If it weren’t for her Richardson ice cream shop, former teacher Patti Otte isn’t sure what her life would be like.
Otte and business partner Angie Conard opened Sweet Firefly at 2701 Custer Parkway in October 2011. But in the years prior, Otte left her job at Plano Senior High School to stay at home, and later her 2-year-old daughter, Kate, died unexpectedly after a brief illness.
Shortly after, Conard, who coached Otte’s 10-year-old son, Will, in T-ball, approached her with an idea for an ice cream shop. Now business is booming, Otte said, buoyed by the support of her Canyon Creek neighbors.
The area just to the east of Sweet Firefly — bordered by the Collin County line to the south, Custer Parkway to the west, Renner Road to the north and Jupiter Road to the east — came in at No. 1 in The Dallas Morning News’ study of the top suburban neighborhoods in the Richardson coverage area.
“Our customers are becoming my friends,” Otte said. “It saved my life, really.”
This northern portion of Richardson is home to or close to numerous corporate offices including those for Texas Instruments, AT&T, Samsung and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas.
It also sits just south of State Farm Insurance’s planned sprawling office complex, pegged at more than 2 million square feet, according to a recent Dallas Morning News report.
“There’s a lot happening around this area,” Richardson spokesman Greg Sowell said. “It’s really a center for a lot of what you see going on in Richardson right now.”
Spring Creek Natural Area and its trail system sit east of U.S. Highway 75, as does Sherrill Park Golf Course.
That proximity to the golf course was one of the reasons Don Bouvier moved in 1997 to Canyon Creek, which falls on the west side of the area. The schools, more practically, also played a big role, he said. He’s now the neighborhood association’s president.
Bouvier works as a commercial real estate developer in Dallas, but last summer he and five others from the neighborhood made plans to open a restaurant in the same shopping center as Sweet Firefly. Shady’s Burger Joint fired up its grills in April.
The restaurant received support from neighbors, Bouvier said. It’s one of many shops in the center that is locally owned, he said.
“It’s a testament to neighborhood pride,” Bouvier said.
Much of the neighborhood was developed in the 1960s and ’70s, according to Bouvier. It’s the kind of place where people can buy their first or last house, he said, although he’s noticed an influx of adults who grew up in the area moving back.