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Hidden Gems: Central Dallas

Every day we have a choice. We can support an up and coming podcaster, try a new family-run restaurant, join a boutique gym started by a local fitness champ or we could keep giving away our money to the handful of giants who already control so much of our commerce. Our daily decisions impact the kind world we live in; if we want a world where small businesses are growing and artists and creatives are thriving then we should support them with our time, money and attention. We’re proud to highlight inspiring creatives and entrepreneurs each week in Hidden Gems series.  Check out some of Central Dallas’ gems below.

Valese Jones

Valese is from Birmingham, AL. A graduate of the University of Alabama, she holds a degree in Broadcast Journalism. She moved to Dallas, Texas along with her best friend in 2016. Her passion for public relations, media and marketing was cultivated at an early age when her parents required her to spend her summers in enrichment camps, learning video editing and public speaking. Read more>>

Martha Jackson and Nellie Sciutto

Martha majored in Radio TV Film Journalism from University of Oklahoma with a minor in Political Science. She wanted to be a reporter and news anchor, but fear of public speaking and other insecurities held her back. Instead, Martha spent many years working in advertising, public relations and marketing; eventually leaving her career to raise two children and volunteering with numerous charities including the National Charity League. Read more>>

Kristi McDonald

Sip & Shop Texas is all about building community! We love to shop local, support our local wine scene and build up the little communities around East Texas that make it possible. Did you know that East Texas produces EXCEPTIONAL award-winning wines? Kristi McDonald, founder of Sip & Shop Texas, is a small town girl, making big news! Kristi founded Sip & Shop Texas and works alongside local wineries to create the East Texas Wine Trail. Read more>>

Lea Feghali Garner

I hold a bachelor in Physical Therapy from Antonine University, a Master in Physical Education from the University of Balamand and a Doctorate of Physical Therapy from Saint Joseph University, Beirut-Lebanon. I am also certified in pediatric and pre-post Partum pelvic floor therapy through the American Physical Therapy Association. Read more>>

William Harris

After Helping the launch Mysterious By Npn fashion brand Dallas home Fashion X Dallas. Works in every corner of the industry: music, film, fashion, sports. Awarded top 10 Project Strategist for 2018 by Broadcast Houston. Texas Fashion Award Recepiot. Companies clients (talent) works with include: Brennena, Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Budweiser, Sony, Empire, Nintendo, & Verizon. Read more>>

Roz Stafford

Roz first experience with a cigar was in 2009. While relaxing in her pool, her brother in law David gave her a Java Latte. It immediately changed her life. In 2011, Roz and David opened a Cigar Lounge in Waxahachie TX called “Bonnie and Clyde’s Cigars”. In 2016, Roz became the 1st African American woman to open a Cigar Lounge in Texas. Roz is the proud owner of “Smoking Jacket Cigar Lounge”. Roz believes cigars is a lifestyle. Read more>>

Maya Hayes

I began as an entrepreneur at the age of nine years old. (Laughing) my oldest sister says truly at years old. I began with arts and crafts as I always wanted to be a fashion designer. Back in those days flea markets and yard sales is where I’d sell my crafts. This lasted thru middle school. During those younger years, I also fanned around the house. Read more>>

Chunky Bruwster

I started drag back in January of this year (2019). My first time ever performing was for a local pageant and the response I got was extremely positive and rewarding. I decided after that, you know, maybe drag might be something to pursue. I did a few fundraising shows, a couple of amateur nights and a passion for drag just grew from there. Read more>>

Chef Linwood Kennedy

Chef Linwood Kennedy born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia where he has the pleasure of being owner of an Atlanta based catering company, Eliza Catering, since 2002. He holds the winning title of the “2014 Culinary Fight Club Bougie Burger Battle” Atlanta, the “Food Fight Night at Avocado” Florida, “Beer Bourbon BBQ Festival Atlanta and New York” “2014 World Food Championship Pasta Challenge” 2017 Country Living Fair Stone Mountain, Georgia and Nashville, TN. Read more>>

Brendon Williams

My story started as a young teen watching my dad always being creative with many different foods. I admired not only what he created for family gatherings but how it brought him joy and happiness. Of course cooking was my passion but this one particular dish my family created everyone loved it. They loved our smoked chicken salad so much that it made me think of how could I get others experience this flavor. Read more>>

Charsla Garrett

I started baking for my Dad just on Birthdays and holidays. It was just something special to do for him. However, I had a bad breakup and needed something to take my mind off of the pain and heartache. So one day I was watching a tv show called Cake Boss. I used to be so intrigued on how he could create some beautiful things out of cake. Read more>>

Daphne Venters

It all started the day I got my pink slip the day I returned from vacation, April 1999..lol! That was the day I made the decision to enroll in cosmetology school at Houston Community College. I have always loved hair!!! I wanted to go right out of high school but my mom was not too keen on the idea. I was always in somebody’s hair in high school doing hair in the kitchen at home. Read more>>

Carolina Rodman

My culinary background started in 2005, I am Le Cordon Bleu trained and after graduating, I worked under the famous Dean Fearring when he was still (Executive Chef) at the Mansion on Turtle Creek. I learned so much about creativity, technique and how to be most efficient in a fast-paced environment. Read more>>

Jana James

After graduating from Paul Mitchell the School of Dallas and the Dallas Academy of Hair Extension Training, I opened my first salon at the age of 30. Even after all of my efforts, I still made so many marketing mistakes and was so unaware of the many marketing tools and strategies that are out there today. So, I continued doing extensive research about how to get things back up and running. Read more>>

Gifty Edwards

I learned encouraging people were apart of who I was. Words and the Word became something that I used to remind myself of who I was and I wanted to share that with my friends. Keys became the way I decided to share with my friends, so I looked up what is now our “Signature!” Matt 16:19- “And I will give unto you the KEYS of the Kingdom of Heaven!” There is Power in words and the Word you speak and pray. Read more>>

Torry Cray

I was born and raised in Las Vegas, Nevada where the hospitality industry reigns king. I grew up in the kitchens of some of the world’s best restaurants with my mom, and backstage at some of the biggest festivals and concerts watching my dad run AV production. Inspired by my parents work ethic, I began my journey in the same industry at 16 as a cashier at In and Out Burger. Read more>>

Ashley Beverly

I’d always wanted since having children: be a mom. Our son was finishing his junior year in high school and our younger daughter was a freshman when I decided to live that dream. How did we have less than two years before our son would be heading to college? How were we going to care long-term for a child with special needs? It was time! What I thought would be an easy transition ended up taking me down a path I’d never dreamed. Read more>>

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