Shopping Spree

Writer-at-large Suzy Banks tells the story behind this month's cover story, "The Shops Around the Corner." How did the idea for this story come about? Suzy Banks: For the past couple of years, I’ve written the annual capitalist manifesto for the December issue. One year it was about the state’s great e-commerce sites (remember when online shopping was going to drive bricks-and-mortar stores out of business?) and last year, I dug up fifty Texas-made gifts that bucked the typical bandana-and-horseshoe design. This year, as we were casting about for a theme, Evan came up with the idea of “Buyer Be Where.” After much wrangling about, we decided to focus on great neighborhoods in the six big cities. How long did it take you to finish this story? SB: I started researching the piece in August—calling and e-mailing friends for advice, perusing Web sites, searching newspaper archives. Around September, I started on the fun part—trekking around to the different cities and scoping the goods out in person. I probably went to twice as many stores as I wrote about and half

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