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It was probably the most beautiful memorial service most of us will ever attend, and it was totally befitting Ebby Halliday Acers, the Duchess of Dallas Real Estate as her pastor, Dr. Jim Denison, called her. The sanctuary at Park Cities Baptist Church on Thursday afternoon was loaded, as was the balcony, and I’m told it holds 3000. The church hall, which holds another 1000, was set up for the overflow.

The afternoon service was laced with beautiful music, beginning with a performance by the Happy Hill Farm Academy choir, Happy Hill being one of the many charities Ebby supported.

Mary Frances Burleson, president and CEO of Ebby Halliday Realtors, remembered Ebby first. Mary Frances started with the company as a temporary secretary, who Ebby asked to stay on permanently. Back then she said she made about $2.50 an hour — “Ebby was my graduate school,” she said. (more…)

Tom Thumb HPVHighland Park Village Tom Thumb

It’s been rumored for weeks, but today it was made official: Tom Thumb will close its charming Highland Park Village grocery store at Preston and Mockingbird in the next 12 months.

The reason? The store is small and outmoded by today’s mega-supermarket standards, and there is plenty of room for expansion. Also, Safeway, parent company of Tom Thumb, is being courted by potential buyers.

“We have enjoyed being in Highland Park Village over the years, but the store is small and outmoded by today’s supermarket standards, with no opportunity for on-site expansion,” Tom Thumb president Paul McTavish said today in a news release.

Ironically, the Highland Park Village store first opened as a Safeway in 1935.

With Safeway trying to “house stage” for a suitor, the company may well have decided that the store, a mere 18,500 square feet, does not have the revenue potential of the average 46,000 square foot Tom Thumb. There are other, smaller Tom Thumbs around town, such as the Tom Thumb at Snider Plaza, and Preston Center next to Park Cities Baptist Church, but perhaps the rents are not as high. McTavish also says the company is seeking a location to build a full-sized Tom Thumb in the neighborhood.

There is also a Simon David at Inwood and University.

Personally, I like the smaller stores. The fifth and newest Central Market in the Dallas area is on the southeast corner of Royal Lane and Preston Road in the Preston Oaks shopping center.  The space is approximately 30,000 square feet. That’s smaller than the average 45,000 square foot super market, but in my humble opinion, much more efficient. The huge stores have way too many choices, way too many aisles to temp us into buying.

Which is why, perhaps, an 18,500 square foot store cannot be as profitable.

Dallas is one of the most competitive grocery markets in the country. Apparently, it’s a real slug-fest in the grocery store biz. The nation’s supermarket competitors are duking it out harder than ever to:

“enhance their performance and accelerate market share. Gaining an edge over the many faces of competition in the present era, however, requires an ever more delicate balancing act between price, selection and service on one end and cost containment, capital investments in people, facilities and shopper engagement strategies on the other, to attract and retain a strong customer base.”

Rumor (RUMOR!) has it a Dean&Deluca New York-style deli will go into the Tom Thumb space, giving a place to buy a little milk, juice, fruit, black & white cookies and hopefully some great New York City bagels.

There’s nothing like a great New York deli bagel to help you feel better. Skillerns Corner