U-Haul International/Instagram

More movers hauled their belongings to Texas than any other state last year. And those headed to North Texas were mostly pointed toward Richardson, according to a new study.

In its recently released annual growth report, U-Haul ranks Richardson as No. 15 among U.S. cities with the most inbound moves via U-Haul trucks in 2022.

The Houston suburbs of Missouri City and Conroe rank at No. 13 and No. 19, respectively. They were the only other Texas cities to make the list.

Texas ranks No. 1 overall as the state with the most in-bound moves using U-Haul trucks. This is the second year in a row and the fifth year since 2016 that Texas has earned the distinction.

“The 2022 trends in migration followed very similar patterns to 2021 with Texas, Florida, the Carolinas and the Southwest continuing to see solid growth,” U-Haul international president John Taylor says in a news release. “We still have areas with strong demand for one-way rentals. While overall migration in 2021 was record-breaking, we continue to experience significant customer demand to move out of some geographic areas to destinations at the top of our growth list.”

U-Haul determines the top 25 cities by analyzing more than 2 million one-way U-Haul transactions over the calendar year. Then the company calculated the net gain of one-way U-Haul trucks entering a specific area versus departing from that area. The top U-Haul growth states are determined the same way.

The studies note that U-Haul migration trends do not directly correlate to population or economic growth — but they are an “effective gauge” of how well cities and states are attracting and maintaining residents.

Richardson moved up from its No. 22 ranking in the U-Haul study last year, when it was also joined by Grapevine (No. 15) and Carrollton (No. 25) - the latter two cities have dropped off the list.

So what contributes to Richardson’s popularity with movers?

It could be that the city “has it all.” The Richardson Chamber of Commerce brags about the city’s 900 acres of parkland, extensive trail system, investment in the cultural arts, diverse array of neighborhoods, convenient Metroplex location, multi-modal transportation infrastructure and high-tech business leadership.

“The city remains dedicated to continuous improvement, as well as to the principles of open government and two-way communications with residents,” the Chamber’s website states.

Outside of Houston, Missouri City is known for its convenient location only minutes from downtown Houston, according to its website. The city’s proximity to major freeways, rail lines, the Port of Houston, and Bush and Hobby Airports links its businesses with customers “around the nation and the world.”

The No. 19-ranked city of Conroe is “the perfect blend of starry nights and city lights,” according to the Visit Conroe website. Conroe offers plenty of outdoor activities, as it is bordered by Lake Conroe, Sam Houston National Forest and W. Goodrich Jones State Forest. But it also has a busy downtown area with breweries, theaters, shopping and live music.

To view U-Haul’s full growth cities report, click here.

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Dismal winter traffic shutters Hurtado Barbecue location in Little Elm

BBQ News

An award-winning barbecue concept has closed a location: Hurtado Barbecue, the small local chain owned by husband-and-wife Brandon and Hannah Hurtado, closed its location in Little Elm at 100 Hardwicke Ln.

The restaurant shared the news in a Facebook post, stating that its last day was Sunday, February 5.

"It is with a heavy heart that we announce the closure of our Little Elm location," their post said. "We gave it everything we had, but after being forced to close with severe water leaks and inclement weather in a very seasonal town, we unfortunately couldn't recover."

"We're still open in Arlington and Fort Worth and will be hyper focused on making those locations two of the best in the business," they said.

Brandon Hurtado started his BBQ journey doing barbecue in his backyard, then graduated to a food truck before opening the first brick-and-mortar location in Arlington in February 2020. Bolstered by incentives from the city of Little Elm, they opened a location there in mid-2022, followed by a third location in Fort Worth in September 2022.

Their two locations in Tarrant County have both prospered, but Little Elm came with some challenges, Brandon said in an email.

"Little Elm is a lakefront town," he said. "They're incredibly busy during the summer with a massive beach and boat docks, but abysmal sales during the fall and winter."

"Our Fort Worth and Arlington locations are thriving, but I just couldn't take another day in Little Elm with fewer than 25 customers walking in the door," he said.

Hurtado's served its menu of brisket, ribs, sausage, turkey, and burnt ends plus sides such as Hatch chile mac & cheese and baked potato salad. Little Elm had one thing the other locations did not: a full bar. To no avail.

Some Little Elm locals floated theories on the location. "It’s that building. It’s cursed!" said one.

"We went there once a month. That building for whatever reason can’t seem to hold a restaurant more than a year," said another.

Beyond the building itself, others noted that the location was remote, made less accessible by a toll bridge.

"That location was too far into Little Elm for the price point Hurtado’s offered and not convenient even for someone who lives in the area. The same was for Kabuki who occupied the space before Hurtado’s," said a third.

"The truth is, you are in a bad spot because the drive is far out from most people. Most people didn’t even know you existed," said a fourth.

Chic charity pop-up shop unlocks new permanent home in Dallas Design District

Shopping for a cause

Dallas' most beloved home-decor shopping event now has its own home: Dwell with Dignity has purchased a new building in the Dallas Design District that will host the nonprofit's annual Thrift Studio, plus additional events, fundraisers, and programming.

The organization says in a release that the building - at 1833 E. Levee St. - will allow them to further their mission to transform lives by providing and installing interiors for family homes and community spaces. It will serve as a permanent home for the group's largest fundraiser, Thrift Studio, which, in 2023, will take place from late August to early October.

“It’s always been a part of our vision to give Thrift Studio a permanent home to serve as an anchor for our programming and fundraising efforts,” says Ashley Sharp, executive director of Dwell with Dignity, in the release. “Last year, we had our most successful Thrift Studio to date, and the event and the generosity of our supporters have been integral to our mission."

Held annually as a pop-up event, Thrift Studio features luxuriously furnished vignettes designed by North Texas’ leading designers, showrooms, and retailers, as well as a selection of fine art from dozens of prestigious artists. All of the high-end home décor items and original artwork on display are available for shoppers to purchase at deep discounts, with 100 percent of proceeds benefiting Dwell with Dignity.

The charity then provides complete home interiors for deserving recipients, including single mothers and those escaping poverty, homelessness, trauma, and domestic abuse. Since 2019, the nonprofit also has been lending their design services to help to transform community spaces.

With a new permanent location, Dwell with Dignity will be able to expand its reach and offer smaller Thrift Studio pop-ups throughout the year, the organization says. They also plan to host events and programs, extending partnerships to other nonprofits, local artists, designers, like-minded brands, and more.

"We’re thrilled to provide more opportunities to connect with our supporters while also connecting them with other incredible nonprofits in the Dallas-Fort Worth region," Sharp says. "We are committed to providing a space for nonprofits to showcase themselves and be a part of the Dwell with Dignity journey.”

One more exciting note for up-and-coming designers, marketers, and business students: With the purchase of the new building, Dwell with Dignity applied and was selected to work with graduate and undergraduate students at the University of Texas at Dallas as part of their capstone project, the release says. The nonprofit will work with two classes of students who will assist with marketing and supply chain/logistics management for the new building and Thrift Studio.

For more information on Dwell with Dignity's events, programs, and new building happenings, visit them on Instagram, Facebook, or www.dwellwithdignity.org/events.

Hallelujah to Ascension Coffee opening in former East Dallas chapel

Coffee News

Coffee is brewing on the east side of Dallas with the arrival of Ascension Coffee, which is opening at 9353 Garland Rd. on Saturday, February 18.

Ascension is the local chain with seven locations across DFW. This location is the one going into the former historic White Rock Community chapel, which was saved by residents and now has been restored.

Ascension debuted in the Design District in 2012, serving coffee, wine, and a menu of food all day. President Bill Schaffler says in a statement that opening in this area on the east side of town has been on their wish list.

“As we have thoughtfully developed Ascension’s growth plan, the White Rock area has always been a top-of-mind location,” Schaffler says. "We have experienced a wonderful reception from community members as we have prepared this unique location; we are thrilled to now officially be a part of the White Rock neighborhood."

A press release notes that the chapel-turned-communal-café makes great use of the churchy features, including vaulted ceilings and arched windows, with "pew-like booth seating" throughout. Praise to the press release writer!

The location also has ornate chandeliers, outdoor seating with covered umbrellas, fire pits, cushioned couches, and lush landscaping. Hallelujah!

Coffee beans: They roast their own beans in an operation is led by managing director Jessica Keenan, and go for not only excellent coffee but also prioritize sourcing from women-led farms.

Food: The menu is created by executive chef and director of culinary Jason Connelly, who was previously executive chef at the Adolphus Hotel, and includes All-Day Brekky options, Craft Sammies, and Salads + Bowls.

Hours: Along with the coffee and food, Ascension serves craft cocktails, wine, and beer specials and shareable snacks, making them an enviable hangout not just early in the day but later in the day as well, with hours on Wednesdays-Saturdays until 9 pm. Sunday-Tuesday they're open until 6 pm.