When guests arrived at the corner of Akard and Griffin in 1923, they were greeted by a different view than one will find today. The building located at 1108 Akard St. was home to the Newland Hotel and a Piggly Wiggly Grocery, anchoring the neighborhood known as The Cedars.
Now, a team of Dallas investors has returned that building, now known as Cedars Corner, to its former glory. They’ve been able to retain the century-old charm of the building but have created a mixed use space that again is poised to be a keystone for the Cedars as the neighborhood is re-envisioned.
The Cedars, one of the oldest neighborhoods in Dallas, has grown into a community known best for its artistic and inventive culture. The district has most recently been revitalized through an influx of independent business owners bringing art galleries, one-of-a-kind restaurants, and live entertainment venues to create a true destination. Cedars Corner is a key component in that revitalization.
What was once the Newland Hotel still retains the venue’s classic sign but now is home to 14 private apartments. The building’s first floor, once home to Piggly Wiggly, now serves as an incubator of sorts for an amazing collection of Black and women-owned businesses committed to bringing life back to this historic space.
“From the moment we saw the building, we recognized both its historic beauty and the impact it could have on this community,” said John Fainter, one of the building’s owners. “As we’ve had the privilege to meet and work with the creative entrepreneurs who now make up the Cedars Corner community, we’ve begun to realize what a rare and special group of people now call this place home.”
When Thai Morrison, founder of Koffee Day Spa, started her business, there were very few Black-owned spas in the area for her to learn from. Now, the celebrity aesthetician has her own line of skincare products and has been featured in Essence Magazine, Brides, PureWow and more. Services at Koffee Day Spa include a wide array of facials as well as scrubs, wraps and waxing.
Successful entrepreneur Michele Lacy chose the past year to pivot into pursuing her passion for arts and crafts. Lacy’s Break the Moldz teaches that anyone can be a creator. Her guided workshops, classes and projects include resin art, soap and candlemaking and even painting. The fun, collaborative environment at her studio makes it the perfect destination for a girls’ night out or other group outing.
Every dessert Val Jean-Bart makes is a loving tribute to the mother he lost to breast cancer. For the four years his mother fought the disease, Val and his mother made a new cheesecake every Sunday, and those emotional sessions eventually became Val’s Cheesecakes. But Val is leaning into his future with his new Cedars location. Val’s Kitchen & Pantry, as the location will be known, is not only a destination for delicious cheesecakes. The space offers an incubator kitchen where Jean-Bart and others will nurture creators hoping to get into a food business. The spacious kitchen is perfect for workshops, cooking classes and more.
What do you do when you love wine, and want to learn more? For the four entrepreneurs behind Distinctive Vines Wine Lounge, you open the first Black-owned wine bar in North Texas. The intimate lounge features a curated selection of wines and small plates and features live entertainment on select evenings, special events and more.
Celebrity makeup artist Destiny McGill believes that life is short, but your lashes shouldn’t be! She has created Vanity Life Studio to be region’s top destination for eyelash extensions. She is widely quoted as a beauty expert in SheFinds and other outlets. Vanity Life Studios is expected to open later this spring.
“We selected each of the businesses at Cedars Corner because they represented a vital and important part of the neighborhood we want to see The Cedars become,” Fainter explained. “But more importantly, each of them was passionately committed to creating a community here where businesses and entrepreneurs support each other and revel in each other’s success.”