texasmonthly.com: 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.
texasmonthly.com: 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