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Mike Copeland: Blue Bell flavors for the Silos; Scott Drew book; Local Skate Rat; Waco's German connection

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Spring at the Silo (copy)

Spring at the Silos, seen here in 2019, will feature Blue Bell ice cream flavors Chip and Joanna Gaines had a hand in developing and naming. This year’s event will run Thursday through Saturday.

Rumor has it those beautiful cows featured in Blue Bell commercials think Magnolia Market at the Silos is heaven, with Brenham a close second.

Truth is Chip and Joanna Gaines are collaborating with the Texas ice cream brand on five new Magnolia-inspired flavors. The unveiling is scheduled next weekend, at the annual blowout known as Spring at the Silos. Here’s hoping the street work surrounding the Silos for months will run its course by March 10-12. No one wants rocky roads to spoil the event.

OK, admittedly that was an attempt at humor deserving of a detour.

The new Blue Bell flavors to be showcased next weekend include Wacotown Vanilla, Jo’s Lemon Pie, S’mores at the Silos, Magnolia Press Chocolate Cake and Chip’s Salted Caramel Truffle, according to a press release.

“Both Chip and Joanna were involved in not only the naming of the flavors, but the actual flavor creating process, as well,” Magnolia spokesperson John Marsicano said in an email response to questions.

For now they are available exclusively at the Silos, but Marsicano hinted at a broader rollout.

“Stay tuned for additional information in the months ahead,” he wrote.

Scott Drew book

Baylor University’s head men’s basketball coach, Scott Drew, is writing a book titled “The Road to JOY,” which traces the team’s national championship run last season. It will be published by Chip and Joanna Gaines’ fledgling venture, Magnolia Publications, and a May release looks likely.

The Gaineses made the move in partnership with industry heavyweight HarperCollins. The Magnolia imprint will focus on “incredible voices and talents,” whose works cross multiple genres, according to a press release.

“Should a project be deemed as a good fit for the Magnolia Publications imprint, that book will be assigned the Harper division most skilled at bringing that particular book to market,” said Matt Baugher, senior vice president for author and partnership development, in the press release. “Both Harper and Magnolia will edit the content as well as promote the releases upon publication.”

It should come as no surprise the Gaineses chose Scott Drew and the Baylor Bears to kick off Magnolia Publications. Both are Baylor graduates and attend games occasionally. Chip got considerable TV time during the Bears’ win over Kansas about two weeks ago at the Ferrell Center, cameras often spotting him cheering and high-fiving fellow fans.

Chip wrote the foreword to Drew’s “The Road to JOY.”

Gas prices

News at the gasoline pumps is not getting better, according to AAA Texas.

The average price for regular unleaded in Waco jumped 14 cents during the week ending Thursday, settling at $3.29 per gallon. The national average rose 19 cents, to $3.73, while the state norm increased 17 cents, to $3.38, AAA reported.

“Oil prices have skyrocketed to 11-year highs due to the volatility in global crude markets caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine,” AAA Texas spokesperson Daniel Armbruster said in a press release. “Demand for gasoline will only increase as spring approaches and more people travel.”

Local Skate Rats

Dan Rettinger, a halfpipe dude from Malibu, California, studying entrepreneurship and marketing at Baylor University, has opened a business called Local Skate Rats. He is seeking a permanent location locally and enlisted the help of commercial real estate agent Gregg Glime.

Rettinger said he is interested in a building on Speight Avenue, near Barefoot Campus Outfitter, Fuego Tortilla Grill and Freight Bar. He said in an email he hopes to sign a lease in June and open in June or July.

His website shows apparel for sale, including hoodies, caps and T-shirts.

“Growing up I’ve always loved drawing and designing things,” Rettinger said. “Being a college student, it is hard to get relevant experience in the clothing design and company branding side of things. Starting Local Skate Rats initially was a way for me to boost up my resume with skills that could help me get a big design job for a major surf or skateboard brand company.”

He says on his website he grew up around surfing and extreme sports, and that “constantly hopping the fence to Malibu High School and skating the halfpipe with my buddies helped create the brand Local Skate Rats.”

“After moving to Waco, Texas, I quickly adopted more of the skate and wake board culture,” he said. “I quickly discovered that skating and surfing is not limited to the ocean or the skate park—it is networking and sharing the same passions and discovering your culture right where you are.”

The German connection

Kris Collins, the Greater Waco Chamber of Commerce’s industry recruiter, recently announced that yet another German company, Messer, will open a plant in McGregor to produce gases for industrial and medical use.

She has made three trips to Germany since 2013, Collins said by email. Her first trip was with a state of Texas delegation, arranged through the Texas Economic Development Corp. The next two were through a partnership involving the Transatlantic Business & Investment Council and Team Texas, a marketing committee of the Texas Economic Development Corp.

She said most visits have focused on the area in and around Frankfurt. Trips included two- to three-day meetings with business representatives at the Hannover Messe, a large international industrial trade shows, and off-site meetings with businesses interested in establishing a presence in the United States.

Waco is reaping the benefits of Collins’ travel, landing Vossloh Fastening Systems/Woco Tech, ZinkPower Waco, Uzin Utz North America, Knauf Insulation and now Messer. Collins said connections with the companies vary, but she believes they are most impressed by personal testimonies from German companies already doing business here.


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