Have you tried Cox Farms Market yet? Is Duncanville secretly cool?

We took a little trip to Duncanville last week to visit Pursley Discount Fashion and Cox Farms Market, the locally owned grocer that is the anchor tenant of the Sylvan|Thirty development. To check out Cox Farms without driving the 7 miles or so to Duncanville, go to the “Taste of What’s To Come” farmers market at Sylvan|Thirty from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday, June 18. And see my review of the Duncanville store at the bottom of this post.

Before I went to Cox Farms, I wanted to check out Pursley’s. It’s a dress and fabric store that opened in Duncanville in 1955 and has operated continuously in the same place since then. Ms. Pursley died recently, but her store shows no signs of closing. Most things are on “clearance”, including all the jewelry, but it’s not a fire sale. Everything is always on clearance at Pursley’s. And they still have clothes in there from the ’80s, but I don’t know if you could call them vintage. They’re not second-hand clothes. I think they’ve just been there since the ’80s.

We used to go there to buy church-y dresses and suits for speech tournaments when I was in 8th and 9th grades in Duncanville. I went there recently to look for cheap fabric. I didn’t find what I was looking for, but I was impressed with how seriously old-school this place is.

This picture shows but a sample of what’s available in the way of sewing stuff. Hundreds of plastic cases filled with buttons, and Pursley’s has any zipper you could ever need. Seriously, this is just some of the white buttons:

It reminds me of the country fabric store my grandma used to own. Across the street from Pursley’s is the Duncanville Feed Store, which is an old, country feed store. I didn’t go in there since I have no business in a feed store. But it is kind of neat.

Next, I went to have lunch at Ben Franklin Apothecary, which is almost next door to Pursley’s. Ben Franklin has a pharmacy, and it’s where we used to have to buy those gawdawful gym uniforms with the red polyester short shorts in junior high. But the store got a makeover about 15 years ago, and now it has everything: basic school supplies, gifts, souvenirs, toys, children’s books, candles. I wanted these Don Featherstone pink flamingoes.

Instead, I bought a Hello Kitty toothbrush holder and a Mars bar and then ordered lunch at the soda fountain at the back of the store. Along with deli sandwiches, they serve shakes, malts and sundaes.

Then it was off to Cox Farms, which I had visited years ago, when my parents still lived in Duncanville. If you’re not excited about Cox Farms, get excited. They carry organic and local produce that is not overpriced. Plus, they carry a ton of bulk foods and lots of other things you can’t find at just any grocery store. I bought a bottle of flax-seed oil, for example. I also walked out with a South Texas cantaloupe, an artichoke, a bag of parsnips, sugar snap peas and lots of other veggies. If you go visit Cox Farms, you will be glad Oak Cliff isn’t on the radar of Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s. We’re getting this terrific little locally owned market. We couldn’t do any better than that.

So, is Duncanville secretly cool? Nah, I can’t let my self admit that, even if it were true.


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