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Mike Copeland: Waco barbecue accolades; Pep Boys shifting gears; Free trees; Brazos Trail RV Park

Mike Copeland: Waco barbecue accolades; Pep Boys shifting gears; Free trees; Brazos Trail RV Park

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Texas Monthly magazine continues to profile Waco’s shifting barbecue scene. In its most recent edition, which came out Thursday, it profiles three locals — Guess Family Barbecue, Honky Tonk Kid BBQ and Helberg Barbecue — which have transitioned from food trucks to brick-and-mortar sites.

For those catching up, Guess Family Barbecue now occupies the former Michna’s space at 2803 Franklin Ave. Honky Tonk Kid does business at 112 Mary Ave. downtown. Helberg Barbecue operates at 8532 West Highway 6.

Barbecue Editor Daniel Vaughn, who had praise for each venture in their food truck forms, reported improvements in their transitions.

Pep Boys shifting gears

Manny, Moe and Jack are changing their stripes at Westview Village.

The trio founded the Pep Boys auto parts and service chain in Philadelphia. It is difficult to remember when there was not a Pep Boys in the shopping center anchoring one of the city’s busiest intersections, Waco and Valley Mills drives. But recently rumors swirled that changes were afoot.

And Pep Boys spokesperson Arianna Sherlock said by email that the Westview Village store will become a service-only location. No longer will it function as a retailer of parts and supplies.

“We announced in August that a process is underway to separate the company into two independent parts and service companies,” Sherlock said. “As part of that process, we are making some adjustments to our store network. The Pep Boys in Westview Village is transitioning to a dedicated service center, which will allow us to improve our service capabilities and add additional service products, including tires. We’re working to ensure we continue to meet our customers’ needs during the transition.”

No word yet on the timing of that transition or the fate of employees.

Free trees

Need a tree, call Oncor. The Dallas-based power company announced its customers can register to receive up to two free trees per household by visiting before Nov. 1. Trees from 1- to 3-feet tall will be delivered directly to customers while supplies last, according to an Oncor press release.

“This marks the eighth consecutive year that Oncor has partnered with the Arbor Day Foundation’s Energy-Saving Trees Program to give away more than 8,000 free trees to customers,” the press release states.

Oncor plugged the planting of trees, saying trees around homes help conserve energy, increase property values, reduce the carbon footprint, improve air quality and more effectively catch stormwater runoff.

Extrapreneur Award

Extraco Banks has announced Waco Tours is the winner of the 2019 Extrapreneur Award Program, which provides Central Texas business launchers and small business owners a $25,000 cash prize, mentorship and business consulting for an entire year, according to a press release from Extraco.

About 55 businesses across Central Texas applied for the program. Seven finalists, including Waco Tours, pitched their business to Extraco leaders.

Waco Tours is co-owned by David Ridley and Luke and Rachel Whyte. It has been operating about three years, serving almost 60,000 guests who chose a classic tour, river tour or Texas experience. Waco Tours also partners with entities including Baylor University to give prospective employees and students a look around the city, the press release states.

Other finalists for the award were Bear Paw Coffee & Beer Co., Champions Salon & Barber, Cheddar Box, Compleo Physical Therapy & Wellness, MLC Manufacturing LLC, and Exosphere Fitness.

Manufacturing Day

It was Manufacturing Day nationwide Friday, and Merrick Engineering in Waco paid tribute by hosting students from Texas State Technical College’s Facilities Management Technology and Industrial Systems programs, the company announced.

“We want them to understand the manufacturing fundamentals,” operations manager Ali Jawady said in a press release. “Anything we can do to help attract new people in this trade is what I’m hoping for.”

Merrick makes plastic clothes hangers, bowls, plates and other items for retailers including Dollar General, Target and Walmart. Rudy Garcia, who manages the Walmart on Franklin Avenue, attended the presentation.

Brazos Trail RV Park

Brazos Trail RV Park has opened in Riesel, replacing the defunct Walkabout RV Park on Rice Road just off State Highway 6. Larry Wornat with Falls Capital Inc. bought the property about six months ago, paving the way for the turnaround.

It is reopening with 100 recreational vehicle spaces with campsite hookups, a fishing pond, dog park, free Wi-Fi and a remodeled office with laundry facilities and showers, according to a press release.

It also has the 2,500-square-foot Brazos Ballroom, which is available for parties, showers, corporate retreats and family reunions.

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