Those planning to shop at Waco’s Richland Mall with to the arrival of the holidays may not realize it has added three new stores since December of last year, and the Shoe Department store has expanded and relocated to an area near the food court on the Sears-anchored end of the 708,000-square-foot retail center.

New arrivals include H&M, which bills itself as one of the world’s largest fashion retailers and took 21,000 square feet next to Forever 21; Francesca’s, which sells women’s dresses, shoes and accessories and took space next to Victoria’s Secret; and Earthbound Trading Co., which sells clothing, home accessories, and gift and novelty items and which now occupies the former Vanity location inside the mall at Waco Drive and State Highway 6, marketing director Brad King said.

An eatery called Greek Grill is another relatively new tenant at Richland Mall, and the Chinese Relax Station that operates in the traffic area of the mall will move into a space of its own near Bealls, possibly as early as this week, said King, adding the mall is talking with at least two other prospects to lease space in the center.

King said the stores and Greek Grill have signed long-term leases and are not seasonal additions that routinely arrive this time of year.

The future of the Aeropostale store in the mall remains uncertain. It advertised a 70 percent discount on all merchandise during the Black Friday weekend as part of a store-closing sale in the wake of Aeropostale’s Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing. But Fortune.com is reporting a consortium of buyers may rescue up to 230 of Aeropostale’s 800 locations.

Shoppers may have noticed that Forever 21 has opened a second location in the Waco market, the new one now operating at Central Texas Marketplace.

The marketplace version is one of the chain’s new “F21 Red” stores that offers deeper discounts than those of traditional Forever 21 sites.

Baylor entrepreneurs

Baylor University’s entrepreneurship program in the Hankamer School of Business continues to make waves nationally.

In 2007, it was ranked 23rd in the nation by Entrepreneur magazine and The Princeton Review. A year later, the program moved up to No. 12 nationally. And in 2009, it cracked the top five for the first time. And it has never left, according to a report released last week by the school.

For the eighth straight year, Baylor entrepreneurship is ranked among the top-five undergraduate entrepreneurship programs; this year, Baylor sits at No. 5.

During the past five years, Baylor entrepreneurship graduates have started almost 300 companies and collectively raised about $30 million in funding. Every undergraduate professor in the program has started, bought and/or run his or her own business, and more than 150 individuals work with students through a mentoring program.

Programs that the school says help it stand apart from other colleges and universities include Accelerated Ventures, a two-semester experience that enables students to create real companies with actual products and services, while also receiving revenue; the Institute for Family Business, which studies and promotes family-owned companies; and something called i5, an interdisciplinary program that introduces students to the growing market in China, according to information provided by Baylor.

Those wanting more information about entrepreneurship at Baylor may visit baylor.edu/business/entrepreneurship.

New Waco food truck

A new food truck called The Blasian Asian has opened at Franklin Avenue and University Parks Drive to serve authentic Cambodian food prepared by Chavrat “Chevy” Dubose, a native of Cambodia who moved to Waco from Seattle, Washington, with her husband, Michael Dubose.

“Our first day of business was Tuesday, and it actually went very well. I think word had gotten around about our food trailer, which is pretty exotic. A lot of people were taking pictures of it,” said Michael Dubose, who was transferred to Waco by his previous employer, Terex, which has announced it will close its Waco operations.

Dubose said he quit the company before the announcement, saying he wanted to support his wife’s efforts to open a food trailer.

He said Chavrat craved authentic Cambodian food, could not find it in Waco but did locate the ingredients she needed to prepare entrees herself. Those who sampled her dishes encouraged her to open a place of her own, Dubose said, adding she took their words to heart and proceeded to open The Blasian Asian.

The biggest shock upon moving to Waco about 18 months ago was feeling the heat on a 103-degree day, “something I had not experienced in 20 years,” Michael Dubose said.

He said The Blasian Asian will operate from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 5 to 9 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, closing Sunday and Monday for cleaning and replenishing.

Legends Crossing

Traffic on State Highway 6 near Legends Crossing, the upscale development near Baylor Scott & White Hillcrest Medical Center that serves as home to Saltgrass Steakhouse and Chuy’s, among other occupants, may have noticed the moving of earth adjacent to Douglass Nissan of Waco, formerly Waco Nissan.

Ryan Cash, a sales manager at the dealership, said the facility’s main entrance was at the rear when the Douglass family acquired the car store.

“We have decided to create a new main entrance, and we also are developing 50 to 60 additional parking spots for our used-car inventory,” Cash said in an interview Friday. “We hope to have the job finished in about a month. The weather has been a little annoying, but we have a crew out there as we speak.”

Chamber mixer

The public is invited to a mixer Tuesday at the Greater Waco Chamber of Commerce offices at South Third Street and Franklin Avenue downtown.

Aaron Cox, representing the Texas Association of Business, will provide a preview of the 85th Texas Legislative Session, which begins in January, and how it may impact business in Central Texas. Those attending also will learn about the chamber’s agenda for getting its priorities in front of lawmakers.

The program, called Pinot, Pizza & Policy, will last from 5 to 7 p.m. Those planning to attend the free event are asked to notify the chamber, but reservations are not required. For more information, call Jessica Attas, the chamber’s director of public policy at 757-5631, or email jattas@wacochamber.com.

“Come early to mingle, with the presentation beginning at 5:15 p.m.,” Attas said in a prepared statement, adding, “You will have time to educate yourself and engage in conversation and policy analysis as you continue to position your business for excellence.”

Logan’s bankruptcy

Logan’s Roadhouse, a Tennessee-based chain that operates a location in Central Texas Marketplace, announced it has emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. The reorganization plan allowed the company to reduce its debt from about $400 million to just over $100 million, according to a prepared statement.

The restaurateur closed 34 underperforming locations. Waco’s will remain open, though Logan’s has adopted new policies that may impact it. The chain said it has adopted “a revised menu with a return to the restaurant’s most popular items from years past.”

It also said it would focus on streamlining operations and improving customer service. It has launched “a major integrated marketing effort highlighting core favorites such as steaks, ribs and yeast rolls,” according to the statement.

Logan’s also reportedly will invest more to attract and keep staffers “through training, development and compensation packages.”

Logan’s currently has 195 company-operated and 26 franchised restaurants in 20 states. It said it is saving $4 million annually through renegotiating leases and contracts.

Recommended for you