Relics from old Percy Medicine building in downtown Waco to be auctioned (copy)

The Percy Medicine building is located at Eighth Street and Webster Avenue near downtown Waco.

Small businesses in the region received more than $1 billion in loans during the most recent fiscal year that ended Sept. 30, an all-time record.

The U.S. Small Business Administration’s Dallas/Fort Worth District Office, which oversees lending in a 72-county area that includes McLennan County, guaranteed loans totaling $1.04 million to nearly 2,000 entrepreneurs and small-business owners to expand their businesses and create jobs, SBA spokesman Ahmad Goree said.

This represents an increase of 18.7 percent in dollars and 18.3 percent in number of loans over the same time last year.

Of the 166 lending institutions in the 72-county district, Wells Fargo was the top lender, providing more than $65 million in SBA loans.

Compass Bank was the top lender in units, providing 307 loans to small businesses, according to information the SBA released.

Small businesses in McLennan County received 33 loans totaling about $18.7 million — also a record.

“We are still celebrating this tremendous success that the Dallas/Fort Worth market achieved,” said Yolanda Garcia Olivarez, SBA’s south central regional administrator. “More than $1 billion was guaranteed by the SBA to 1,982 local small businesses. This is something that speaks volumes to the product the SBA provides and the great partners we have supporting our mission, such as the North Texas Association of Government Guaranteed Lenders.”

In fiscal 2014, SBA loans in the region totaled $881 million in the region, with 1,675 loans being awarded.

Businesses in McLennan County last year received 25 loans worth $12 million.

The Findery

A new store called The Findery, located in the former Percy Medicine building at Eighth Street and Webster Avenue, will open to the public Wednesday.

It reportedly will specialize in home decor and has been likened to a “mix between Spice and Magnolia Market,” the former being a cluster of 90-plus offbeat shops that anchors RiverSquare Center on Mary Avenue and the latter being a new housewares store/novelty shop and furniture emporium at Sixth Street and Webster Avenue opened by Chip and Joanna Gaines.

The Percy Medicine building for years was the home of Baby Percy Medicine, so named because a concoction made there proved beneficial to a youngster named Albert Percy, who suffered an upset stomach as his family traveled from New York to their new home in Waco.

A.W. Percy, a buggy whip salesman and Albert’s father, joined forces with local pharmacist W.S. Merrick to form the company.

Mules would haul product from the loading dock of the Percy Medicine building to a nearby train station. Legend has it that Babe Ruth knocked a baseball out of long-gone Katy Park in downtown Waco during a New York Yankees barnstorming stop, and it landed atop the Percy building.

Percy Medicine was produced in the same building until 2010, when manufacturing was outsourced to a company in Texarkana.

A private opening of The Findery is scheduled from 6 to 9 p.m. Tuesday, the day before the public unveiling.

H-E-B online

H-E-B, the dominant grocery store chain in Waco, has launched an online store from which shoppers can order food products, drugstore items and general merchandise for delivery.

Products available on heb.com include H-E-B’s own store brands, including Central Market Organics and Cafe Ole Taste of Texas, but also a wide variety of national brands, according to a news release from the company. H-E-B has made a total of 50,000 products accessible via the website.

Orders can be shipped throughout Texas, to 46 states in the continental U.S. and to military bases worldwide.

The new “Totally Texas” page at heb.com/texas includes products made in Texas or inspired by Texans like Whataburger Whatafries and Spicy Ketchup, Franklin Barbecue Sauce made in Austin, as well as H-E-B chips, sodas, salsas and more, according to the San Antonio-based company.

The website also will offer a broad assortment of general merchandise, including the popular Mexican-inspired Cocinaware cookware line made exclusively for H-E-B.

H-E-B thinks the new buy-and-delivery is ideal for “time-starved” shoppers and those who live in communities without H-E-B stores. The company said it has been receiving calls for decades from Texans around the country who miss their favorite products.

Blue Bell’s next phase

Blue Bell re-entered the Waco and North Texas markets Nov. 2, as part of the second of five phases to return ice cream to shelves following a deadly listeria outbreak that put plants in Alabama, Oklahoma and Texas out of commission for months as they were sanitized.

The Brenham-based creamery announced Friday that Phase 3 will begin Dec. 4, with all remaining markets in Texas and those in central and southern Alabama to get deliveries of five flavors in the half-gallon and pint sizes: Buttered Pecan, Cookies ’N Cream, Dutch Chocolate, Homemade Vanilla and The Great Divide.

Homemade Vanilla cups and 12-pack Homemade Vanilla and Dutch Chocolate cups also are available in stores.

To begin Phase 3, Blue Bell will bring back 215 employees who were put on paid furlough earlier this year.

Phase 3 includes 16 cities, including San Antonio, Tyler, Midland, Lubbock, Corpus Christi, Abilene, Laredo, Amarillo and Beaumont.

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