As you know, we had two unexpected days in Dallas. We tried to make the most of it personally, and professionally for my husband. To make the most of the trip professionally we were off to Waco for a day so my husband could see a customer. And, if you watch HGTV, you know Waco is home to the booming Magnolia empire build by Chip and Joanna Gaines.
After my husband saw his customer, we headed downtown to check out the Magnolia Silos. Boy, we were not prepared for what we found.
The Silos is a complex in the middle of downtown Waco with a large Magnolia shop, a food truck park, a play area, a seed shop, and a bakery. I knew from some online research the Silos had free parking — but limited parking. I am telling you the amount of cars approaching was amazing. We found our way to the free parking (and bypassed entrepreneurial businesses and people selling parking). After squeezing into a spot we walked up to the complex.
It looks like it did on TV. Two giant, rustic looking silos, the play area, and the shop dominate the space. The food trucks line the play area. They offer anything you could want. I saw lots of Ball-jar style sweet teas walking around the complex.
When we entered the Magnolia store I instantly recognized the home goods merchandise. Most of it is available at Target now. But that didn’t stop people from walking around with full baskets of the merchandise. After walking through the home goods area you wind up in a Magnolia gift shop.
In the gift shop you’ll find “Chip’s Corner” with more male-centric merchandise, hats, Yeti mugs, etc. There’s a lot of t-shirt designs to choose from for kids and adults. And then, if they could put the Magnolia name and logo on anything they did and they are selling it — magnets, Pop Sockets for phones, reusable bags (that cost either $18 or $58 for the style with leather handles — and yes people were buying them).
My husband and I have major sweet teeth. We wanted to see the Silos Bakery. It looks just like it did on TV, except the inside is showing some wear and tear from the crowds that file through.
You line up outside the bakery, about a 15 minute line for us. When you approach the bakery you are given an order card where you fill out your order. This is an ingenious way to address the crowd issue here. We all had cards describing every item, and when it is our turn to enter the bakery and order we hand it over (along with our credit card). No waiting while the person ahead of you asks what’s in every flavor or wonders what they will order. You just hand that over and wait for your name to be called with your order. We both selected a cupcake and a cookie.
We ate the cookies in the car on the way back to Dallas. The cookies are large, and so good! The perfect balance of chewy and crisp, and great flavors. We ate the cupcakes later in the trip and wow. Just holding it you knew this was “of substance”. It was so heavy. These are super moist — even after sitting a day. The flavors are subtle, but not missing. And the buttercream was real buttercream, not sugary or grainy. I had the Toasted Coconut and I loved it, and my husband had the Carrot Cake and also loved it. Maybe the best cupcakes we’ve ever had (and we’ve tried a lot of cupcakes!).
This was a fun side trip. I enjoyed seeing what I’ve seen on TV and understanding it in real life. I could not get over the crowds. We were there on a Monday, I can’t imagine a Saturday. I don’t know that I’d recommend to anyone to travel to Texas just for this. If you’re in Texas and have time it’s an interesting stop, if not, no big deal. But, this is coming from someone who is not a super-Fixer Upper or Magnolia fan.
From a marketing professional’s perspective I was fascinated to watch people shop here and experience the Silos in general. I would equate what Chip and Joanna are building in Waco to what Walt Disney built in Anaheim with Disneyland. There are definite problems. It is land-locked just like Disneyland, making expansion is almost impossible or expensive since it needs to be done through acquisition of neighboring property. There are parking issues. There are traffic issues. There are crowd issues. But, just like Disneyland — every Magnolia visitor will tolerate this to experience whatever you experience at the Silos (for us it was cupcakes!).
It was fun to check one more state off my states visited list, and we had a blast touring around Dallas and checking out Magnolia. Next up, we were finally off to Utah! More posts to come on Canyonlands, Dead Horse, and Arches parks. Stay tuned!
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