Entrepreneurial Endeavors

Tacos, tutoring and crazy corkscrews: 5 small Dallas businesses with big impact

Tacos, tutoring and crazy corkscrews: 5 small Dallas businesses with big impact

All hail great snacks! Hail Merry is becoming a household name.
R Taco
This Dallas original makes a mean taco. R Taco
Need a mustache corkscrew? Look no further that Gypsy Wagon.
R Taco

One of the best things about Dallas is you don’t know how great it is until you call it home. No place is perfect, but Dallas doesn’t deserve most of its bad rap. 

Those not from around here assume that we Dallasites are pretentious, obsessed with fashion and not weird enough. (Thanks, Austin, for staking a claim on that adjective.)

But, from the inside, Dallas is so much more.

For you, maybe Dallas is about fabulous food. Or eccentric events. The outdoors. Maybe it’s ground-breaking (or, rather, over-the-highway’ing) city projects. 

But a certain group of people see Dallas differently. They view Dallas as a launching pad for dreams. And they’ve actually made them happen. These folks are helping to make Dallas one of the best places to start a business (including some of the women who are making this a best city for female entrepreneurs).

Rusty Taco 
It started as a simple taco stand. But now there are locations all over town, and this little Dallas gem is starting to expand across the country. I stopped by the relatively new location at Main Street Garden not too long ago and, for the eleventy billionth time, I had some brisket tacos. And I was reminded of how much I like what founder Rusty Fenton has going on over there.

Quick service, great locations, good food. I like. It’s easy to make a taco, but it’s hard to make a great one that’s worth writing home about — and, by home, I mean all of you.

Group Excellence  
“We’re not a tutoring company that mentors. We’re a mentoring company that tutors,” reads the website. This small company is making waves and, fortunately for all of us, bringing Dallas with it.

Founder Carl Dorvil is in his 20s. I’m not saying that to make you think this is out of his league. Nay, he’s in his element on this one — more than many older stuffy executives sitting in the high-rises around here.

Don’t believe me? Watch his TED talk. Dallas is fortunate to have this budding entrepreneur and his revolutionary concept.

Do you really, really, really want something on Amazon but don’t have the cash for it? Ask for it. You might be pleasantly surprised by who jumps in just so you can achieve your dream of putting a personal vending machine in your condo.

This idea was put forth by PayTap, a start-up that a tech-savvy group of folks launched in Dallas. The concept? You throw out a bill or an item you want and ask your friends to help you pay for it. Simple as that.

And, no, telling you about this does not give you carte blanche to send me requests to pay for your weird stuff.

Hail Merry 
First, let’s talk about the icon of this company. The Hail Merry Queen. An adorable little angelic character that resembles a queen chess piece — the most powerful piece on the board. And this is how they choose to operate: using unique (and delicious) products to also remind women of the power they possess.

Yoga-savvy founder Susan O’Brien (along with her business partners) took snacks from her kitchen into a litany of shops all over the country. Heck, someone recently put a bag of Hail Merry in my hand after finishing a race, which made me take notice.

The hard work is paying off. They’re everywhere, from small shops to Central Market. And they’re good.  

Gypsy Wagon
Ever been to a party and desperately wish you had a handlebar mustache corkscrew with which to pop open that amazing wine you brought? Ugh. I hate that. Well shame on all of us for not going to the Gypsy Wagon first.

Owner Carley Seale has found a niche in a sweet little spot on Henderson Avenue, where she regularly features some pretty cool artists and their work. Recycled, sustainable, eclectic, lovingly made — that describes everything in this shop.

I’m all for getting on the band wagon (horrible pun intended) of any place in our fair city that supports local and international artists of this caliber. More, please!

This is the tip of the iceberg. Fair warning: If these people keep it up, we won’t be able to keep our kind of Dallas a secret for much longer.