In Texas the ultimate arbiter of good taste has always been Neiman Marcus, the Dallas-based department store that marks its ninetieth birthday next year. Neiman’s is known for the high quality of its apparel and jewelry and its unusual assortment of gifts and goodies, which shine most brightly in the store’s annual Christmas catalog. Every year the slick wish- book wows shoppers, particularly with the traditional His and Her gifts, which gently spoof Texas excess.
THE FOUR THOUSAND FANS who filled the Austin Music Hall for Bob Dylan’s two performances in October can thank the state’s premier concert promoter, Pace Entertainment, for bringing the rock legend to Texas for the second time in twelve months. Of course, they paid for the privilege—a top ticket price of $50, as a matter of fact. But hey, we’re talking Bob Dylan here! Besides, compared with the $100 top for 1994’s Eagles reunion tour, another Pace show, Dylan was a bargain.
THERE’S A NEW BUZZ IN THE BEER BUSINESS, and it’s creating some strange bedfellows. Though more than three quarters of beer drinkers still buy premium domestic brands like Budweiser, Miller, and Coors, sales of those labels have remained flat for most of this decade while those of so-called craft (or specialty) beers have quadrupled. The demand for alternatives to the typical watery brews has grocery stores making room for a jungle of flavorful specialties from Rhino Chaser Peach Wheat to Beartooth Blueberry Lager.
The Dallas Cowboys began the season struggling on the scoreboard, but they’ve continued to score big on the balance sheet. In a coup reminiscent of his deals with Pepsi and Nike, owner Jerry Jones has made an as-yet unannounced deal to designate Columbia/HCA Healthcare Corporation as the team’s official medical provider. This means that Columbia can use the relationship, along with the Cowboys’ helmet and logo, for promotional purposes—for a price, of course.
“BOY, I ENJOY THIS, EARLY IN THE MORNING,” Vernon Bates declares as he gazes up at the rash of stars that sheds the barest light on his trawler, which is plowing east toward where we might expect to find the sun in an hour or so. The 67-year-old shrimper sips his coffee, then makes a vague gesture toward the sky. “Last fall, up to the northwest over there, I saw the space shuttle on its way to Florida,” he says. “A single white stream, with a tail on it that must’ve been five miles long. Man, that was something.”
FOR RICHARD GARRIOTT, real life sometimes looks a lot like a computer game. Consider what happened one night last March at Britannia Manor, his custom-built home in the hills of Northwest Austin. Garriott had retired around midnight, after an evening of watching comets from the observatory at the top of the house, when the doorbell rang. Using a lens from a telescope to see into the night, he peered out the living-room window and spotted a stranger circling the house.
EVER SINCE American Airlines CEO Robert Crandall announced in June that the British were coming—that Fort Worth-based American planned to team up with British Airways to share routes, passengers, and revenue—he’s been as popular as an airline meal. “Unfair competition,” cry attorneys for USAir. “Legalized price-fixing,” charges Continental Airlines GEO Gordon Bethune.
THIS WAS SUPPOSED TO BE THE YEAR that Lionel Sosa slowed down. Over a quarter century, the diminutive man with the dancing eyes had built a successful career by advising such clients as Coca-Cola, Sprint, Burger King, American Airlines, and Polaroid on how to reach the growing number of Latino consumers in the United States. In time, he turned his San Antonio advertising agency, Sosa, Bromley, Aguilar, Noble, and Associates, into the largest Hispanic agency in the U.S., with annual billings of more than $100 million.
EVERY FEW MONTHS, I get a phone call from Fort Worth’s Richard Rainwater, one of the most powerful corporate dealmakers in the country. He tells me he has received my latest letter and, no, he is still not going to do an interview—but he has enjoyed hearing from me anyway. He always seems in the best of spirits. Once he called me from an airplane to say he was on his way to watch a drag race. Another time he called from Rome, where he and wife, Darla, a former Chemical Bank executive he calls Little Precious, were on vacation.
FRANK SMITH, JR., the owner of nbc affiliate kris in Corpus Christi, knew he’d be making history of a sort when he helped topple the distilled spirits industry’s 48-year-old self-imposed ban on advertising liquor on network television. It was 9:58 p.m. on June 9, between a basketball game and the ten o’clock news, when his station first aired a commercial for Seagram’s Crown Royal whiskey. The ad featured two vizslas (weimaraner-like dogs) in a solemn graduation ceremony from obedience school.