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One family's dream fuels countless others


I shared on Instagram last night that I was recently in Waco Texas.  I became an HGTV Fixer Upper fan when I noticed how much the Gaines' focused on showcasing local businesses, artists and craftsman, as well as showcasing the uniqueness of their own design and process.  I made the trip to Waco because I was curious about whether this story line had been created in the editing room, or was indeed a true collaboration between small businesses.  And yes, I dragged my husband along, who became surprisingly excited about the trip!

Our first stop was at The Silos:  a large market full of metal signs, florals, shirts, vases, and many other items to decorate your home with.  It includes a bakery shop, seven different small business food trucks, picnic tables, swings, outdoor games, and a massive pergola to shade visitors from the hot Texas sun.   I appreciated seeing all the people The Silos employed, and it was easy to see that the Gaines' are focused on the entire experience of wanting people to come and enjoy the place they have invested so much in.  Even the church that sits across the street benefits from The Silos experience, by allowing parking for a small fee.  I loved learning that the parking funds help with church upkeep, and have further contributed to funding patch work on the church roof!

Our next stop was Jimmy Don Designs, the Gaines' metal sign artist.  I loved standing at the glass window overlooking the shop where the signs are created.  The experience of watching several signs being cut by hand and machine, and then lovingly hand finished was great!  Suddenly, we heard this booming, happy Texan voice, and as I turned around, I realized it was Jimmy Don!  He spent several minutes chatting with us about the couple dozen people he employees and how he has been able to grow the business because of the Fixer Upper team.  He is proud of the fact that his business went from "always having a little bit of work" to now creating over 500 signs a day because of the collaboration between businesses. 

Over the next few days in Waco, we stopped at several more local places, and saw how the Fixer Upper team was helping other local shops.  We went to Heritage Farms, a small community focused on sustainable farming and educating the public on iron and wood craftsmanship.  As we strolled through the buildings, I realized that many of the items displayed in their shops had also been on Fixer Upper.  When we went to the Harp Design shop, Joanna Gaines' go-to wood guy, it was easy to see the growth of his wood-working shop and boutique.  Many of the restaurants and antique shops in Waco were experiencing growth as well.  

And all of the growth, experiences and dreams are being fueled by one family's dream to create homes for people.  The Gaines' dream has fueled boutiques, a cup cake shop, an iron maker, a wood salvager, an antiques dealer, a church, several restaurants, and countless other small businesses that are collaborating together.   

There is really nothing that should keep a small business from working with another; most of the time, it only takes the courage to go and ask.  I want to encourage the clothing boutique owner to chat with the cup cake shop owner and explore how you can collaborate together to drive sales and traffic for both businesses.  If your are a food truck owner, chat with the athletic store owner and determine what Saturdays are best to park the truck outside the shop.  If you have a space that is too large for your merchandise to fill, then look for another owner to bring their product in also.  So let's take a take a page from the Fixer Upper team and let's collaborate together; it is a great way to increase the experience for our customers and drive our sales higher.