The Gaineses, Chip and Joanna, have the Midas touch in the realm of marketing and making money. Their “Fixer Upper” show on HGTV became must-watch TV. Magnolia Market at the Silos attracts 30,000 visitors a week. Magnolia Table, their restaurant on Waco’s traffic circle, has become such a draw that food-truck owners downtown have begun to grumble about lost sales, as visitors hit the Silos then bolt across town to dine.
Then there is Joanna’s book, “Magnolia Table: A Collection of Recipes for Gathering.” It hit bookshelves in April, and the response has been, well, what the world has come to expect from the power couple. Walmart, Target, Barnes & Noble Booksellers, Amazon, Sam’s Club and Books-A-Million, among others, added the title to their catalog of offerings, in-store and online.
Last week, while interest surged over the pending release of Bob Woodward’s book, “Fear: Trump In The White House,” research revealed that another book devoted to political intrigue, Michael Wolff’s “Fire and Fury: Inside Trump’s White House,” was the most popular non-fiction book released during the first half of 2018, with print sales of almost 1 million copies through June. At No. 2 through June was “Magnolia Table,” with sales of 676,000 copies, according to entrepreneur.com.
Building permit roundup
A slew of building permits worth noting were issued this past week, according to the local Associated General Contractors of America office:
- Georgetown-based Hewlett Volkswagen will remodel the former Allen Samuels Alfa Romeo-Fiat building at West Loop 340 and Bagby Avenue and will place a Volkswagen dealership there. Fiat has relocated to the Allen Samuels Dodge Chrysler Jeep Ram store elsewhere on Waco’s “Motor Mile,” while the Alfa Romeo brand no longer is sold locally. Samuels recently told the Tribune-Herald he spent $8 million buying land for, erecting and furnishing the Alfa Rome/Fiat site, and confirmed Hewlett Volkswagen’s interest in acquiring the site. Volkswagen has been eyeing Waco more than five years, Hewlett GM John Chauvin said, speaking by phone.
- Pilot Travel Center, 8055 S. Interstate 35 in Robinson, will spend about $150,000 on a remodel.
- Chick-fil-A, 4310 Franklin Ave., secured a permit to place two canopies over its drive-thru lanes at a cost of $90,000.
- Extraco Banks will spend an estimated $250,000 on interior and exterior remodeling at 1700 N. Valley Mills Drive.
- Smallcakes Cupcakery and Creamery, a chain with more than 200 locations, will move into space at 2324 Marketplace Drive, near Central Texas Marketplace, according to a permit for finish-out work.
The former Vegas Buffet in Westview Village, Waco and Valley Mills drives, will open as early as this week as Ocean Buffet.
Remodeling has continued several weeks since local law enforcement raided Vegas Buffet in June and filed a series of charges related to labor trafficking against its operators. Ocean Buffet reportedly will operate under new ownership, but only after the McLennan County Health District gives its approval. Health inspectors were prepared to shutter Vegas Buffet for code violations when it was raided, health district spokesman David Litke has previously said.
Registration has started for the 2019 Mid-Tex Farm, Ranch & Garden Show scheduled Jan. 31 in the Extraco Events Center at Lake Air Drive and Bosque Boulevard. Early bird pricing will apply for exhibit space reserved before Oct. 15, according to the Greater Waco Chamber of Commerce. For more information, call Amanda Haygood at 757-5611 or Ariel Tesch at 757-5605.
An event called Find Your Waco is scheduled from 1 to 4 p.m. Oct. 26 in the McLennan Room of the Waco Convention Center. It is sponsored by the chamber of commerce and intended to give job seekers, students, transitioning soldiers and visitors an opportunity to learn more about the city. Local businesses are invited to have exhibit space. For more information, call Jennifer Branch at 757-5625.