Baker, Ahles & Kaskovich

Recalling Fort Worth’s first Neiman Marcus — on Camp Bowie

Neiman Marcus opened its new store at The Shops at Clearfork in Fort Worth on Friday, Feb. 10.
Neiman Marcus opened its new store at The Shops at Clearfork in Fort Worth on Friday, Feb. 10.

As the new Neiman Marcus department store opened last week at The Shops at Clearfork in southwest Fort Worth, we were gently reminded by a few readers about the luxury retailer’s first store in Fort Worth.

No, it wasn’t at Ridgmar mall, where Neiman’s closed last month after about 40 years to make the move to Clearfork. Rather, Neiman Marcus first had a standalone location on Camp Bowie Boulevard, which opened in 1963.

That event was well chronicled in a 2013 Star-Telegram story about Neiman Marcus’ 50th anniversary in Fort Worth by reporter Mary Rogers.

“For decades before that Fort Worth opening, Neiman’s had been the hub of Dallas glamour — an iconic department store that thrummed with sophistication. Even sales associates radiated an aura of refinement and elegance that epitomized Big D at its best.

“But the 30 miles between the cities might as well have been 30,000. The cities were divided by attitude and a staggering dose of civic pride. And then, Neiman Marcus opened a stand-alone store on Camp Bowie Boulevard on Fort Worth’s west side, and somehow Fort Worth and Dallas didn’t seem so far apart after all.

“In 1977, the store moved to Ridgmar Mall. With more than a dozen years of hindsight, [former Star-Telegram society columnist Lloyd ‘Cissy’] Stewart called the opening of that first Fort Worth store “the beginning of the Metroplex.” If the well-heeled crowd of 1963 had any reservations about a Dallas merchant horning in on Cowtown’s best turf, it quickly discharged such notions.”

Could history be repeating itself? The new Neiman Marcus, described as the most technologically advanced store in the company’s 110-year history, is the anchor for Clearfork, which is shaping up to be Fort Worth’s most upscale shopping destination. The open-air, mixed-use development has tentative commitments from stores such as Burberry, Tiffany, Tory Burch and Louis Vuitton, among others that currently require well-heeled shoppers to drive 30 miles to Dallas. Stephanie Allmon Merry

Parker defends missing Trump meeting

American Airlines chief executive Doug Parker said he was not making “a political statement” by skipping an aviation executives meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday.

In a letter sent to employees on Thursday evening, Parker reiterated that he chose to stay in Dallas for the carrier’s annual leadership conference to speak to 1,600 American employees about the company’s direction for 2017.

“Unfortunately, in our divided political climate, some assume my not being there was a political statement. Nothing could be further from the truth — I would have happily attended the meeting and would like to have been able to do so,” Parker said in the letter, adding that he was certain “we made the right decision for the people of American Airlines.”

Parker faced some criticism from employees, including American’s pilots union, for not attending the meeting at the White House. Allied Pilots Association president Dan Carey said he received a steady stream of emails and phone calls from pilots wondering why Parker didn’t go to Washington.

“Mr. Parker’s decision to skip the meeting with President Trump has shaken our confidence in his judgment,” Carey said Friday. “If President Trump were to invite me and other labor leaders from the airline industry to the White House to discuss the issues confronting airline workers, I would have only one question: How fast can I get there?”

Several airline CEOs attended the meeting, including Southwest Airlines chief Gary Kelly, as well as executives from airports in Los Angeles and Tampa. The executives discussed the need to reform the air traffic control system.

“We’ve spent billions of dollars on the air traffic control modernization but it’s not making any meaningful progress,” Kelly said at the meeting. “We are still using fundamentally World War II-era ground-based radar to guide the aircraft from a navigation standpoint.”

In the past seven years, the Federal Aviation Administration has spent $7.5 billion on the air traffic modernization program, called NextGen. The program helps design more efficient ways for aircraft to take off and land at some of the nation’s busiest airports, including DFW.

Wanted: DFW concessionaires

Do you have an Asian grill restaurant or wine bar concept? If so, Dallas/Fort Worth Airport is looking for you.

The airport has 17 concession locations at Terminal B, C, D and E up for bid and is hoping to fill the spots with local retailers and restaurateurs.

“As a leading global aviation hub, Dallas Fort Worth International Airport is passionate about creating an environment for our visitors that is welcoming, modern, bold, customer-friendly and full of moments of wow,” the airport says in its request for proposals on its website.

On Tuesday, the airport staff will hold a pre-proposal conference at the Hyatt Regency DFW at 1 p.m. where interested businesses can ask questions about the process and how to do business at DFW.

The airport said it wants to add a fast food deli, entertainment bar, an electronics store, a sports apparel store and a spa as part of this concession bid package.

Andrea Ahles: 817-390-7631, @Sky_Talk

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

Steve Kaskovich: 817-390-7773, @stevekasko