Baker, Ahles & Kaskovich

Dalworth cleans up as Texas Family Business of the Year

Family members who work at Dalworth include, from left, Nick Hobbs, Shane Hobbs, Buddy Smith, founder and president James Smith, Rob Smith, Suzanne Bailey, and Josh Hobbs.
Family members who work at Dalworth include, from left, Nick Hobbs, Shane Hobbs, Buddy Smith, founder and president James Smith, Rob Smith, Suzanne Bailey, and Josh Hobbs. kbouaphanh@star-telegram.com

Dalworth has been a family business since its humble beginnings in 1976, when James G. Smith started cleaning carpets out of his used van and hired his mother to help answer the phones and keep the books.

Back then, she wasn’t sure her young son had entered the right field.

“I can remember my mother telling me, ‘Are you sure you wouldn’t rather sell insurance?’ ” Smith said.

Turns out he picked well. Forty years later, Euless-based Dalworth Companies is a thriving enterprise that has branched out into areas including disaster restoration and carpet cleaning supplies.

It’s also still a family affair, with a dozen relatives working there including Smith’s brother, sister, brother-in-law, son, nephews and nieces. (Mom recently retired.) All together, the company has 141 employees based out of its 5-acre campus along Pipeline Road. The company recently purchased a 10,000-square-foot building for another expansion.

On Friday, Dalworth was honored with the Texas Family Business of the Year award, presented by the Baylor University Institute for Family Business. Judges said they were impressed with the three generations of family participation and high marks the company has received from customers and organizations such as the Better Business Bureau. (Not to mention that unforgettable radio jingle.)

Smith, 64, said there have been many challenges along the way, but certainly also rewards from working so closely with his family.

“You’ve heard that family and business don’t mix, and I can sure see the wisdom of that,” he said. His brother Rob and brother-in-law, Shane Hobbs, joined him early on, and it quickly became clear that “though we shared the same values, we all had a different idea of how to do things.” Having his mother in the office, he said, forced them all to behave themselves.

As the company grew, it made sense for Rob and Shane to gain responsibility over new units. So Shane took charge of Dalworth Restoration, now the biggest piece on the business, and Rob was CEO at Professional Carpet Cleaners Supply.

As younger relatives have moved into the business, it has been important to give them time to learn and develop their skills.

“Patience is probably the No. 1 thing,” Smith said, when asked what advice he would give other family businesses. “It takes time for people to evolve into leaders.”

While he used to think that he would sell the business at some point and retire, now the longtime leaders are thinking about passing Dalworth on to the next generation.

Mayors head to Asia

Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price and Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings are taking their “do business in DFW” show back on the road.

The mayors will leave Sunday to lead a trade mission to Tokyo and Hong Kong to promote North Texas and the benefits of operating in the region.

“We greatly anticipate the deepening of existing relationships and the opportunity to forge new ties with our partners in Asia on this upcoming DFW trip to Tokyo and Hong Kong,” Price said.

The mayors have gone on several economic development trips together including one to Mexico City in June and visits to Australia and Germany.

While in Japan, the mayors plan to meet with the state minister of foreign affairs and Japan Central Railway, which is working with Texas Central to develop high-speed train service between DFW and Houston.

The Asia trade trip was coordinated by Dallas/Fort Worth Airport. Japan Airlines launched nonstop service from DFW to Tokyo Narita last year, and Japan ranks seventh for international visitors to DFW.

“Asian companies have been a big driver for the Dallas/Fort Worth economy,” Rawlings said. “More and more are recognizing the benefits of operating here.”

Firms merge

Greene & Ruggeberg has merged with Sutton Frost Cary, the Arlington-based public accounting firms announced.

Greene & Ruggeberg brings more than 30 years of accounting, tax and consulting experience to Sutton Frost Cary and will add real estate, tax and business valuation expertise, managing partner John Sutton said.

“Our joining forces with Greene Ruggeberg represents the coming together of two highly respected firms in the industry,” Sutton said in a statement.

With the merger, the firm will grow to 45 employees, including eight partners. Greene & Ruggeberg has closed its office and moved to Sutton Frost Cary’s Arlington office. Sutton Frost Cary also has a Fort Worth office.

Sandra Baker

Fast internet

Homes in Walsh Ranch in far west Fort Worth will have some of the fastest internet speeds in the country.

Developer Republic Property Group said recently that the 7,200-acre project will be the “first community in the country” to bring a minimum of 2 gigabit internet speeds to homes and schools.

The cost will be covered in homeowner association dues, Republic said. Businesses will have the ability to upgrade to 10 gigabit service.

“There will be very real, immediate benefits in education, community safety, for residents and to future businesses and medical centers,” said Tony Ruggeri, co-CEO of Republic Property Group in a statement.

Homebuilding at Walsh is expected to begin this month.

Sandra Baker

Andrea Ahles: 817-390-7631, @Sky_Talk

Max B. Baker: 817-390-7714, @MaxbakerBB

Steve Kaskovich: 817-390-7773, @stevekasko

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