Welcome to Hot Metro Markets, a new series that delves into some of the hottest and fastest growing regions in the United States and explores the potential they hold for the home accents business. The first in the series is Dallas/Fort Worth, a bustling two-city region that defines a vast area of North Central Texas and offers a mix of big city, cosmopolitan flair and quieter, old-fashioned friendliness.
Dallas and Fort Worth are often lumped together into one major metropolitan region, but they are two distinct cities, separated by nearly 40 miles and a completely different vibe: Dallas is urban, cosmopolitan and business oriented; Fort Worth is a little more laid-back and relaxed, has less traffic and is closer to its Texas cowboy roots.
But the two cities complement each other well, said Doug Pleskovitch, who with business partner Adrian Wright runs Wright at Home and Wrare, two home décor stores situated in the Shops at Clearfork in Fort Worth. Wrare has a vintage and industrial aesthetic with a “male friendly” point of view; Wright at Home is a go-to source for gifts and home accessories.
“I think we have the best of both worlds in Dallas and Fort Worth,” said Pleskovitch, noting that Dallas offers the best in food and business while Fort Worth is a little sleepier and known for its friendliness and hospitality.
When it comes to shopping and attracting customers, Fort Worth has often played second fiddle to Dallas because of those differences. Dallas has a reputation for being the city that has everything, and many large retail chains position their A stores in Dallas and their B or C stores in Fort Worth, according to Pleskovitch, who came to the region in the late 1980s as a Pier 1 executive, a position he held for 17 years prior to partnering with Wright. Customers from other parts of Dallas, such as Midland, would drive past Fort Worth to see what was happening in Dallas.
“As a small retailer, it’s hard to focus marketing efforts on Dallas because of that challenge,” he said. He therefore doesn’t bother.
But once shoppers come to Fort Worth, they enjoy it. The dynamic is changing as Fort Worth gains more attention, said Pleskovitch. He attributed part of shift to the development of the Shops at Clearfork, which includes big names like Neiman Marcus, Louis Vuitton, Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams (whose store is four times the size of its Dallas location) and Natuzzi, as well as local and regional businesses. “It’s a beautiful mix of business that’s not common across the country,” he said. Later this year, American artist James Turrell will open one of his famed Skyscape structures in Fort Worth, just blocks away from The Shops at Clearfork, which will be another big draw for the area, helping to transform the perception of Fort Worth as a sleepy town.
“There are so many reasons to come here, that [perception] is chipping away,” Pleskovitch said.
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