The Bakery at the Silos opened Wednesday at Sixth Street and Webster Avenue, providing a touch of sweetness and another dose of appeal to a corner already drawing tourists from every corner of the nation to experience Chip and Joanna Gaines’ Magnolia Market at the Silos.
To no one’s surprise, the shop with hardwood floors, high ceilings and plenty of goodies had the masses standing in line for entry, even in the late-afternoon heat. Employees handed out small cards and tiny pencils that customers could use to mark their choices among cupcakes, baked goods, drinks and Magnolia Flour T-shirts priced at $26.
Fans of “Fixer Upper” on HGTV, in which the Gaineses turn the ugly duckling of a neighborhood into a swan, know Joanna’s affinity for shiplap. So why not offer a cupcake with the same moniker? At $3.50, a Shiplap cupcake features vanilla cake and vanilla buttercream icing.
If the price produces a double take, customers can recover by reading a sign on the wall that reads, “Cupcakes Are Muffins That Believed in Miracles.”
Staffers answered questions with a smile and talked shop while filling requests for Silobration, Peanut Butter Cup and Cup O’ Jo cupcakes; baked goods such as Classic Chocolate Chip cookies, Nutty Cinnamon Roll, Cranberry Orange Biscuit, The Magnolia Cookie and The Prize Pig, a bacon-and-cheddar scratch-made biscuit.
“They did a great job of bringing Southern charm to this place,” said Cigi Stringer, 41, who should know something about the subject, having traveled to Waco from Columbia, Mississippi. She traveled to Waco on a business trip for her employer, Southern Tire Co., which has a location on Grieg Drive.
“When my friends found out I was going to Waco, they couldn’t stop telling me I had to visit Magnolia,” Stringer said.
She happily obliged.
She also walked the Waco Suspension Bridge, which she called “very neat,” and enjoyed an “amazing” meal at Twisted Root Burger.
Stringer said she is a fan of “Fixer Upper” and watches it when her busy schedule allows, but did not realize Waco was the hometown of its stars.
Her purchase Wednesday included the Cup O’ Jo, which is chocolate cake topped with espresso buttercream icing, and a Strawberries ’N’ Cream cupcake.
Emily Sandvall, 34, who works in Baylor University’s School of Engineering and Computer Science, stopped at the bakery with her 6-year-old daughter, Fallin.
After brainstorming for a few seconds, they agreed that four cupcakes would serve them well.
Sandvall said she occasionally sees friends on episodes of “Fixer Upper” and she enjoys the positive spotlight it places on the community.
“My husband and I went to Baylor, left and came back about eight years ago,” she said. “We like the way the city is portrayed, and it’s brought a lot of business downtown.”
Alex Horrell, of Denver, and Laura Horrell, of Phoenix, now live in Waco and said they couldn’t wait to visit the new bakery Wednesday.
“I drove by the Market and saw that the bakery would be opening today, so here we are,” Laura Horrell said.
The city of Waco’s tourist information center says Magnolia Market at the Silos attracts 25,000 to 35,000 visitors a week.
Spokesman Brock Murphy said Magnolia is trying to make conditions as convenient and comfortable for visitors as possible. It has nearly doubled the number of registers in the market that sells housewares, tools, novelty items and decorations sometimes seen in homes the Gaineses renovate and decorate.
The additional check-out areas reduce waiting times and give people more room, Murphy said.
More staffers have been hired who rotate between registers as demand dictates and perform other tasks as needed.
“Are we hiring? Yes, sir. We’ve been gearing up for summer,” Murphy said.
Magnolia in all its forms now employs 450 people, he said.
Some work in the general store, at the bakery and in areas outside the main building where the public can relax, enjoy food served by food trucks and play games. The Magnolia brand also includes a construction company and design team for Magnolia Homes, as well as a real estate team.
“Many of these are part-time employees, especially those who work at the Silos,” Murphy said.
The bakery itself is located just beyond the fence that surrounds the Silos complex, allowing easy public access even when the market is not open.
It will operate from 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily, closing on Sundays, when the Magnolia Market also shuts down.
Crews have installed water misters, extra seating and a covered patio to keep bakery patrons as comfortable as the Texas heat will allow.
“I don’t have an official date yet for when we will begin renovation of the Elite,” Murphy said. “We have begun to gather information and should make a decision within the next couple of months. We do have some ideas about the direction we want to take but nothing officially to announce.”
As for whether the Elite will keep its name, Murphy said, “We’ve not made a final decision on anything yet.”