The Burger King at Valley Mills and Wooded Acres drives is serving again after a 60-day remodel by its new owners, Chicago-based Ampler Burgers LLC, which owns 42 restaurants in Texas and New Mexico.

Ampler director of operations Matthew Bars said the establishment now reflects the chain’s new Garden Grille prototype that features more interior open space, an abundance of earth tones, wood-top tables and soft lighting that should make it more appealing.

“We determined that its prior image needed updating, and we wanted to include it in remodeling efforts we’re also carrying out in Laredo, El Paso and Albuquerque,” Bars said. “That location is doing well, has loyal customers, and other restaurants in the area are getting remodels. We wanted to keep up with the Joneses.”

Ampler plans to build two new Burger Kings in the Killeen-Temple area, according to a press release.

“We’re extremely excited to improve our image in Waco and continue to provide employment opportunities to the area,” Bars said.

The remodels and new builds will create 100 jobs in Central Texas, and about 35 people will work at the newly renovated Waco site, he said.

A grand reopening for the Burger King on Valley Mills Drive is scheduled from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Dec. 9, with activities to include food sampling, face painting and a balloon artists. The first 100 dine-in guests will receive a free vanilla ice cream cone, according to promotional material.

The remodeled Waco restaurant also features free Wi-Fi and PlayStation 4 gaming consoles, Bars said. The upgrades did not include tweaking the menu.

BU entrepreneurship

Students wanting to launch their own business have an honor-winning ally in Baylor University, according to The Princeton Review’s ranking of colleges offering entrepreneurship coursework featured in Entrepreneur magazine.

Baylor’s program in the Hankamer School of Business was ranked ninth on the list of “Top 25 Undergraduate Schools for Entrepreneurship of 2018,” according to a press release from the school.

The feature in Entrepreneur magazine includes detailed information about each of the top entrepreneurship programs nationally.

The John F. Baugh Center for Entrepreneurship and Free Enterprise at Baylor was established in 1977, and the undergraduate program now offers 31 courses. Over the past five years, graduates have started 280 companies and collectively raised $50 million. Over the past 10 years, graduates have launched 500 companies and raised almost $70 million, according to the press release.

Each of Baylor’s entrepreneurship faculty members has started, bought or run a successful business, and 175 mentors have collaborated with students on their efforts to launch a venture, the press release states.

SubZero opens

SubZero, a small but growing chain that specializes in producing ice cream and other frozen treats using liquid nitrogen, has opened at Franklin Avenue and University Parks Drive, next to Fuzzy’s Taco Shop, said businessman Trent Weaver, who owns the building that houses both.

The product is instantly frozen at minus-321 degrees Fahrenheit, “meaning there is no wait time, no ice crystals, only creamy smoothness,” according to the company’s website.

The menu features creations including Mass Mocha Madness, Banana Cream Pie Bismuth, Magnetic Mint, Cherry Charge, Key Lime Voltage and Strawberry Sigma.

About 36 flavors are offered, along with almost that many “add-ins,” such as fruit, candy and nuts.

Ironman impact

It was recently announced that Waco will host an Ironman 70.3-mile race on Oct. 28, with Indian Spring Park serving as the staging site.

The “half-Ironman” event will include a 1.2-mile swim, a 56-mile single-loop bike course and a 13.1-mile double-loop run.

Will Phipps, executive director of the Greater Waco Sports Commission, said the race likely will attract 2,500 athletes, “95 percent of whom will come from outside McLennan County,” as well as 7,500 spectators.

The economic impact will approach $5 million, considering hotel stays and restaurant visits, Phipps said. Participants likely will start arriving on the Thursday before the Sunday race.

The $5 million impact includes a multiplier calculated by Baylor University economist Tom Kelly. It accounts for the impact of money changing hands several times as it makes its way through the economy, Phipps said.

Charming Charlie

The Charming Charlie store in Central Texas Marketplace is one of about 100 underperforming stores the chain plans to close.

Founded in 2004, Charming Charlie sells fashion accessories including jewelry, handbags, eyewear, scarves, shoes and more, according to the company website. The Waco location is scheduled to close Dec. 31, according to information provided by the chain.

Charming Charlie is one of 22 retailers identified by Money magazine and the Moody’s investment company as being “at serious risk of bankruptcy,” according to an article published in June.

Other chains on the list that have a local presence include Charlotte Russe, David’s Bridal, 99 Cents Only Stores and Sears Holdings.

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