McDonald's Hard Hat Specials

Hard Hat Specials at McDonald’s, Sixth Street and Interstate 35, are a sign of the times. The restaurant is located in the epicenter of interstate construction in downtown Waco.

The McDonald’s restaurant at Sixth Street and Interstate 35 is making the best of a trying situation, the $341 million widening of I-35 through Waco that is throwing up barriers motorists must navigate to eat, drink and shop.

A professionally made sign appears next to the main drive-thru menu offering “Hard Hat” specials every day. Most entitle buyers of specialty burgers, nuggets and other items to a free or discounted product.

An eye-catching image of a yellow hard hat appears on the sign, which advises that the special deals are available at that location only.

Nowhere does it say the deals are available only to construction workers. Apparently patrons are being rewarded for their perseverance.

Pier 1 survives

Pier 1 Imports, once a cutting-edge retailer, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection following an earlier announcement it would shutter 450 locations. Reportedly Pier 1 has put itself up for sale.

The Pier 1 in Waco continues to avoid the company hit list. It does not appear among the Texas shops targeted for closing, the Dallas Morning News and other media outlets have reported. On its website, Pier 1 said in part: “The company fully expects to operate its business in the normal course during this process, and Pier 1’s continuing store and online platform are open and operating. We remain focused on providing customers with unique, on-trend merchandise and an exceptional shopping experience.”

The Dallas Morning News also is reporting that Pier 1 Imports has asked the bankruptcy court to impose a March 23 deadline for accepting buy-out bids.

Waco’s Pier 1 Imports operates in Central Texas Marketplace, bordered roughly by I-35, Loop 340 and Bagby Avenue, in the path of westward growth in McLennan County. The site promises to get even more active, as plans have been announced to build a 14-screen Cinemark theater, Topgolf attraction, bowling alley and several eateries between CTM and New Road.

More murals

Impressive murals courtesy of artist Tony Bryant now appear on exterior walls at Poppa Rollo’s Pizza, 703 N. Valley Mills Drive, known for its fun-loving atmosphere, touches of quirkiness and longtime presence of owners Roland and Mary Duty. Mary serves as chairwoman of the McLennan County Democratic Party. The drawings capture a smorgasbord of themes, one devoted to a long-gone drive-in movie theater on Waco’s west side.

Bryant was profiled by the Tribune-Herald in 2016, when he announced his plans for several projects locally. At that time, he had painted murals at the Poppa Rollo’s location on Hewitt Drive, and at Harold Waite Pancake & Steak, near Lake Air and Valley Mills drives. Bryant, originally from Georgia, may be best known for his artwork for Guthrie Truck Sales on I-35.

During a recent interview, Bryant said he honed his artistic skills as an illustrator, once employed as such by a company associated with media mogul Ted Turner, a billionaire who once owned the Atlanta Braves baseball team and is best known for founding CNN, the first 24-hour cable news network.

Ollie’s to open

Ollie’s Bargain Outlet, seller of heavily discounted merchandise from stock overruns, liquidation sales and the like, opens Wednesday in Waco.

It took the former Toys R Us building at 5200 W. Waco Drive, in the Centerpoint shopping center. It will do business out of 45,000 square feet.

15th and Colcord

The transition continues at 15th Street and Colcord Avenue, where a neighborhood once plagued by drug dealing, prostitution and gunplay has become home to Jubilee Food Market, Mission Waco/Mission World headquarters, World Cup Cafe, Urban Reap and a bright new retail venue, The Colcord Center, which now is complete, says Jimmy Dorrell, who founded Mission Waco with wife Janet and serves as pastor of Church Under The Bridge, which now meets Sundays at Magnolia Market at the Silos.

A Mexican ice cream shop took the first of three spaces in The Colcord Center, opening in the fall of 2019. “It has flourished with great crowds since opening day,” said Dorrell in an email message to the Tribune-Herald. “The final two suites, just completed, are now ready for lease.”

By the way, The Colcord Center beckons where a liquor store operated for decades, the proprietor once critically injured during a robbery.

Each of the two suites just completed occupy about 975 square feet. The lease rate is $1 per square foot monthly on a three-year contract, said Dorrell, who added local real estate agent Raynor Campbell is showing the site.

Final decisions on whether a would-be tenant would be a good fit for the neighborhood will include input from area residents, Dorrell said.

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