Best friends Markus Pinyero and Philip Sterling used to sit for hours discussing their entrepreneurial visions. Today, says Pinyero, they barely get a chance to sit at all.
“We used to have lunch together four times a week. I don’t think we’ve done that in months,” he says.
But these young businessmen didn’t get where they are today by sitting around. The shaggy haired, casually clad 25-year-olds recently turned their wishful talking into reality, setting up a couple of shops on the east-facing side of Mockingbird Station. Sterling opened the stylishly dark boutique, Centre, last May, and Pinyero followed closely with Urban Taco, an aesthetically uplifting modern Mexican food restaurant.
The friends share a house with two other 20-somethings. (Pinyero is sure his neighbors are suspicious of the four bachelors, none of whom anyone would immediately peg as a businessman.) Pinyero and Sterling wanted to be business neighbors because they felt they could bring out the best in one another that way.
“This is the slower side of the shopping center,” Sterling says. “We hope to combine our energies to generate buzz about both businesses,” Pinyero says.
At that, they seem to have succeeded. In fact, Pinyero is set to open up a second Urban Taco in Uptown at McKinney and Lemmon next summer.
These guys grew up in separate worlds — one a native of Mexico City, the other a kid from Fort Worth. Pinyero studied economics at SMU, Sterling at the University of Richmond in Virginia. Mutual acquaintances brought them together, and they shared a vision over which they bonded. Though each held a unique concept for his business, Pinyero and Sterling shared a passion for creative development. That’s where they were able to support and motivate one another. That spirit is helping them flourish, relying heavily on return customers who just feel good about doing business with them.
“We don’t have a recognizable brand, but we are building a loyal customer base. We rely on good customer service and delivering a quality product,” Sterling says.
Not only did the friends acquire neighboring storefronts, they also scored a pretty prime location with a healthy mix of clientele. Mockingbird Station is Dallas’ first DART-oriented development, says Mark Brinkerhoff, a Mockingbird Station spokesman. As the Dallas Parks Department continues to tweak nearby pedestrian trails, more and more traffic will travel through the mixed-use community Centre and Urban Taco call home.
One more note to those who fear the parking pains at Mockingbird Station: Brinkerhoff says a second parking garage just opened, making parking easier.
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