The Daily Update: Tuesday, May 3

May 3, 2011 by · Comments Off 

The Daily Update: Tuesday, May 3 from SMUDailyMustang.com on Vimeo.

The Dallas Love Field airport is getting a face lift. Education budget cuts may cause more students to apply for student loans, and The Daily Campus and The Daily Mustang are merging. Find out all this and more on your Daily Update.

Fuel City: A Piece of Country in Downtown Dallas

March 4, 2011 by · Comments Off 

BEYOND THE BUBBLE

By Samantha Cangelosi
scangelosi@smu.edu

In 1998, a drive around town during one of his lunch breaks led John Benda to a patch of land and a big idea.

Benda, a veteran of the convenience store business, was cruising along Industrial Boulevard in downtown Dallas when he came across a plot of property for sale at the intersection of Industrial Boulevard and R.L. Thornton Freeway.

The image of the Texas he grew up on came to mind, and the seedlings of Fuel City were born.

“I thought wouldn’t it be cool to build a store to make money and then to make it look like a ranch, and do it in downtown Dallas,” says Benda, who happened across the plot during a lunch break while on jury duty.

Today, his vision has turned into a quirky establishment that represents the best of Texas. The property includes a model of an oil well, and longhorns and donkeys graze in the back of the property as country hits blast from the stereos. This one-of-a-kind convenient store brings the country to the heart of a metropolis.

“Fuel City is in an interesting part of downtown, but completely worth the trip,” says Zane Cavender, a Fuel City customer.

The Dallas County Jail is less than a mile and a half away,but Benda assures people that there has never been any problem.

“Fuel City is safe as far as a quick trip,” says Dallas Area Rapid Transit Police Officer Tomasa Williams. She recommends not lingering around in the evenings because there are some unsafe- looking characters, but at night it’s the safest place to be if you are in the area.

Longhorns at Fuel City (Photo By Samantha Cangelosi/Beyond the Bubble)

In 2009, there were 4,069 aggravated assaults and 41,481 larceny- thefts in the area, according to Movoto.com.

Benda opened Fuel City in 1999, and ever since then it’s been one of Dallas’s “must-see” stops, recognized by publications like the Dallas Observer, Texas Monthly and even television networks like the “Travel Channel” and “Fox News”.

“It’s a ranch, it’s a convenience store, it’s a truck stop, and it’s a fueling depot for the city of Dallas,” says Benda. He even has a 100-year-old windmill on the property, an antique.

On Fridays and Saturdays from 3 to 7 p.m. there is a karaoke machine said Elissa Cabrales, an employee of Fuel City. “It’s a good place to be.”

The store also boasts a carwash and swimming pool located just a few steps from the front entrance.

“I use to have girls sit out there in the summertime to lure men into the store,” says Benda.

Benda pride’s himself on a diverse customer base that he said he has developed.

“We are blended,” says Benda. “People from lower income, middle income, and higher income. Everybody comes to Fuel City.”

What Williams loves most about Fuel City, other than the fact that she met her husband during a visit there, is the variety of people that stop by.

“People from anywhere and everywhere.”

Delia Costilla, who has worked for Benda for over 15 years, says that one of her favorite aspects of working at Fuel City is also seeing the different people that visit the store on a daily basis.

Fuel City (Photo By Samantha Cangelosi/Beyond the Bubble)

“Fuel City is the place to be with family, “ says Costilla. “I try to tell the cashiers to be really friendly, and I think they’ve done their job. They are really friendly and polite.”

The fact that the place is packed with customers and the car wash’s multiple lanes are 5 cars deep on a recent Monday may be a testament to the store’s success.

Fuel City claims fame by its tacos. After discovering a woman who’s grandmother’s taco recipe was hard to beat, Benda decided to lease out space in his store to sell them.

“She sells more tacos, you know, thousands of tacos a day,” he says. “It’s 24 hrs a day, 7 days a week. Late night we’re packed!”

Cavender says that the tacos were some of the best he’s ever had.

“And I’m from Texas!”

Fuel City also offers corn served in a cup. Butter, sour cream, hot sauce, cheese, and cayenne pepper are just a few of the toppings that one can add to personalize the corn snack. The concept originated in Mexico, yet this treat has caught on fast in Dallas.

“When you come to Fuel City you get the tacos and the corn. You gotta have the corn!” says Cabrales. “It’s an addiction!”

“Most American people look at it and they are just like what is that? Corn? But after they taste it they see the difference. They just keep coming back!” says Cabrales.

Benda along with his son, Parker, 26, manage Fuel City. Benda says that he wanted to make this venture a family business in order to provide an income for his family and his family’s families.

When asked what is next, Benda mentions his desire to expand outside the metroplex.

“There’s a piece of land that we found that we’re working on to do another Fuel City.”

Fuel City (Photo By Samantha Cangelosi/Beyond the Bubble)

After 12 years of running the business, Benda now sits nestled atop the store in his rustic office loft that he built, relaxed on his leather couch, his back to a floor -length window overlooking downtown Dallas.

“I feel real good about where I’m at so, I just enjoy everything now,” he says.

The Daily Update: Wednesday, April 28

April 28, 2010 by · Comments Off 

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The Daily Update: Tuesday, April 27

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The Daily Update: Monday, April 26

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Q&A With William Tsutsui, Dedman’s New Dean

April 2, 2010 by · Comments Off 

Dr. William Tsutsui is the new dean of Dedman College and will assume his duties on July 1. (COURTESY PHOTO / THE DAILY MUSTANG)

Dr. William Tsutsui is the new dean of Dedman College and will assume his duties on July 1. (COURTESY PHOTO / THE DAILY MUSTANG)

The Daily Mustang’s Andy Garcia had the opportunity to speak on the phone with the newly selected Dedman College Dean, Dr. William Tsutsui.

Garcia and Tsutsui talked about a number of subjects including the new Dean’s experience with the selection process and his aspirations for Dedman College.

Daily Mustang: Why did you decide to apply for the Dean of Dedman position?

William Tsutsui: SMU has a great reputation nationally and regionally, so I knew it was a very good school. I also know it is the kind of school that will be making progress in the coming years.

DM: What did you think of the selection process?

WT: What was really impressive to me was from the beginning I really hit it off with the members of the search committee. I was really impressed by them. I also felt a lot of warmth there, a lot of commitment a real desire to work for SMU and Dedman College, to build it.

DM: How was your official visit to campus?

WT: It was fun. It was raining cats and dogs the day I was on the campus. At least I didn’t get the snowstorm. I didn’t realize how beautiful the SMU campus was. My wife and I used to live in Denton, just for a year, and so we had driven by SMU but never actually set foot on campus. It was amazing to see what a gorgeous place it was and to see how much energy there was on the campus.

DM: What was your reaction to being asked to be the Dean of Dedman College?

WT: It was just stunning to me to be asked. I had really hoped to get this position because I thought the fit was so great and I would be so enthusiastic about working at SMU.

DM: What do you plan on bringing to SMU?

WT: Dedman College has a lot of potential. I think what Dedman College needs more than anything is a leader who will really advocate for the college. Someone who can be out there on campus and in the community saying look at all the great things happening here in the college.

Tsutsui also expressed his support for the new General Education Curriculum, saying that it will bring SMU to the forefront of education.

William Tsutsui is currently the Associate Dean for International Studies and a professor of history at the University of Kansas. He will assume his duties as the Dean of Dedman College on July 1.

1-Year Anniversary: Thanks, Mustang Readers

September 15, 2009 by · Comments Off 

Today marks The Daily Mustang‘s one-year anniversary. Thank you, readers, for entrusting us to bring you SMU news via stories, photos, video, blogging and multimedia. Check out the Mustang’s five most visited stories of the past year:

5. George W. Bush and Condoleezza Rice at SMU, 4/14/09

4. VIDEO: Bush Greets SMU Journalism Students, 4/29/09

3. NYT Reporter Says Media Predicted Financial Crisis, 10/23/08

2. Inauguration Blog from Washington, D.C., January 2009

1. Bush Visits SMU Campus, 2/24/09

Bush Visits SMU Campus

February 24, 2009 by · 7 Comments 

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Welcome to the Global News Blog

January 27, 2009 by · Comments Off 

During the Spring 2009 semester, The Daily Mustang is pleased to be partnering with the “Communications, Technology and Globalization” course taught by Eric Van Steenburg of SMU’s Corporate Communications and Public Affairs (CCPA) program. Students will contribute weekly blog posts analyzing how technology is used in coverage of international news events. The blog posts will begin in early February. Please check back soon!

Questions for “Q”: Quincy Jones

October 8, 2008 by · Comments Off 

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