A Lake Highlands High School course is pairing local students and businesses together for a work-study program. A few local businesses giving back include White Rock North Private School, Medallion Animal Clinic and State Farm Insurance-Kay Patel. Amy Lowe, who is teaching the high school’s new Practicum in Business Management course, says the hands-on course is making a big impact on students. Because of the program’s success, the number of students applying next year is anticipated to increase, so Lowe is hoping to round up even more local business to participate. If you are an interested LH shop owner or office manager, email Lowe at amy.lowe@richardson.k12.tx.us.

Papa Murphy’s Pizza is opening on the northeast corner of Northwest Highway and Plano Road in a newly constructed brick retail center. Papa Murphy’s, a chain with more than 1,150 stores, is known for its take-and-bake pizza concept, although its menu also includes cheesy bread, salads and desserts. The company launched in 1981 and has restaurants in 35 states across the country. Customers can drop in and grab a standard menu item, or create a custom pizza to-go.

On that same side of town, S’Nails, a new nail salon and spa, opened in suite 1615 in the retail center near Kroger on Plano Road and Northwest Highway. To celebrate the grand opening, services are 20 percent off, and customers can currently get a pedicure for $16.

Doctors Express,
a national urgent-care franchise, opened its first North Texas center in November. Located at Royal and Skillman in Royal Highlands Plaza, the 2,515-square-foot center includes a triage room, four exam rooms, lab, digital X-ray and an electronic medical record system. Franchise owner Carol Ansley describes Doctors Express as “the convenient, affordable and easily accessible high-quality health care choice when [neighbors] cannot get an appointment with their primary care physician, or they need urgent care.” The center accepts most insurance plans, and is open weekdays from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., and weekends from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Walk-ins are welcome; no appointment is needed. The center promises that patients will always be treated by a physician, board certified in either family practice or internal medicine, and that most patients will be seen in 15 minutes.

After 20 years in business, Sweet Temptations Café has closed its doors. Owners Clare and Hans van Loenen opted not to renew their lease in the shopping center at Skillman and Audelia. Famous for its ST Crabcakes and Lake Highlands Rock Cake (often washed down with apricot tea), ST Café has been a frequent recipient of many “best of …” (fill in the blank: bakery, dessert, sweet treats, etc.) awards and nominations over the years, often credited to made-from-scratch icing and dessert recipes handed down from the original owners 50 years ago. An excerpt from a note the van Loenens posted on the restaurant’s website says, “Clare and I would like to thank you, our loyal customers, for the wonderful support you have given us over the years …You have become dear friends …we will close our doors with great sadness in our hearts.”

If you’re looking for another local favorite to fill your sweet tooth void, a few other “best” businesses in the same category are Casa Linda Bakery, casalindabakery.com (10819 Garland Road), and Cake Ball Company, cakeballs.com (10230 East Northwest Highway). And, recognized as one of Ellen Degeneres’ “Top 10 Cupcake” award recipients, Society Bakery (which now has a Medical City location) is running a delicious deal to celebrate its seventh anniversary in business. Throughout December, patrons celebrating birthdays with a “seven” in them (17, 27, 70, 1975) will receive a free cupcake or whoopie pie. Also, patrons who buy three products will receive a fourth bakery item free. Visit societybakery.com for details.