By Deborah Brown
The Greater East Dallas Chamber of Commerce presented its annual Business Awards via a Zoom Webinar due to the coronavirus pandemic. The winners for 2020 are: Business of the Year- Bowlski’s Lakewood, Meso Maya; Chairman’s Award – Dallas United Crew; Entrepreneur of the Year – Jeremy Turner (The McFly, The SLATER, The Topanga Airbnbs) ; Live Local Business of the Year – Dallas Coffee News, DELEON PROVISIONS; R. S. Munger Business Pioneer Award -Yoga-Art-Music; People’s Choice Business of the Year – CC Young; Runners-up: Dallas United Crew, Lakewood Veterinary Center.
The award plaques were delivered to each of the winners after the presentation ended.
Business of the Year
Bowlski’s Lakewood – Craig and Jen Spivey
Bowlski’s Lakewood is an entertainment center in the historic Lakewood movie theater. 10 bowling lanes were installed that were removed from a closed bowling alley in Mineola, Texas. In the balcony area, floors were leveled and 4 pool tables were added along with vintage and current arcade games, a private game suite, and a golf simulator. The projector room was turned into a speakeasy style bar.
The employees and management all live in East Dallas. They work with the schools, churches, organizations, and businesses in the area to host their events, fundraisers, and team building events. And they host “tons” of birthday parties too for East Dallas families.
The Lakewood Theater and tower was dark for many years before Bowlski’s moved back into the area. Bowlski’s saved the Lakewood Theater from being divided into multiple businesses.
Earlier this year, Bowlski’s won a Dallas Preservation Award for interior finish out of the theater and were on the cover of International Bowling magazine in December 2019.
It is a one of a kind environment if you have not seen it! Exposed bowling machines, suspended on a steel frame, with a live music stage above the bowling lanes.
Owner Craig Spivey designed and built Bowlski’s along with lots of ideas and suggestions from friends and families. He has a graphic design background and graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts. This is his third bowling alley and it was really fun to work within the restrictions of the historical classification of the theater and the importance it has to the community.
This covid has been really difficult on Bowlski’s since they just opened in August 2019. Craig and his family are all working hard to keep the tower lights on every night. He launched a new site to support local businesses, called saveneighborhoodrestaurants.com that focuses on East Dallas businesses, and recently launched a gofundme to help fix up the shopping center fountain.
He has lived in East Dallas since 1996 and currently lives Parks Estates where his front yard is lit up with the Lakewood Theater tower lights! He is a member at Lakewood Country Club and both children attended Saint Thomas Aquinas and his daughter is now at Bishop Lynch High School.
Business of the Year
Meso Maya – Jesus Yerena
Meso Maya has been bringing authentic, interior Mexican cuisine to the Lakewood area since 2016. From the herbs and spices used for homemade adobos and salsas, to hand-ground tortillas, to the entrees and sauces created from scratch, every dish is prepared with a reverence to the states of Mexico—glorious places like Yucatan, Vera Cruz, and Chiapas.
Meso Maya Lakewood has been open and serving the Lakewood community throughout the pandemic, transforming its operations to accommodate our guests’ needs. Meso Maya has been named “Best Regional Mexican” by D Magazine in 2015, 2018 and 2019. The Lakewood location specifically was named “Best Mexican” by the Lakewood Advocate in 2019. The Meso Maya Lakewood staff live and work in the Lakewood area.
Dallas United Crew – Dave Slear and Lisa Miller
Dallas United Crew’s mission is to UNITE and EMPOWER DALLAS through Rowing and Dragon Boating. DUC is the only inclusive rowing organization in the southern region through its programs and scholarships for disadvantaged youth, wheelchair veterans and breast cancer survivors. DUC was established in 2002 and since then has become the premiere rowing and dragon boating program not only in Texas but in the region. With over 300 participants in their programs annually, they are also the largest club in the State of Texas.
DUC’s rowers and paddlers are known regionally and nationally. DUC youth won 16 regional championships and qualified for nationals for five consecutive years. Their student athletes are actively recruited by colleges and awarded scholarships around the US. And they have sent rowers to the United States National Team. They equip students for success on and off the water with abundant life lessons learned in a racing shell: accountability, resilience, integrity and perseverance. Currently, 150+ middle and high school student athletes from 35 DFW area schools participate in the youth programs.
Dallas United Crew gives back to the East Dallas Community with numerous
programs: ROW DALLAS, a partnership with DISD, along with Gaston Middle School and Townview High School, designed to get help children succeed on and off the water.
FREE COMMUNITY ROW and PADDLE EVENTS, FREE VETERAN AND ADAPTIVE ROWING programs.
DUC is an important steward of White Rock Lake. They have received multiple awards from For the Love of the Lake for our shoreline clean up efforts. You can find DUC youth and adults out every second Saturday doing their part to preserve White Rock Lake. And DUC is routinely involved in different activities around the lake, manning tents and offering support. Taking care of ‘their home’ at White Rock Lake is one of their most important tasks.
Entrepreneur of the Year
The McFly, The SLATER, The Topanga Airbnbs
Jeremy Turner creates unique and original small businesses in East Dallas. His most famous is the Ugly Christmas Sweater Shop which has been an east Dallas staple for the last 7 years. It was featured on Good Morning America and Sunday night football. Nightline and ABC World news even did a segment on their unique hiring policy applicants are required to send a video of their favorite dance moves when they scaled to 3 stores and needed to hire jolly employees very quickly.
Now, he is pivoting to focus more on unique and experiential airbnbs. He has created the first ever 80’s and 90’s kid airbnbs and they are like walking into an immersive and experiential time capsule. They searched far and wide to curate spaces that create a nostalgic feeling.
For Jeremy, it is actually like making art as they are original and his intent is to change the way guests feel when they are in his airbnbs. Guests feel like they are kids again. He has been featured in both local and national press.
These original small businesses are part of the fabric of great places to live and visit. He has had countless guests thank him for making these immersive airbnb’s that take them back to their carefree days of childhood. We all want to have unique experiences that help us feel more alive and joyful.
These reviews from recent guests might explain this better…
“AN EXPERIENCE OF A LIFETIME!” -Courtney’s review, The Topanga
“BEST.AIR BNB. EVER.” Melissa’s review, The SLATER
“We will be talking and thinking about this place forever!” Crystal’s review, The SLATER
“By far the best airbnb in Dallas! Edgar’s review, The McFly
“The magic you feel when you walk in the place is out of this world!” Kaytie’s review, The Topanga
“The best experience ever.” Malcolm’s review, The SLATER
His wife Kelsey is an Art Teacher for DISD and she is a huge part of all his successes. She has done murals in each of the airbnbs and has also created the logos.
Jeremy and his family have lived in East Dallas for over 10 years and love it so much he owns the domain loveeastdallas.com.
Live Local Business of the Year
DELEON PROVISIONS – Kam And Teri De Leon
DELEON PROVISIONS is an East Dallas food company that was founded in 2019 by Kam and Teri De Leon. As working parents they understand how busy life can get; it’s hard to balance everything and still get quality delicious food on the table for your favorite people. They deliver scratch made meals and snacks Monday – Friday as well as baked goods from local bakeries.
They frequently give their time and talents to East Dallas neighborhoods, but it is often hard to know where Kam and Teri end and DELEON PROVISIONS begins. They are frequently called upon to donate or subsidize meals and events for local schools and nonprofits. They are always happy to work with the folks to stretch their budget, make donations, and sponsor their events.
When the Chamber’s LIVE LOCAL EAST DALLAS sign campaign was announced, they launched THE LOCAL BOX which is a premium version of their signature grazing boxes and features specialty items from five local craft food artisans: Charlie’s Treats, Hippos and Hashbrowns, The Jelly Queens, Village Bakery; and Wackyms Kitchen.
They have been East Dallas residents for 16 years and have become fully involved in the life of the community through connections with church, school and local organizations.
They are active members at White Rock United Methodist Church and Kam manages The Garden at White Rock, the community garden on the church campus. Chef Teri serves as a local celebrity judge at the annual Fraternal Order of Eagles BBQ cookoff benefiting the North Texas Coalition Against Human Trafficking.
Of all their community activities, they are most proud of the work we’ve done volunteering at Alex Sanger Preparatory where their two boys attend school. Since 2013 they have actively served on the PTA and various school committees, including the site based decision management team (SBDM), which oversaw the bond package for the middle school new building.
Live Local Business of the Year
Dallas Coffee News – Adam Jochelson
Dallas Coffee News is a weekly entertainment newspaper providing fun reading at restaurants for families when they’re out together. It also provides a budget-friendly advertising for local businesses.
Their motto is “Here to Enrich Our Community” and regularly promote community events that neighbors can each other and enjoy, and especially promote events organized by the police community outreach team. They also sponsor several local business networking groups.
Dallas Coffee News was awarded the Best In Action Coffee News publisher worldwide in 2018. This meant that in the opinion of our fellow Coffee News publishers across the globe, they were the best at getting out and doing good in our communities.
Coffee News itself is an internationally recognized entertainment and advertising phenomenon for over 30 years. Everyone in the group lives in East Dallas.
R. S. Munger Pioneer Business of the Year
Yoga-Art-Music – Y.A.M.
Jen and Trey Johnson
In 2019, Yoga-Art-Music – Y.A.M. opened to help enhance culture in East Dallas, and to help ensure that the reopening of the Lakeridge Village Shopping Center, located on Walnut Hill at Audelia, was a great success in reflecting a community focus.
Y.A.M. is a community center- unique for our area. They offer daily yoga classes, display and sell local art, have live music performances, and rent their space for special events. Jen oversees the yoga, Trey and Jen curate the art, as art is something we have loved enjoying together for over 30 years and Trey oversees the music.
But their legacy in Dallas goes much further back. Trey has been performing in Dallas since 1985 and was a Dallas music instructor for many years, and now owns state fair records which supports many Dallas musicians (including Lake Highlands John Pedigo and east Dallas Joshua Ray Walker), and curates music for the State Fair of Texas.
In 2001, Jen along with her brother Kurt founded the nationally recognized yoga system, American Power Yoga in a studio on Greenville Avenue across from Old Town Shopping Center. It was one of the first yoga studios in East Dallas. Students and instructors were trained in the revolutionary APY method, spawning thousands of yoga enthusiasts.
Y.A.M. was established in 2019 and was growing steadily in the first year of business. Yoga classes are in the daytime and the studio is open in the evenings for events and a variety of entertainment including musical groups, singers, and comedians. It is BYOB and closes at 11 p.m. so makes a fun evening for the community to come and enjoy and get home early!
The Covid-19 pandemic has changed the way they operate. They quickly pivoted all their services virtually and even offer special packages to companies that want to enhance their corporate culture. They now provide Yoga in the park, drive-in movie night, live virtual classes, YAM Cam, virtual art, and virtual concerts.
The yoga-art-music concept is unique – no other similar venue bringing all 3 of these arts together under one roof. They help the community by elevating and providing income to local yoga teachers, artists, and musicians. They hosted a Give Back day where east Dallas local non-profits have a booth to educate the community about how they can help east Dallas (i.e., Love of the Lake, East Lake Pet Orphanage (ELPO), Zounds Sounds – way into music!).
They have lived in the Lake Highlands area for more than 20 years and have two children.
CC Young – Russell Crews
A year of such promise, 2020 took an unexpected turn with the arrival of COVID-19 in March.
More than 100 years earlier, CC Young’s founder, Rev. Christopher Conley Young, was at the pulpit in 1918 when the Spanish Flu pandemic arrived in Dallas. He was quoted in area newspapers encouraging all individuals to find alternative ways to worship while the churches were closed. Like Rev. Young, CC Young has found alternate ways to do everything. Life goes on. Hope is not canceled at CC Young. In fact, in spite of it all, the campus is thriving.
As such, we are pleased to present CC Young with the 2020 People’s Choice Business Award in recognition of your commitment to those you serve and continuation of Rev. Young’s mission and ministry in East Dallas.
Runners-up: Dallas United Crew, Lakewood Veterinary Center.