11 Things You Didn't Know About Fixer Upper and Waco,Texas

silos, magnolia market, chip and joanna gaines

For the third time this year, I made a trip to Waco, Texas. Every visit is a little bit different, but the focus always seems to take a turn toward all things Fixer Upper. Five years ago, at the very mention of Waco your thoughts would automatically go to the Branch Davidians. Now, you can't mention Waco without people asking about Chip and Joanna Gaines or their HGTV hit show Fixer Upper. While I rarely watch the show {and I haven't read their new book}, I am captivated by Joanna's style and the improvements that are happening in Waco, Texas. I stood in line at Magnolia Market and struck up conversations with two women on a girls-trip with their daughters from Colorado. I heard another woman in line mention she was visiting from Indiana. People are coming from all over the world, drawn in by the phenomenon Magnolia has created. Several months ago I had the opportunity to get an exclusive interview with Season 3 client Jaime Ferguson, and since then I have become a kind of Fixer Upper expert. Every time I visit Waco, I like to learn something new or different about the show that I didn't know before. If you are a fan of Fixer Upper or if you have enjoyed following the Gaines's success story, I bet I have some information you haven't heard before. In fact, it's a little challenge I created for myself to find something even the biggest Fixer Upper fan wouldn't necessarily know. So read on and tell me in the comments if I succeeded. 

silos, magnolia market, chip and joanna gaines, faith


11 Things You Didn't Know About Fixer Upper and Waco, Texas

1. Every Fixer Upper home is gifted a magnolia tree

Talk about great branding! When looking for a name for their first shop, Magnolia was a simple name that stood out. During their dating days Chip would often pick blooms from a magnolia tree for Joanna. Now the couple has Magnolia Farms, Magnolia Market, Magnolia Villas, Magnolia Realty, and Magnolia House! The list goes on and on and doesn't seem like it's going to stop anytime soon.

2. The Waco community is owning the Fixer Upper movement

Chip and Joanna employ a good handful of friends from their church and actually started that practice early on in their business. My son has actually started attending that church, so while we were there on a visit it was uncanny how many familiar faces I saw. It was like I was Oprah looking around and pointing "You've been on Fixer Upper, you've been on Fixer Upper, everyone's been on Fixer Upper!" The Gaines family is very involved in their church and the community they have built there are all quick to welcome guests coming to the area to visit the market.
common grounds coffee, magnolia market, silos, chip and joanna gaines, faith
Drinking local Common Grounds coffee at the Silos is one of my favorite things to do in Waco
Chip and Joanna want to advance the local businesses as much as they can, which is why you often see small local businesses featured on an episode. Several friends {and past clients from season 3 of Fixer Upper} from the church have even filled the need by forming a tour group called Waco Tours. People rave about this tour and I'm adding it to the list of things to do the next time I'm in town.
I visited Junque in the Trunk, a shop that Joanna used to frequent in past Fixer Upper seasons but just can't seem to get into now that she's become a household name. There the woman at the register told me "We have always run a good shop. Now we have a great one." She credits Magnolia Market and its fans for the booming success of the business.

3. They have a prayer team at Magnolia

They really do pray over the prayer requests that get sent to them. Joanna's mom has been described as a fiery prayer warrior, with her hand outstretched covering the properties they work on, the land that they build on, and the people they work with. 
In fact, there was a little controversy at Magnolia corporate when rumors started to spread that Mama Stevens had her hand out the window because she was smoking a cigarette. In fact, she just had her arm stretched out the window covering the town of Waco in prayer!

4. Joanna's mom can be found at Magnolia Market on Friday and Saturday's welcoming guests 

joanna gaines mom, mama stevens, magnolia market,
I was wandering around at the barn sale and saw some familiar faces. I was quick to recognize Joanna's mom, but a little unsure if it was Joanna's dad Jerry Stevens {who is Magnolia's current CEO}. I walked away fan girling for a second and found my husband and son playing football on the lawn. They encouraged me to put my big girl panties on and go talk to her.  I knew I would regret it if I didn't get a picture with her. She's totally expecting you to ask, so don't hesitate. 

5. There is a little legal battle stirring

If you spend any time reading the comments on anything Fixer Upper, it doesn't take long for someone to start stirring the pot. However, most people are hard pressed to find any actual drama happening. Mostly because there just isn't any to be had. However, one of the first things I noticed when visiting Magnolia Market on this past visit was that the parking situation was dire. On past visits I'd always turn down an ally by the market and park in a gravel side lot. However, this lot was blocked by a gate that closed off the road, and it turns out the whole thing is creating a little legal drama for the Magnolia team. 
magnolia market, chip and joanna gaines, silos, faith
The empty lot that Magnolia Market once rented for extra parking was sold in July, and their lease expired just before Silobration in early October. The new owner is attempting to sell the lot to the Gaineses for far more than they believe it's worth, and in the meantime wants to charge their customers $10 to park in that lot. Magnolia doesn't want their customers to think that they are charging for parking, so in order to make that clear, the gate (across a road that Magnolia has rights to) has been put in place.  Thankfully, the city of Waco is already two steps ahead of the situation and has a shuttle called the Silo District Trolley in place to help ease the parking situation.  You can read more about the lawsuit here.

6. The improvement of Waco isn't only due to the success of Fixer Upper

I have been mistaken myself and given credit to Fixer Upper for breathing new life into Waco. However, about ten years ago, long before Fixer Upper, a committee was formed called Waco Downtown Development Corporation {it's now known as City Center Waco} and plans were started to reclaim downtown Waco. In fact, as part of this restoration project, the Gaineses received over $200,000 in tax incentives as part of the silo renovation project.

7. The City Center Waco development team wanted the Gaineses to paint the Silos
silos, magnolia market

In a meeting, about an hour was spent discussing the need to paint the Silos and the above mentioned tax incentive held in the balance. Chip Gaines effectively argued his point and they were able to keep the Silos as is. Joanna often able to see the good in the old and broken, and these paint chipped, rust-stained, onetime eyesores have become the beautiful landmark epicenter of Magnolia Market.

8. The Gaineses have another business venture in the works

facebook/elite cafe

In May of this year, Chip and Joanna Gaines purchased the historic Elite Cafe. The struggling restaurant closed its doors in early February and was bought by the Gaines shortly thereafter. Many of the Cafe's furniture, appliances, and signs, and even a baby-blue Cadillac were auctioned off by Magnolia after the purchase. The auction proceeds were then given to Mission Waco, an organization with a vision to create a nonprofit grocery store, and the $51,000 raised by the auction put them over their target goal. It's recently been revealed that the Elite Cafe will be a breakfast joint, since breakfast is Chip's favorite meal of the day.

9. Chip and Joanna Gaines really are that authentic

I've spent a lot of time researching, talking to previous clients and reading articles about the Gaineses and the show, and time and time again I hear from their friends and their clients that the Chip and Joanna you see on TV really are the Chip and Joanna they know in real life. They are authentic, loving, kind and just as goofy and honoring of one another like you see on the show.

10. Waco will be the backdrop for a major motion picture

It's been recently confirmed that Father of the Bride 3 be filmed in Waco, Texas next spring. Most of the original cast including Steve Martin and Diane Keaton will be returning for filming. Not many other details have been released so it will be exciting to see how the city of Waco will play a role in the upcoming film.

11. Waco is a town of healing and restoration

It's no secret that Waco has had its ups and downs. Well, mostly downs, if you are to believe the narrative that is out there. It's a town that gets beaten down time and time again but like the little engine that could, it keeps coming back bigger and stronger. However, on my last visit I heard Waco described more than once as a town of hope, healing and restoration. It used to be known as Geyser City, and with its abundant supply of naturally heated artesian wells, people from all over would come to sit and receive healing in the natural springs. Even though those springs aren't flowing any more, the anointing that has been placed on that city is something that is often felt by the people who come to Waco. 
I asked David Ridley of Waco Tours about the reviews I was seeing of this newly formed tour company. More than one review stated that the people came into the tour as strangers, but they left as friends. David was quick to tell me several stories of this happening, and while outsiders are often dumbstruck that Waco would be considered a destination for healing and restoration, people seem to be finding just that here. I've even heard Joanna Gaines say the very same thing in an interview. "When people come and experience all that's here, when we encounter them, they will encounter the love of God." 

There is something just a little bit different about Waco, Texas. You may come and feel a sense of healing and restoration, or you may watch Fixer Upper and see something different about the people on the show, and wonder just what it is that is drawing you in. The community of Waco as a whole, and Chip and Joanna Gaines in particular are all just giving us a taste of what they already know. Waco is a diamond in the rough. A hidden gem that is slowly being uncovered, one Fixer Upper at a time.

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Angela said...

Just a fyi in case you didn't know - Steve Martin was born in Waco, TX. Guess he is returning home for his next film. That's exciting news. :)

Anonymous said...

Father of the Bride 3 is fake.. sorry.

rachelteodoro said...

Angela, I did read that he was from Waco. But now I'm not totally sure if the movie rumors are true. Maybe if we wish for it hard enough!

Deb said...

We lived in CA, but loved the small town vibe we received from watching Fixer Upper. We spent a long weekend visiting the town and although we were never able to locate work there, moved to another area of TX within the year. The people here are genuinely nice and kind, and we consider ourselves blessed to be have been touched by the Gaines family and Waco.

Anonymous said...

While we live in Dallas, our family weekend ranch is 35 miles to the West of Waco...so we happen to drive directly by the Gaines' farm each time we visit "town". Have seen the TV production trailers parked there on occasion as well.
What a kick to discover our that favorite HGTV personalities live down the road. Remodeled our 1918 ranch house last year...so their Magnolia book has a prominent place on our coffee table!

Anonymous said...

While we live in Dallas, our family weekend ranch is 35 miles to the West of Waco...so we happen to drive directly by the Gaines' farm each time we visit "town". Have seen the TV production trailers parked there on occasion as well.
What a kick to discover our that favorite HGTV personalities live down the road. Remodeled our 1918 ranch house last year...so their Magnolia book has a prominent place on our coffee table!

Anonymous said...

so glad u put in about the parking thing as other sites were saying magnolia was charging to park thanks

rachelteodoro said...

I think Magnolia has done what they can to make sure that the customers don't think they are the ones charging for parking. I know they made signs for the area churches to use and the churches have been making moolah from the parking (which is a great thing for them!). But, if there is one thing that I hate, it's paying for parking, so I do whatever I can to NOT pay. It's still very possible to find FREE street parking. You just may have to walk a bit. But the weather is usually nice.

Hilary said...

Very inspiring to hear about their upcoming plans and see a little of the shop!

Pamela said...

My sister is a huge fan of JoAnna and Chip! She just got through and rented the Hillctest House this April! We are taking a huge girlfriend trip to Texas from our home states of Iowa and Minnesota. I would really like to surprise my sister with a great gift while in Waco. Do you know if there are any meet and greet opportunities? Or do you have any suggestions on how I could treat my sister while in Waco?
My sister does so much for everyone else I really want to do something special for her!

rachelteodoro said...

Hi Pamela! I don't know of any meet and greets with Chip and Joanna, in fact, they seem hard to find and really with a 5th pregnancy are probably laying low right now. I would highly recommend reading a few of my other posts, but for sure would book a Waco Tour. It's run by former Fixer Upper castmates and friends of Chip and Joanna. Plus you will see Waco in a new light. Have a great trip!

Pamela said...

Thank you so much! I really enjoy your blog!

K Young said...

Nice article. Thank you.

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