Wishing everyone a very Magnolia Thanksgiving

By Ferrell Foster

My post the other day about The Silos brought to my attention a 2014 Waco Tribune-Herald story by J.B. Smith about those now famous silos. (Thank you, Ashley Bean Thornton.)

It seems that seven years ago this month there was some real uncertainty about the silos’ paint job, or lack of one. The Waco Downtown Development Corp. had originally given the go ahead for the Chip and Joanna Gaines project but with the understanding that the silos would be painted.

That rebuke of rust went to the Tax Increment Financing Zone board in October 2014. Chip (may I be so familiar) was not giving up on his rust. He told the board the silos “are impeccable and fashionable and interesting as they are,” the Trib reported.

The TIF board punted the aesthetic question back to the DDC, which led to a tour of the site guided by Waco’s First Couple (that being the Gaineses). DDC Chair Willard Still was skeptical going in. An hour later, he was convinced.

“We believe their plan will be a substantial improvement that the community will embrace,” the Trib reported Still saying. “They have a very sensible plan, and we embraced it.

“I have to give credit to Joanna Gaines. She has good taste, and that’s a proven product.”

Truer words have not been said. If Joanna walked into my home and said, “Ferrell, your favorite reading chair has got to go,” I would hesitate big time. She might reply, “I know you love that chair, but what if we got you a new chair that is better for your back, is loved by readers everywhere, and will make your study look like the most wonderful place in the world.” I would buckle quickly; it would be Joanna talking.

There are some people in town who are not big fans of the downtown boom fueled by Magnolia, but I’m not one of them. Not all development is good, but this one, I think, has been good for Waco.

We might wonder what would have happened if a paint job had been required and the Gaineses had pulled out the paint sprayers or hired professionals. We will never know, but I’m sticking with Joanne when it comes to good taste. She is the one-woman show (sorry Chip) that almost single-handedled revived the popularity of shiplap.

I’m thankful for the Gaineses and The Silos this Thanksgiving season. Just imagine this: What if they had done their thing in Austin or Temple or Hillsboro? We would be so jealous, and jealousy is not good for the soul. So may we all have a very Magnolia Thanksgiving — full of good taste all around, and I’m not just talking about style.

Ferrell Foster is senior specialist for care and communication with Prosper Waco.

The Act Locally Waco blog publishes posts with a connection to these aspirations for Waco. If you are interested in writing for the Act Locally Waco Blog, please email Ferrell Foster.

There is a difference in ‘to’ The Silos & ‘in’ the silos

By Ferrell Foster

My wife visited The Silos before we moved here. People flock to The Silos and talk about The Silos all the time. This weekend I finally asked my wife for more details. It went something like this:

“So, what’s in The Silos? Is it a store? Are there multiple levels in The Silos where people shop?

The Silos at Magnolia Market

She looked at me with an odd expression. “I don’t think there’s anything in the actual silos.”

Am I the only person in Waco or Texas or the world, who didn’t realize that when people are going to The Silos, they are not really going inside the silos?

I feel really stupid. I don’t get out of the house much, but I don’t usually feel as clueless as I did in this conversation. I understand The Silos to be about stuff — as in stuff to see and stuff to buy. I hear about an old church building on the property, about a redone RV with plants, about stuff around the silos. But, do I now have it right that when people talk about going to The Silos, they mean they are going to hang out in the area of the actual silos?

It’s like finding out there really is no tooth fairy or Santa. (This post is not suitable for children.)

So, there’s no tooth fairy, but kids still get money under their pillows (a quarter in my day as a kid). There’s no Santa, but kids still get gifts on Christmas morning. And, there’s nothing in the silos, but The Silos is still a cool place to visit.

I’m OK with all three, but facing reality does take some mental adjustment. 

Let’s hear three cheers for tooth fairies who have no wings, Santas who buy presents at a store, and silos that are empty but make a nice, rusty landmark around which to build an enjoyable experience.

Ferrell Foster is senior specialist for care and communication with Prosper Waco.

The Act Locally Waco blog publishes posts with a connection to these aspirations for Waco. If you are interested in writing for the Act Locally Waco Blog, please email Ferrell Foster.

City of Waco announces organizational updates

The City of Waco is pleased to announce three organizational updates: the selection of Monica Sedelmeier as director of communications and marketing, promotion of Kent George to director of economic development, and placement of Dan Quandt as interim director of conventions and tourism.

Sedelmeier will join the City in mid-December in the communications and marketing role (formerly municipal information). Most recently, she worked as chief marketing and quality officer for a healthcare system in Iowa. She brings prior experience from Houston ISD and Rice University. Sedelmeier holds a bachelor’s degree in business and marketing, as well as a master’s in business administration.

George was promoted at the beginning of November. He joined the City in 2018 as an economic development manager. He has more than 18 years of experience in local government, as well as prior experience in the private sector. George holds a bachelor’s degree in business. Throughout his tenure with the City, George has worked on some of Waco’s largest economic development projects to date, including the Marriott AC Hotel, the Riverfront Development, Cottonwood Creek Marketplace, and many industrial projects.

The City worked with SGR to locate and contract with an interim conventions and tourism director. Quandt, a 38-year veteran CVB director, joined the City of Waco Nov. 8. Quandt most recently served as senior vice president of the Amarillo Convention and Visitors Council for the Amarillo Chamber of Commerce. He is also a past chairman of the board for the Texas Association of Convention and Visitors Bureaus and has served as a member of the board of directors for the Texas Travel Industry Association.

Waco City Manager Bradley Ford said: “I am excited to announce the selection of these three individuals for key leadership roles within our organization. Monica brings expertise in both communications and marketing along with strengths in strategic planning and change management, which will be crucial as we look to grow our Communications and Marketing team. The work our Municipal Information team produces is excellent, and we will look to Monica to build upon that team as we implement our strategic communications plan. Kent has worked on many exciting and innovative projects in his time here in Waco. I look forward to the work he will continue to accomplish leading the City’s Economic Development team, including the creation of the City’s new economic development strategic plan. I am thankful we were able to bring Dan on to lead the Conventions and Tourism team in this interim period as we evaluate the Director position posting and the industry market. The experience he brings from the travel and tourism sector is invaluable.”

The Act Locally Waco blog publishes posts with a connection to these aspirations for Waco. If you are interested in writing for the Act Locally Waco Blog, please email Ferrell Foster.