Hyperventilation may threaten comic book aficionados next weekend in Waco, with Bankston’s and Golden’s Book Exchange planning big doings to celebrate the national Free Comic Book Day. Adding fuel to the fandom’s mania is the much ballyhooed Dream Con 2019 convention that starts Friday and runs through Sunday at the Waco Convention Center, spotlighting anime, music, gaming and more.
The Tribune-Herald recently mentioned Bankston’s lineup of activities scheduled Saturday, when the nation’s novelty, collectible and comic shops dispense titles free of charge: The motto: “May the Fourth be With You.”
Donna Carroll at Golden’s, 3112 Franklin Ave., a 42-year veteran of the local comic and used-book scene, said she will continue her tradition of taking part. She will also offer face painting, a bounce house and a coloring contest, with winners in various age categories receiving gift certificates.
She also will sell back-issues of popular comic titles at half price.
She said Golden’s and Bankston’s are friendly competitors.
“Sure, I know Brent and the Bankston family,” Carroll said. “They shopped here years ago.”
Asked if her sales of physical comics, those not digitized or available by other means, have dipped as those nationally have sagged, Carroll said, “Yes and no. We have seen changes in the industry and the habits of those who collect comics. So many people are involved in their phones and computers. That’s why this Free Comic Book Day has become so important, exposing younger people to comics. I’ve had a school teacher tell me she has no problem with kids reading comics as it means they are reading something.”
Meanwhile, Carla Pendergraft, who markets the Waco Convention Center, said the Dream Con 2019 event, now in it second year, should generate reservations for local hotels.
“It does use hotel rooms and draw from out of town, but we also expect a lot of Wacoans to attend,” Pendergraft said in an email.
H-E-B Women of Distinction
Grocer H-E-B honored 24 employees from Central Texas during its Women of Distinction ceremony last week at Ridgewood Country Club.
Those from Waco receiving recognition were Annette Jones, Gloria Wilson, Lacee Fowler, Victoria Keating and Terri Fowler, according to a press release.
Since the program’s inception 19 years ago, more than 4,000 female partners throughout the state have been recognized and celebrated for their contributions to both the company and to their community, H-E-B stated.
Winners are nominated by their peers and chosen on qualities that include dedication to excellence in customer service and their positive impact on co-workers. Each honoree received a badge during the ceremony. H-E-B said it created Women of Distinction, in part, to honor H-E-B’s founder, Florence Butt, who opened a small store in Kerrville almost 114 years ago. It is meant to encourage young women to pursue leadership roles in the company.
“Hip Hip Hooray!” is the exclamation atop the invitation Kindler’s Gem Jewelers is sending out to celebrate its new store in Central Texas Marketplace.
To say siblings Tammie Work and Jan Skopik and their mom, Gerda McGregor, are excited about the grand opening would be an understatement.
They have relocated from their longtime home at 5700 Bosque Blvd. to the growing retail center at Loop 340, Interstate 35 and Bagby Avenue, settling into space between La Madeleine French Bakery & Cafe and Ideal MRI. Skopik said customers still may encounter a wandering extension cord in the new shop, but deals already are being struck.
A part of the Waco retailing scene since 1971, Kindler’s was founded by Eddie and Noma Kindler. Gerda McGregor went to work there in 1973, moved through the ranks to manage the store and bought the business in 1996. Her husband, Norman McGregor, died in 2001, and the mom-and-daughter team of McGregor, Skopik and Work has been calling shots most years since.
Kindler’s sells fine, fashion and bridal jewelry, as well as loose diamonds, from vendors around the world, many they meet at the International Gem and Jewelry Show in Las Vegas. Kindler’s also sells custom jewelry and designer pieces the team creates during brainstorming sessions that may turn crazy, said Skopik, a Baylor University graduate who once fancied a banking career.
Skopik said she and her familial colleagues moved to Central Texas Marketplace to accommodate evolving buying habits. Longtime customers would postpone picking up orders at Kindler’s until they were “in that part of town,” said Skopik, repeating a phrase that became too familiar.
She said she already is noticing an increase in walk-in traffic.
A California import, Robert Lim, has opened a children’s apparel shop at 1319 Austin Ave. It carries the catchy name Cottontail Jones.
“Pretty much moved to just get out of California,” Lim said in an email. “Did some research on whether Waco would be a good fit for our businesses, and it seemed to be a good match.”
He said response has been positive, with feedback praising the presence of a dedicated children’s store downtown.
“My wife and mother-in-law came up with the name,” Lim wrote. “Just something fun-sounding and whimsical for kids.”
The family hails from Lemoore, California, about 30 miles south of Fresno, Lim said. They relocated to Waco last August, just months removed from Lim’s side trip to Magnolia Market at the Silos while training with the Air National Guard in Wichita Falls.
“I liked it here, with the small/medium town size and how it was up and coming,” he wrote, adding it “aligned with our values.”
Lim said his shop sells organic items produced by brands including Little Unicorn, Ryan and Rose, Modern Burlap, L’ovedbaby and LouLou Lollipop.