Photo by Sweet Life on Unsplash

Many Dallas seniors are still punching the clock well past retirement age. According to "Cities with the Most Working Seniors," a new employment study by business website ChamberofCommerce.org, nearly a third of Dallas seniors aged 65 and up are still employed, making Dallas the third-highest city in the U.S. with working seniors.

More than 44,300 Dallas seniors aged 65 and up are employed out of a total 146,297, or 30.3 percent of the city's senior population.

The No. 1 city in the U.S. with hard-working oldsters is Alexandria, Virginia, located in the Washington, DC metropolitan area, where 36.8 percent of its seniors still employed. Coming in second was Tallahassee, Florida, with 30.9 percent, just barely edging Dallas out.

To determine their ranking, the site examined the percentage of seniors aged 65 and over who were actively employed within the last 12 months, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Their analysis included data from 170 of the nation’s most populous cities.

Other DFW cities that made the list include Plano which ranked just behind Dallas at No. 6 overall, with 28.9 percent of the city's senior population currently in the workforce. That amounts to 10,178 seniors out of a total 35,245.

Arlington came in at No. 11 with 27.1 percent or 13,333 employed seniors in the workforce (it has a sizable senior population of 49,153).

Frisco came in at No. 17 with 26.2 percent or 5,180 of its seniors still toiling away. Frisco's relatively high percentage of working seniors might come as a surprise, considering the suburb was recently named one of the best cities for retirees.

The report says the median household income of a senior citizen in Dallas is $47,826, and hints at the rising cost of living coupled with personal extenuating circumstances leading to a new trend of "unretiring" seniors within the Dallas-Fort Worth workforce.

"Deciding when to retire is one of the most important financial and personal decisions that workers can make," the report's author said. "Before making the leap, make sure you have factored in your savings, social security benefits, spending habits, economic volatility and how your social life will change after retirement."

Four other DFW cities earned spots in the report. Irving (No. 29) and Fort Worth (No. 31) each have 25.1 percent of seniors actively employed, although that same percentage amounts to entirely different numbers of seniors in each city: 5,273 seniors in Irving, versus 24,301 seniors in the more populous Fort Worth.

Garland was No. 33 with 25 percent of the senior population under employment. McKinney ranked No. 38, with 24.6 percent of seniors employed in the workforce.

The top 10 U.S. cities with the most working seniors are:

  • No. 1 – Alexandria, Virginia
  • No. 2 – Tallahassee, Florida
  • No. 3 – Dallas, Texas
  • No. 4 – Irvine, California
  • No. 5 – Washington, D.C.
  • No. 6 – Plano, Texas
  • No. 7 – Anchorage, Alaska
  • No. 8 – Minneapolis, Minnesota
  • No. 9 – Overland Park, Kansas
  • No. 10 – Madison, Wisconsin

ChamberofCommerce.org is a digital site for small business owners and entrepreneurs. The full report and its methodology can be found on chamberofcommerce.org.

Photo courtesy of City of McKinney

North Dallas neighbor takes new title as No. 1 U.S. housing market, report says

Real estate report

When it comes to places to buy a house, you can't do any better than McKinney. So says WalletHub's highly anticipated 2023 report on the best real estate markets in the U.S.

The new study by the personal finance website, released August 22, names McKinney the No. 1 most attractive real estate market in the country. It's followed closely by No. 2-ranked Frisco.

Dallas-Fort Worth housing markets have dominated WalletHub's report throughout the years, showing resilience as other markets rise and fall. McKinney and Frisco have been in the top five since 2021, but the 2023 report is the first time McKinney has dethroned Frisco from the No. 1 spot, after ranking No. 3 in WalletHub's 2022 edition and No. 4 in 2021.

With a great housing market come new businesses. It's no wonder that hot new restaurants, coffee shops, and other attractions are opening in McKinney or choosing the city for new locations.

July 2023 data from Realtor.com shows median home prices in McKinney have fallen 2.8 percent year-over-year to $550,000, with homes selling for an average 2.03 percent less than their asking price. Homes are spending an average of 30 days on the market, another indicator that buyers are willing to hold out for that perfect home for the right price.

Potential owners should attempt to buy their home soon while sellers are more willing to negotiate on housing prices in the wake of higher interest rates, according to Kelly Snider, an urban regional planning professor at San Jose State University.

"More important for the housing market is that brokers and agents pay attention to what buyers want and spend less time listening to what sellers 'expect' or "deserve,'" Snider said in the report. "It is becoming a buyers' market, and 2024 should be good for people looking to buy a house."

Two additional Dallas-Fort Worth cities, Denton (No. 4) and Allen (No. 6), earned top 10 spots for the second year in a row. Denton moved up four spots from No. 8 in 2022, while Allen fell four spots from No. 2.

Other Dallas-Fort Worth area cities that earned spots in the report include:

  • No. 22 – Fort Worth
  • No. 24 – Plano
  • No. 28 – Richardson
  • No. 36 – Irving
  • No. 42 – Carrollton
  • No. 43 – Dallas
  • No. 53 – Grand Prairie
  • No. 70 – Garland
  • No. 84 – Arlington
  • No. 120 – Mesquite
The study analyzed 300 U.S. cities across 17 metrics in two categories to determine the best real estate markets. Datapoints include median home price appreciation, ratio between rent to sale prices, housing affordability, job and population growth, and more.

The full report can be found on wallethub.com.

Photo courtesy of Simpson Property Group

This is how big an apartment renters get for $1,500 across Dallas-Fort Worth


We all know what renters dream about when they’re not thinking about the logistics of owning a home: low rent prices with the perfect amount of space. In cities across Dallas-Fort Worth, that’s getting harder and harder to come by.

In fact, for renters who have a budget of $1,500 a month, the average apartment size they can get in Dallas spans about 805 square feet. That’s according to a new study by apartment rental marketplace RentCafe.

If you head to a suburb like Mesquite, Garland, or Arlington, residents can get the most bang for their buck with an average apartment size well into the 900-square-foot range.

Mesquite residents, by far, get the most space, at 999 square feet, whereas renters in the latter two cities get an average of 937 and 928 square feet for the same budget.

Renters might consider looking to Fort Worth as well, where they can get an apartment that’s an average of 909 square feet (almost 100 more than Dallas) with $1,500 a month.

The worst offenders that have the smallest space for the price are Plano and Frisco. Plano renters have to make do with an average apartment size of 766 square feet, while Frisco renters get even less space, at 740 square feet. That’s more than 200 square feet less than an apartment in Mesquite.

RentCafe’s study looked at data from their sister site, Yardi Matrix, to determine the average size and price per square foot for a $1,500 monthly budget in 200 of the largest American cities.

Here’s how much space you can rent for $1,500 in other Dallas-Fort Worth-area cities:

  • Grand Prairie – 873 square feet
  • Denton – 868 square feet
  • Irving – 848 square feet
  • McKinney – 809 square feet

Elsewhere in Texas, apartments in the Rio Grande Valley have the best price per square foot in the state. McAllen residents get the most space out of any other Texas city with an average apartment size of 1,471 square feet. Renters in Brownsville, which is 60 miles east on the border, can get a similarly sized apartment that’s 1,307 square feet for the same $1,500 a month budget.

Much like Mesquite, Houston residents can find apartments that are just under 1,000 square feet for the same budget. But that doesn’t go nearly as far in Austin, where renters can find apartments that are an average of 714 square feet.

The full report can be found on rentcafe.com.

Photo by Greg Williams

Surprising English pop superstar to perform at ACM Awards in Frisco

Getting his country on

England's biggest pop star didn't make the cut for his new king and queen's coronation concert last weekend. Turns out, he was setting his sights on a different kind of country royalty. Ed Sheeran will perform at the 58th Academy of Country Music Awards in Frisco on Thursday, May 11 at The Star in Frisco.

He joins a previously announced lineup that includes Jason Aldean, Kane Brown, Luke Combs, Cody Johnson, Miranda Lambert, Jo Dee Messina, Ashley McBryde, Dolly Parton, Jelly Roll, Cole Swindell, Keith Urban, Morgan Wallen, The War And Treaty, Lainey Wilson, and Bailey Zimmerman taking the stage at show, hosted by Dolly Parton and Garth Brooks.

The big, glaring difference being that Sheeran is not a country music singer - although he has collaborated with Luke Combs and Chris Stapleton, and has been spotted hanging out at Nashville's famed Bluebird Cafe.

He is undoubtedly a superstar who is in every spotlight right now, from recently winning a court case in which he was accused of copying the Marvin Gaye’s “Let’s Get It On” for his own hit “Thinking Out Loud,” to a new Disney+ docuseries calledEd Sheeran: The Sum of it All.

Currently on his “+ - = ÷ x” (Mathematics) World Tour, Sheeran also just played a big show at AT&T Stadium in Arlington on Saturday, May 6. Two shows in one week - he's practically an honorary North Texan.

A press release does not explain why Sheeran was chosen to perform at the ACM Awards, what he'll sing, or with whom he may collaborate, but it promises he'll be "adding an electrifying moment to an already-packed evening of powerhouse performances."

The ACM Awards will be free to stream live for a global audience across more than 240 countries and territories exclusively on Prime Video and the Amazon Music channel on Twitch (it'll also stream for free the next day on Amazon Freevee).

The show gets started 6 pm Thursday, May 11 at the Ford Center at The Star in Frisco. There are still a limited number of tickets remaining (starting around $400) via SeatGeek, organizers say.

As with any worldwide, Super Bowl-level event, there'll be many happenings leading up to it, including an ACM Lifting Lives benefit concert headlined by country music bad boy Morgan Wallen.

The Awards are being preceded by "ACM Awards Week," an entire slate of prelude parties, including:

  • ACM Country Kickoff at The Star, a two-day music and entertainment festival which is open to the public, free to all fans, and does not require tickets - May 9-10.
  • ACM Songs & Stories Powered by The Bluebird Cafe + NSAI, a private industry celebration of the top songwriters of the past year
  • A Dolly Parton-branded pop-up shop

The 2023 edition of the Academy of Country Music Awards will mark a return to Texas for the first time since the landmark 50th ACM Awards, which took place at AT&T Stadium in Arlington in 2015.

Photo courtesy of SmartAsset

Dallas neighbor is one of the hottest U.S. cities for retirees in 2023


Let’s think about it – you’re finally at the point in your life where you can retire, and you’re looking for the next home base that has just the right amount of tranquility to balance out the busy city life. In a new study, the North Texas burg of Frisco fits the bill, ranking as the No. 7 city for retirement-age folks nationwide.

In SmartAsset’s 2023 edition of “Where Retirees are Moving”, Frisco is one of two Texas cities that rank in the top 10 (the other being San Antonio, at No. 3).

This is Frisco’s first appearance on SmartAsset's list. The data show Frisco had a net gain of 960 seniors in 2021, with over 1,430 moving to the city from out-of-state while 476 left for a new state.

Only 13.16 percent of Frisco’s population is made up of people aged 60 and older, which is the lowest percentage out of all of the top 10 cities in SmartAsset’s study.

To be sure, Frisco is known as a family-friendly place and a hub of entertainment; it's got a new Universal Studios theme park on the way; The Star, home of the Dallas Cowboys, about to host the ACM Awards; and a brand new Omni hotel and resort is the mecca of PGA golf.

The top 10 U.S. cities where retirees are moving are:

  • Mesa, Arizona
  • Henderson, Nevada
  • San Antonio, Texas
  • North Las Vegas, Nevada
  • Boise, Idaho
  • Wilmington, North Carolina
  • Frisco, Texas
  • Miami, Florida
  • Jacksonville, Florida
  • Raleigh, North Carolina

Here’s how other Dallas-Fort Worth cities stacked up:

  • No. 53 – McKinney
  • No. 59 – Irving
  • No. 76 – Arlington
  • No. 112 – Plano
  • No. 122 – Fort Worth (tied with Fremont, California)
  • No. 124 – Dallas

The Lone Star State itself placed No. 10 in SmartAsset's rankings of states where seniors moved to and from the most. According to their data, Texas had a net gain of 5,542 retirement-age people in 2021. Our warm climate seems to be a major draw for retirees, but the lack of state income tax surely doesn’t hurt.

Texas’ most recent rank is a five-place drop from SmartAsset’s previous study, which looked at migration data of people aged 60 and older in 2019. During that year, Texas ranked No. 5 and had a net gain of 9,305 seniors.

Similar warm states without income tax rates that made it on the top 10 in this year’s report include Florida, who has claimed No. 1 since 2016, and Nevada (No. 7). Both states had much higher net gains of retirees for 2021; Florida gained 78,174 and Nevada had 6,814.

Besides the lack of state income tax, there are additional tax benefits for seniors in Texas. Social Security, public and private pensions, and withdrawals from retirement accounts are also not taxed. And though Texas has the sixth highest property tax rate in the country, senior homeowners can reduce that liability through the state’s homestead exemption.

SmartAsset's experts offered some advice for future seniors who are debating on when to retire. One of their tips was to avoid retiring in a down market, which may lead to "sequence risk."

"Retirees looking to avoid sequence risk may employ a range of strategies to delay or reduce drawdowns in a down market," said Susannah Snider, certified financial planner and managing editor for financial education at SmartAsset. "Those strategies can include continuing to work, delaying retirement, withdrawing from cash or other non-investment accounts, and opting to reduce withdrawals or delay big expenses during early years when the markets are in the red."

Photo courtesy of Frisco Square

3 Dallas neighbors lock in rankings as safest cities in U.S., report says

Safe & Secure

Real estate may be all about location, location, location, but when movers decide where to settle down within a large metro area in 2023, safety and security are huge factors, too. No wonder so many people are moving to Frisco, then. For the second year in a row, the Dallas suburb has been named the safest city in America by SmartAsset.

Neighbors McKinney and Plano also land in top five, at No. 2 and 5, respectively, in SmartAsset's report "Safest Cities in America - 2023 Edition." McKinney repeats at No. 2 for the second year, while Plano is up from No. 9 in 2022.

To come up with its rankings, SmartAsset studied data from 200 of the country’s largest cities across five metrics: violent crime, property crime, vehicular death rate, drug-poisoning death rate, and percentage of the population engaging in excessive drinking. They also examined affordability among the 35 safest cities.

"While popular restaurants and shops can be convenient in a neighborhood, safety remains a primary concern," the authors of the study write.

The National Association of Realtors backs up that statement. The group’s annual survey of homebuyers from 2022 found that 49% of all buyer scited the quality of a neighborhood as the No. 1 factor for determining where to live, ahead of both proximity to friends and family (37%) and - surprisingly - affordability (37%).

All three of the top-ranked North Texas cities have violent crime rates lower than 90% of the cities in the study.

No. 1-ranked Frisco, SmartAsset notes, has the fourth-lowest violent crime rate (95 crimes for every 100,000 residents) and the sixth-lowest property crime rate (901 for every 100,000 residents). Frisco and the surrounding area also averaged eight drug poisoning deaths per 100,000 residents in 2022, which ranked fourth-lowest across the study.

No. 2-ranked McKinney, (just east of Frisco) has the fifth-lowest property crime rate out of all 200 cities in the SmartAsset study. In 2021, they note, 887 property crimes were reported for every 100,000 residents. The city also has the 10th-lowest violent crime rate (127 for every 100,000 residents). And its drug poisoning mortality rate is tied for the fourth-lowest.

No. 5-ranked Plano (like its neighbors Frisco and McKinney) has the fourth-lowest drug poisoning mortality rate. There are 157 violent crimes reported in the city for every 100,000 residents, making it the 17th-lowest among the 200 cities evaluated for SmartAsset's study.

Perhaps surprisingly, McAllen, along the Texas-Mexico border, ranks No. 3, just behind McKinney and two places ahead of Plano. McAllen and its surrounding Hidalgo County have the second-lowest drug poisoning mortality rate (five deaths for every 100,000 residents) in the SmartAsset study and the seventh-lowest percentage of people engaging in excessive drinking (15.27%). The city records 179 violent crimes for every 100,000 residents, which is the 18th-lowest violent crime rate, the report says.

Rounding out the top five is Santa Clarita, California, which comes in at No. 4.

Other places in DFW and throughout Texas on the list of the safest cities in the country are:

  • Laredo, No. 7
  • El Paso, No. 12
  • Denton, No. 26
  • Grand Prairie, No. 42
  • Brownsville, No. 43
  • Arlington, No. 51
  • Fort Worth, No. 52
  • Garland, No. 62
  • Irving, No. 68
  • Killeen, No. 90
  • Pasadena, No. 97

Notably, Frisco is the only city to rank in the top five for both safety and affordability in the SmartAsset study. It has one of the highest median household incomes ($130,118) out of the 35 safest cities. That means Frisco’s median annual housing costs ($24,600) are 18.91% of the median household income, the authors note.

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Okla. favorite Hideaway Pizza tiptoes into Texas with first shop in Plano

Pizza News

A new pizza purveyor is coming to Texas where it will bravely enter the Dallas-Fort Worth market: Hideaway Pizza an Oklahoma-based chain serving pizza, craft beer, and cocktails, is making its DFW debut with a location in Plano, at 5410 SH-121.

According to a spokesperson, the restaurant will open in mid-October.

Based in Tulsa, Hideaway was founded in 1957 by Richard "The Big Kahuna" Dermer and his wife Marti in 1957 near the Oklahoma State University campus in Stillwater. They became known for making deliveries via a fleet of Volkswagen Beetles.

In 2006, the company was purchased by Brett Murphy and Darren Lister who've successfully retained the anti-chain irreverent spirit and laid-back atmosphere, with employees wearing tie-dye shirts. Their help-wanted ad, for example, says, "We're looking for Weirdoughs and Fungi's to join our team!"

There are now 23 locations across Oklahoma and Arkansas, and they recently made a list of the "10 Established Casual-Dining Restaurant Chains Consumers Love" by Nation's Restaurant News.

Expanding to North Texas made sense because the area has many OSU alumni as well as Oklahoma transpants. The owners also observed that many pizza concepts have moved to to-go only.

"The pizza casual dining space has been vacated by competitors chasing delivery and quick dining," Murphy said in a December 2022 interview. "Hideaway offers premium pizza and a fantastic dine-in experience you can’t find anywhere else."

For pizza, they have two crust options: thin and hand-tossed, slightly thicker and puffier. There are also two alternative crusts: GF and cauliflower.

Signature pies include 17 options, from chicken Florentine with alfredo sauce to the Capone, with sausage, pepperoni, Genoa salami, bacon, red onion, black olives, garlic, and their "Parmesan-herb shake."

There are sandwiches, pastas, salads, meatballs, and garlic cheese bread. Their fried mushrooms are a big customer favorite, and beer is served in frosty cold mugs. Their Sweetza cookies dessert are big boys baked in a six-inch pizza pan and topped with vanilla ice cream. They also have a full bar.

Following Plano, they'll open a location in McKinney at 2101 N. Hardin Blvd. in early 2024, and have Fort Worth penciled in next.

Famed Seattle piroshky bakery makes stop in Dallas on Texas-wide tour

Meat Pie News

A Seattle bakery is coming to Dallas for a special pop-up: Piroshky Piroshky Bakery, which specializes in handmade piroshki, AKA Russian hand pies, will stop in Dallas on a national tour.

The bakery will be at Outfit Brewing, 135 John W. Carpenter Fwy, on October 5 from 5-7 pm, with luscious offerings, both savory and sweet.

Piroshkis are small pies of Russian origin, made from an enriched yeast dough, with savory fillings like meat, vegetables, or cheese, the most traditional being meat and rice or potato and onion.

Piroshky Piroshky Bakery was founded in Seattle in 1992, and offer their pastries in all sorts of delectable fillings: from beef & cheese to cabbage & onion to vegan-friendly mushroom & potato. They make authentic pastries, as well.

Their piroshky are individually made from scratch and hand-formed into unique shapes that help differentiate the flavors and fillings inside.

The company has five locations across Seattle, and also sells their products online. Their original location at Seattle's Pike Place Market serves more than 20 varieties.

But they also make annual tours, just like a rock band, to bring their goods to towns across the U.S. They last came through Dallas in November 2022.

The tour features options such as:

  • Smoked salmon pate piroshky
  • Beef & onion piroshy
  • Impossible beef & onion piroshky
  • Ham, spinach, & cheese piroshky
  • Potato & cheese piroshky
  • Veggie chipotle piroshky
  • Chocolate cream hazelnut roll
  • Cinnamon cardamom braid
  • Pumpkin toffee braid
  • Caraway cheddar cheese stick
  • Poppyseed cinnamon roll

The full menu is online, and pre-ordering is required. The cutoff order date for Dallas is October 3 at 4 pm. There's a minimum of $50; individual items run between $5.25 to $7.25.

In addition to Dallas, they're also making three other stops in Texas:

  • Fort Worth at Martin House Brewing, 220 S Sylvania Ave. on October 4, from 5-7 pm. You must order by October 2; pre-order here.
  • Austin at Twin Creeks Park, 2303 Dervingham Drive, Cedar Park, on October 6, from 5-7 pm; pre-order here.
  • Houston at Elks Lodge, 10150 W Airport Blvd, Stafford, on October 7, from 5-7 pm; pre-order here.

Reunion Tower in downtown Dallas initiates action to save birds from dying

Bird News

Reunion Tower, the little ball on the Western edge of downtown Dallas, is famous for its sassy light shows illuminating the Dallas skyline. But in recent years, the building has followed a bird-friendly policy of dimming its lights, and that dimming is about to get underway.

From October 1 through October 21, Reunion Tower will observe the following lighting schedule:

  • Sundown to 11 pm: lower its lights
  • 11 pm-6 am: go completely dark
  • 6 am-sunrise back to dim

The building enacts these changes to protect birds that are migrating through Texas.

Dallas is on the path of the Central Migratory Flyway, which extends from the Northwest and heads diagonally southeast through Mexico.

Every fall and spring, nearly two billion birds travel through Texas. The bird migration is one of the largest on the planet, and takes place at night. Light attracts migrating birds, making them vulnerable to collisions with buildings and causing them to become disoriented and distracted.

Birds get pulled into urban areas, collide into buildings, and die. Volunteer surveys - in which people go out and count actual dead bodies - in cities such as Dallas, Austin, Houston, and Fort Worth, finds hundreds of dead birds every night. It adds up to nearly a billion birds killed in the U.S. each year.

Dallas-Fort Worth is the third most dangerous area in the U.S. for migratory birds to travel through; Chicago is No. 1, followed by Houston which is No. 2.

As this map from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration shows, Dallas and Houston are both massively lit, representing major obstacles to the success and survival of the birds' migration.

Lights Out Texas was initiated as a statewide effort in Spring 2020 to protect birds from light pollution by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and BirdCast, with the essential support of founding Texas partners Houston Audubon, the Dallas Zoo, and the Perot Museum of Nature and Science.

According to Audubon, the actual critical migration period through Dallas is September 6 through October 29. A glittery skyline is surely pretty, but downtown should just shut it down during those times.