless and improper” advice and charged fees that were inflated. The outcome of the investigation remains to be seen.

105-year-old throws out first pitch at Rangers game. Fort Worth resident Elizabeth Sullivan got to fulfill her baseball dream by throwing the first pitch yesterday. If only the Rangers had pulled out a win against the Mariners. I guess the group of D Magazine staffers that were in attendance didn’t bring quite enough good luck with them.

Common Desk Rolls Out Pop-Up Office Spaces Across Dallas

Common Desk has launched a new option for companies looking for temporary dedicated office space in areas across Dallas. The first space will debut at Dallas Startup Week’s Chase Basecamp at 1700 Pacific on Tuesday. The concept is called Common Desk – Anywhere, a pop-up office space leased on a weekly basis.

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CueCat Inventor Serves Up Craziest Video You’ll See All Day

Remember the CueCat, the digital media punchline to end all digital media punchlines? The device was introduced by the Dallas Morning News way back in the dizzying late-1990s when a feverish hysteria over the magical World Wide Web was turning the shaggy inventors of “slow and cumbersome” online streaming services into billionaire sports team owners. The CueCat was nothing less than one of the worst inventions ever, and it was Dallas’ very own daily that owns the dubious honor of having invested millions in one of tech history’s most buffo footnotes, a device that really only functioned as a way to avoid typing a link into a browser window.

Well, we can rag on the DMN for the CueCat all day, but perhaps their error was not in their own idiotic vision but in being suckered into trusting someone who was selling them an idiotic vision.

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Philanthropy Bombshell: Brent Christopher Succeeding Kern Wildenthal as Top Exec at Children’s Medical Center Foundation

In the world of North Texas philanthropy and fundraising, there have been few bigger names over the past few decades than Brent Christopher and Kern Wildenthal. So, heads were set spinning this afternoon when it was announced that Christopher—president and CEO at Communities Foundation of Texas—soon would be succeeding Wildenthal as president at the Children’s Medical Center Foundation. Check out the details over on D Healthcare Daily.