“We live one block away from Founders Park. It’s just so easy, and so convenient. I think of all the amenities at Walsh, we probably use the parks the most, and that has just been great for our family.”
Jason Emerson and Trinh Thai are busy. Really busy. Partners in both business and life, the couple own and operate a successful restaurant and thriving retail market with multiple locations, and are raising three daughters ages three, five and seventeen.
As entrepreneurs and small business owners, Jason and Trinh say it hasn’t always been easy to make time for family activities. Before they moved into their new home at the beginning of 2018, it could be a challenge for them to find the time to pack up strollers, scooters, bikes and snacks and drive to a park for a family outing.
“I believe it can be hard to be active with young kids,” Jason says. “It’s sometimes a hassle to get everything ready to go out. But now we live one block away from Founders Park. So we have no excuse not to just put the kids in the stroller and walk down the street. It’s just so easy, and so convenient. I think of all the amenities at Walsh, we probably use the parks the most, and that has just been great for our family.”
Jason and Trinh are both originally from Houston, but have lived in and around the Dallas-Fort Worth area for a while now. In 2012, they opened the Eighteen Ninety Grille and Lounge in a historic building in downtown Granbury. The restaurant was so successful that they soon expanded their business to include two locations of the Eighteen Ninety Marketplace, a boutique retail space where they sell specialty spices and gourmet olive oil and vinegar.
In 2017, when the couple decided they were ready to buy their first home, their biggest priority was finding something in a great school district where their girls could thrive. They also looked for a neighborhood that would be convenient, somewhere that would help them juggle their many responsibilities as small business owners and leave them time to enjoy family life as well.
“We were interested in the Aledo area because of the school district,” Jason says. “And we were also really looking for a community where we could walk our two younger children to elementary school.”
When they were ready to buy their first home, their biggest priority was finding something in a great school district where their girls could thrive.
In early 2017, as soon as the entrance along Walsh Ranch Parkway was open, Jason and Trinh drove through the neighborhood.
“We really fell in love then with the master plan of what Walsh was going to be. It was early, but you could see what would soon be the Athletic Club and the Makerspace, and all the sidewalks were in place and trails established. The elementary school was set to open the following year, so it was perfect for us.”
When they moved into their home, the first-time homeowners were just the tenth family in the neighborhood. While other amenities were finishing construction at the time, the Village Market was up and running. They quickly found it to be an essential convenience.
“I get coffee there quite a bit. And breakfast tacos, that sort of thing,” Jason says.
“And for getting gas it is just so very convenient,” Trinh adds.
The couple got to know the staff at the Village Market quickly. “And because we would talk about business and the retail stores we have in Granbury and Dallas, they said, ‘Why don’t you put some of your products in the Village Market?’ We thought it was a great idea and so we sell a few of our products there,” Trinh says.
Trinh says the friendly on-site staff is a big part of what makes the neighborhood special.
“The whole HOA team does such a great job of bringing everyone together,” she says. “The events they plan are fantastic and they are very friendly. It really makes us feel like home. We didn’t really get out to do many activities before we moved in, but thanks to Walsh we have so many great opportunities to do more as a family.”
Trinh says her family has loved participating in community events like the annual Christmas Tree Lighting. “That was really fun. There was a Santa Claus there and the girls took pictures with him. There were crafts for the kids to do. Having this kind of event right down the street is so convenient for us. The Fourth of July parade even goes down the street right in front of our house.”
After moving in, Jason and Trinh soon started taking advantage of the convenience of the Athletic Club and Makerspace. Because it’s so close by, it’s easy for Trinh to catch a yoga class at the gym. And the couple utilized Makerspace tools to make the elegant wooden signs that hang above the doors of their Granbury restaurant and marketplace.
As more and more neighbors have moved into their neighborhood, Jason and Trinh say both they and their kids have found it easy to make friends. Chatting with other parents during the summer weeknight pool parties is a great time to socialize with other busy families.
“The parents can just talk while the children swim,” Trinh says. “And they have food trucks and music. Movie nights. It really brings us together as a community and a family having all these activities available for the young children.”
Jason says the couple is thrilled with the neighborhood they’ve chosen, and are looking forward to watching it continue to grow and expand. He’s even got his eye on new retail development nearby, and can see their family business expanding to their own neighborhood eventually. “We just really love this community,” he says. “And it’s our intention to stay here for a long time.”
“We just really love this community... it’s our intention to stay here for a long time.”
Disclosure: Jason and Trinh were interviewed for this story in February 2020.