‘Fixer Upper’: Chip and Joanna turn Waco, hot spot
With the success of hgtv’s ‘Fixer Upper’, Waco, Texas, has seen a huge tourism boom”, thanks to Chip and Joanna Gaines’ popularity
It is safe to say “Fixer Upper” couple Chip and Joanna Gaines have taken over Waco. With the expansion of their home renovation and design business, bed and breakfast, rentals, and the recently announced restaurant opening, the Gaineses have made their mark in Texas.
But no other company has Waco in the travel destination it is today than the well-known Silos, which the couple bought in 2014, as part of their own fixer-upper project.
The 26,000-square-foot building you will find a bakery, a house, shop and garden supply store and a food truck park. The Silos and the “something for everyone” is the ability to attract people of the nation, drive tourism traffic to record levels for the sleepy Texas town.
In an exclusive Fox News interview, Carla Pendergraft, director of marketing for the Waco Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, said that Waco of tourism in the traffic — pre-Chip and Joanna —came out at about 500,000-600,000 people per year. But since the show launched, that the figure is more than doubled: In 2016, 1.9 million people visited Waco, and 2017 projections put that number at about 2.6 million.
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The monumental influx in tourists is changing the dynamics of the central Texas place, and the residents have taken notice.
Guess where we went today? ? #awkwardpose #magnoliamarketatthesilos
“[Waco had] a bit of an image problem,” Pendergraft says, referring to David Koresh and the Branch Davidians religious cult. Before “Fixer Upper,” she says, “it was difficult to bring conventions here.”
But now, now everyone pitches Waco, Pendergraft says that people respond with “That’s where they ‘Fixer Upper!'”
“Waco has seen so many benefits of the show,” she adds.
Wacoans see themselves those advantages by means of a booming economy. The centre of Waco is experiencing some major changes — more sell spaces and special tourism companies have sprung up in the wake of the Waco rage, including a special “Magnolia Trail” for the super fans who want to visit locations that Joanna Gaines has mentioned on the show.
#magnoliamarketatthesilos #sightseeing #beautiful #wacotexas
A few, Tami Smith and Joey Macarthur, moved from Snoqualmie, Wash., to Waco after falling in love with the city and the homely charm on their first visit. They brought their antique store with them, securing a retail space a few blocks of the Chip and Joanna downtown compound.
Smith and Macarthur are just two of the many that have moved their business to the recently revived in the town. But, regardless of the thriving companies, the people funneling into the city to see the Magnolia and the Silos, and it is clear.
“You can spot Magnolia customers and fans. They walk around with the big Magnolia bag,” Pendergraft said.
The interest rate is the bringing of people to other parts of Waco, though. Smith and Macarthur say that “100 percent” of the traffic that is brought to their antique shop is of people who quit after a visit to the Silos.
Not everyone believes that success is the reason for the tree. A broker credits the strong rise in house prices and higher taxes on the city’s low housing supply, and not an influx of investors or homeowners come in to buy, and properties.
Even Pendergraft gives Waco was a “bit of a growth path” for the show, but she admits that since the nation has fallen in love with the crazy antics of the healthy duo, that growth is accelerating — fast.
For example, Waco also has a “bucket list” destination for many as friends Derrinn Richards and Polli Patterson, who chose to stay an extra day in Waco, instead of going to Galveston as scheduled. The friends immediately admitted to visiting Waco because of their love for “Fixer Upper.”
The family-friendly spot has a range far, also pulling a family from Atlanta after a mother wanted to surprise her daughter on her 16th birthday.
When asked if she enjoyed her time on the Silos, the birthday girl, Hayden Danyo, she said’ love Jo’s style” and is a big fan of the show.
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With the added foot traffic comes growing pains for the city. The Silos often have the lines of people that stretch out along the way, which a lot of attention because of the extra traffic on the street and almost every Waco resident who spoke with Fox News complained about the increase in traffic.
A Wacoan overall, the new traffic roads with: “Now people have to wait for two cycles of a traffic light, instead of getting to go by on the first.”
Waco residents may need to learn the way of patience, because Pendergraft said she sees no sign of tourism slowing down anytime soon.