People who live in Oak Cliff love to complain about the Bishop Arts District. It causes traffic. There’s not enough parking. And everyone’s favorite: Where is the art in the Bishop Arts District? Just like Christmas, in the most hate-able movie of the season, “Love, Actually,” it’s “all around.” Here are a few picks for locally made gifts from independent merchants in our neighborhood.
1. All handmade all the time
Longtime Bishop Arts merchant Julie McCullough opened her Harkensback boutique in part to showcase her own fashion line, McCullough. But many other things in the store are also made in the store. McCullough employs craftsmen and women who make leather goods such as this small cowhide hip bag ($168) and these cardholder wallets ($28). They use fabric scraps from the fashion line to make scrunchies ($6).
2. For the coffee lovers
Two Marine Corps captains, one of whom is a firefighter, and two Air Force captains joined forces to roast coffee beans, and Fire Grounds Coffee Co. was born. The company roasts and sells its beans at Tyler Station and online. For every five bags of coffee they sell, one is donated to a first responder.
3. Pick up a last-minute gift
Davis Street Mercantile opened about two years ago, and the detour from road construction on West Davis actually did them some favors, catching the attention of rerouted drivers. This enormous store, the venture of longtime building owners Kristin and Daniel McDonald, features everything from area rugs to bottles of hard-to-find soda. It’s full of North Texas-made products including T-Rex Pickles, Suckle Busters rubs and sauces and brittles from Tillie’s Old Fashioned Candies. The mercantile also offers gift-wrapping.
4. Gifts that seem expensive
Neighborhood store carries unique cards and limited-edition posters and artwork from local artists, along with furniture, home goods, leather wallets and jewelry. Deep Ellum-based BREDA Studio designs these chic but affordable watches, $100-$150. The shop also carries affordable jewelry from Valerie Morgan Designs. A necklace with turquoise beads costs $50. Gold and silver banner necklaces with Southwestern themes cost $100-$200.
5. Stocking stuffers
The triangular intersection of Tyler at Seventh recently added fine jeweler Mod + Jo and coffee shop Hola Café, plus a party planner and an aesthetician. Beatnik Fine Goods, with its large black-and-white mural, opened there two years ago, carrying a mix of less expensive clothing and accessories and luxurious items, such as original art and handmade goods. Owner Lindsey Munchrath has an Oak Cliff retail legacy as part of the family that owns Ann’s Health Food Center & Market. These geode-style bath bombs ($12) are made in Austin, by the family-owned Latika Body Essentials. To find lush bath goodies made right here in Oak Cliff, head to Pink Pedi, where the salon is chemical free, and the signature products include handmade sugar scrubs, bath bombs and body butters.
6. How to make friends at the holidays
You’ll be the star of the party with a 40-cookie tree-shaped tower of macarons ($95), or a festive box of six ($13.50) from Joy Macarons. Oak Cliffer Liz Lanier started selling her cookies at farmers markets in 2014 and opened her shop on West Davis at Tyler about a year later. The company since has added locations on Lower Greenville and in Fort Worth.
7. Perfect for party hosts
What does Bishop Arts smell like? Burn this soy candle ($30) from White Rock Soap Gallery to find out. A father/son duo started the company out of their house in 2014, with a book about soap making and supplies from their neighborhood hardware store. They opened a brick-and-mortar shop in Lake Highlands in November 2015 and expanded to Bishop Arts a couple of years ago. Any Oak Cliff candle story would be incomplete without Society, the high-end candle shop in Bishop Arts. Their Texas collection features candles named after Oak Cliff, Dallas and other Texas cities.