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A private emergency medical facility reportedly has entered into a 10-year lease for the building at 1411 N. Valley Mills Drive where Johnny Carino’s restaurant operated before it closed this summer.

Staff photo — Rod Aydelotte, file

The Dwyer Group, a Waco-based franchising powerhouse, has bought two more companies for its portfolio, spokeswoman Monica Feid said.

It has bought Window Genie, a home service franchise, and Cumberland County Glass for its Portland Glass network located in Maine.

These deals mark the seventh and eighth acquisitions in the past 27 months during a time of record growth for The Dwyer Group, company news releases state.

“Cumberland County Glass, founded and exclusively owned by Ken Boucher, has specialized in commercial glass projects throughout the state of Maine for over 20 years. Now, Boucher and a staff of 20 will join Dwyer Group and immediately extend Cumberland County Glass’ commercial glass expertise to Portland Glass locations across Maine, Vermont and New Hampshire,” the press release on that purchase states.

“We are happy to welcome Ken and his employees to Dwyer Group,” President and CEO Mike Bidwell said in the press release. “We believe the combined businesses will now be even more competitive in this important commercial glass projects market.”

Window Genie was founded in 1994 in Cincinnati, Ohio, by CEO Rik Nonelle, who said in the press release on that sale he hopes to grow the company further with The Dwyer Group’s help.

“Window Genie offers residential and light commercial window cleaning, window tinting, pressure washing and more . . . with more than 100 franchise units operating in 29 states,” according to the press release.

The Dwyer Group, with headquarters at 1010 N. University Parks Drive, now has 14 franchise brands with more than 2,600 franchisees in the U.S., United Kingdom and Germany.

It enjoys $1.4 billion in systemwide sales and serves as the parent of brands including The Grounds Guys, Mr. Appliance, Mr. Electric and Mr. Rooter.

New McGregor shops

The community of McGregor recently lost a retail center when The Strand, a collection of shops on Main Street, closed abruptly.

But Scott Toby and his mother Jackie Toby have come to the rescue with plans to open Vibe Main Street Market in a 9,000-square-foot building they own at 216 S. Main St. Work on preparing the venue has progressed to the point that the Tobys will hold a soft opening on Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, Scott Toby said.

“We already have seven to 10 booths well on their way to being set up, and about 20 more have intentions to open here. We have 31 vendors signed up,” Toby said.

“We’re approaching this in two phases, the first being the use of 6,000 square feet, which is nearing being filled, and then selling off all the merchandise we had left from our days operating the Design Guild and making that additional 3,000 square feet available. We’re going to be aggressively selling that down in the near future.”

Sellers of women’s and infant’s clothing, antiques, furniture, gift items, home decor, Avon cosmetics, food items and health supplements are taking space in Vibe.

“We received the city of McGregor’s approval to redo our entire front facade, and we’re renovating the interior,” Toby said. “We’re not new to retail, but we’re new to this kind of concept, so we’re working with our vendors on layout and what they need to accommodate their point-of-sale operations.”

The closing of The Strand “is the reason we’re doing what we’re doing,” he said. “The Strand closed abruptly in late September, and many vendors had just a couple of weeks to vacate. The city of McGregor contacted us, told us the story, and we decided to roll up our sleeves and get after it.”

Toby said he would eventually like to expand Vibe to include the sale of outdoor furniture and garden supplies behind the building.

The Tobys are longtime residents of the Waco area, with Scott Toby’s father, Mike Toby, serving as pastor of First Baptist Woodway from 1977 to 2012.

Snacks N’ Suds sale

Five friends from Houston are poised to close Nov. 28 on the purchase of the Snacks N’ Suds convenience store at 2020 N. 25th St., which is right across the street from the Reicher High School football stadium and St. Louis Catholic Church, said Balkrishna “Chris” Baniya, a partner in the venture.

Baniya said the group also will acquire the vacant land on each side of the store, which has operated there for decades under different names.

Baniya said he did not want to go into great detail about the group’s plans until the transaction is complete, but he confirmed he and others hope to expand the store to include the sale of fresh produce and bakery goods. He also said they likely will place a meat market inside, with remodeling to begin shortly after Jan. 1.

“The store already enjoys quite a nice volume of business, which has been picking up since the grocery closed,” Baniya said, referring to Super Place grocery at Bosque Boulevard and North 25th Street, which was shuttered in 2014, becoming the third Hispanic-oriented grocery at that location to fail.

Baniya said a friend who is a real estate agent in Dallas told him about Snacks N’ Suds in Waco and its potential.

Carino’s site reborn

An emergency medical facility will go into the former Johnny Carino’s building at 1411 N. Valley Mills Drive, local real estate agent Pat Farrar said.

Johnny Carino’s opened locally in 1997, and in its heyday generated lines and waiting lists as it competed with a Fuddruckers hamburger restaurant on the opposite end of the shopping center. But business dwindled, and Carino’s closed in July after the bankruptcy filing of its owner, Austin-based Fired Up.

Farrar said Saturday that Tommy Newton with Xite Realty has brokered a deal to put a privately run ER in the 6,300-square-foot Carino’s spot. Newton could not be reached for comment, but the Xite website said the Texas-based company primarily serves emergency physicians and other health-care tenants. It has represented clients in transactions totaling more than 9 million square feet, the website states.

Meanwhile, Farrar said negotiations continue with Dallas-based Fin Development, which wants to place a privately owned emergency room in yet another vacant restaurant building, the former Chili’s in Parkdale center at Bosque Boulevard and North Valley Mills Drive. That Chili’s closed when a new Chili’s opened at South Valley Mills Drive and Interstate 35.

Farrar said companies that run private ERs see North Valley Mills Drive as a prime area, since both major hospitals in Greater Waco, Providence Health Center and Baylor Scott & White Hillcrest Medical Center, have relocated from campuses in central and North Waco to far West Waco.

Premier ER and Urgent Care has opened free-standing ER facilities in Woodway and on I-35 near University Parks Drive.

Free hotel rooms

TMI Hospitality, which is based in Fargo, North Dakota, again this year is offering free hotel rooms to those who have friends or family members hospitalized, in a nursing home or in a treatment center during the holiday from Thanksgiving through Christmas Day as part of its Room in the Inn program.

Hotels in the Greater Waco area taking part are Fairfield Inn & Suites Waco South, 5805 Woodway Drive, and Residence Inn Waco, 501 S. University Parks Drive.

TMI Hospitality has offered free hotel rooms nationwide since 1988. All TMI locations are participating, and guests must contact the hotel directly to make a reservation, as rooms are subject to availability. Those wishing to take part are asked to visit TMIHospitality.com/RoomintheInn for a list of hotels.

4-day holiday

A survey by Bloomberg BNA, a provider of business news, reveals that 4 in 5 Americans will be lucky enough to be paid and have the opportunity to sleep in four days in a row during the Thanksgiving weekend. This is the 37th year Bloomberg has conducted its nationwide survey of holiday practices.

“A full 4 in 5 employers will grant workers Thanksgiving and the following day off with pay,” according to a press release on the findings.

“A robust economy may be the reason behind so many employers being so generous with time off during the holiday,” Bloomberg survey and report manager Milly Huie said in the press release. “However, as is typically the case on national holidays, some workers are required to punch the clock, and this year 3 in 10 employers will require some employees to spend a day at the office.”

The survey also found that more than “8 in 10 organizations that have employees laboring on Thanksgiving will provide some form of extra compensation, including time-and-one-half pay, 36 percent; double pay, 22 percent; and both extra pay and compensation time, 12 percent.”

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