Mike Copeland: Business Beat

Photo by Jerry Lawson/Waco Tribune-Herald

Photo by Jerry Lawson/Waco Tribune-Herald

By Mike Copeland
Waco Tribune-Herald

Franchisee Mark Nelson hoped to open his Dunkin’ Donuts shop at 1200 N. Valley Mills Drive last week, but now Tuesday is the day he will make a lot of local people happy.

His Oso Coffee franchise group will toss out the welcome mat at 5:30 a.m. that day, and the first 10 guests in line at both the drive-thru and lobby will each receive a $25 Dunkin’ Donuts gift card, said Jessica Goldstone, a spokeswoman for the Dunkin’ brand.

Goldstone said Waco’s Dunkin’ will offer the chain’s full array of goodies, including fresh brewed coffee and iced beverages, baked treats and sandwiches.

Nelson recently told the Tribune-Herald he hopes to open two more locations and remains in the hunt for sites. He said Dunkin’ Donuts likely will compete more with Starbucks than with Shipley Donuts, the heavyweight in the local market, noting he will serve espresso, cappuccino, lattes and macchiatos.

“All Dunkin’ Donuts menu items are always available any time of day, and guests are encouraged to customize their favorite food and beverages,” Goldstone said.

Oso Coffee, Nelson’s franchising group, was founded in 2015, when Nelson partnered with quick-service restaurant veteran Brett Spivey. They have a goal of opening seven Dunkin’ Donuts locations in Central Texas, including three in Waco. They will put a shop in College Station in the summer of 2017.

Founded in 1950, Massachusetts-based Dunkin’ operates 12,000 restaurants in 44 countries and is part of the Dunkin’ Brands Group Inc.

Bass Pro buys Cabela’s

Bass Pro Shops last week acquired Cabela’s in a $5.5 billion deal that rocked the world of outdoors-related retailing.

Photo via Cabela's website

Photo via Cabela's website

Yet to be determined is how the deal, which will close during the first quarter of 2017, will affect Cabela’s stores, including Waco’s in Central Texas Marketplace that opened in October 2013. That 42,000-square-foot Cabela’s Outpost store was an example of the chain’s new prototype for midsize markets.

The Waco location is dwarfed by the store in Buda, just south of Austin, which boasts a 185,000-square-foot showroom and has become a tourist destination.

Leo Bradshaw, 82, has been dealing in firearms locally for 63 years, once owning the popular Cogdell’s sporting goods store at New Road and Valley Mills Drive, which customers may remember as having the huge stuffed bear near the entrance. Today he runs a gun shop on Wooded Acres Drive called Bradshaw/Cogdell’s.

“It had been in the works for quite some time, but I was still very surprised and very disappointed,” Bradshaw said of Bass Pro Shops buying Cabela’s.

He said he long has enjoyed reading about how “Dick” Cabela started the company and how it flourished under his leadership. The company is now publicly traded, and it has struggled financially in recent years as management realized its huge stores filled with stuffed animals, shooting ranges and man-made mountains were expensive to operate.

Still, with lessons learned, Bradshaw said, “I’d rather see it remain a stand-alone company.”

He said frankly Cabela’s was disappointed in the performance of the Waco store during its first 90 days of operation.

“But today, as we speak, they are very satisfied with the business of the store,” he said. “It has just taken a little longer than they thought.”

Bradshaw said he opens his gun shop when he feels well enough to do so, saying after a lifetime of good health, he has endured six major surgeries since Feb. 9.

“I just close the place down in between,” Bradshaw said of his hospital stays, but he added he’s feeling better and welcomes drop-ins.

Mars takes over Wrigley

Photo by Jerry Lawson/Waco Tribune-Herald

Photo by Jerry Lawson/Waco Tribune-Herald

Mars Inc., which operates a candy plant in Waco that makes Snickers, Skittles and Starburst products, has taken control of the Wrigley chewing gum empire.

The New York Times reported last week that privately held Mars will begin buying out the stake held by Warren Buffett.

Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway financed a $23 billion deal for Mars to buy Wrigley in 2008. Buffett received preferred shares worth about $2.1 billion and $4.4 billion worth of bonds with an 11.45 percent interest rate, according to The Times.

Mars paid off the bonds in 2013, has cashed Buffett out and can now start buying Buffett’s stake in the company.

Wrigley global President Martin Radvan will lead the newly combined Mars Wrigley Confectionery, which will be headquartered in Chicago, according to a company press release.

“We are grateful for the strong and productive partnership we have with Warren Buffett and Berkshire Hathaway. It is a great relationship that has yielded value on both sides,” Mars CEO Grant F. Reid said in the press release. “We’re equally pleased that sole ownership of Wrigley provides us with an opportunity to rethink how we simplify our Chocolate and Wrigley businesses so that we can bring a more holistic approach to this vibrant category.”

Gaineses’ plans for the Elite

Chip and Joanna Gaines shed a little light on their plans for the vacant Elite Cafe on Waco’s traffic circle during the “Silobration” going on the past couple of days at Magnolia Market at the Silos, Sixth Street and Webster Avenue.

Photo by Jerry Lawson/Waco Tribune-Herald

Photo by Jerry Lawson/Waco Tribune-Herald

They plan to open a restaurant serving breakfast, brunch and lunch, though they did not go into detail about menu items. Magnolia spokesman Brock Murphy said he could not say anything beyond what the Gaineses announced, and he’s not sure whether the establishment will keep the Elite name.

The Gaineses bought the iconic building after Ford Restaurant Group closed it abruptly in February. The Elite, where the elite meet to eat, according to the marquee, had fed generations of Waco residents for 97 years, but intense competition from new dining establishments apparently proved too much for it to overcome.

The Gaineses recently sanctioned an auction of the cafe’s contents, with the net proceeds of $51,000 going to Mission Waco and its efforts to create a nonprofit grocery store in an old building at North 15th Street and Colcord Avenue that once housed a Safeway. Jubilee Food Market is scheduled to open Nov. 21.

Welding robot at TSTC

Texas State Technical College in Waco recently received a welding robot valued at $150,000 for its Welding Technology program. The gift was made available by ARC Specialties in northwest Houston, a company that designs and builds automated machinery for welding, pipeline manufacturing, and the oil and gas industry.

“It’s important that the students get access to the new technology,” said Jim Walker, a welding technologist and certified welding inspector quoted in a news release from TSTC. “It doesn’t do any good if they don’t ever touch the equipment and have to learn about it once in the industry.”

Photo via TSTC

Photo via TSTC

Robots typically perform about 10 percent of tasks across the manufacturing spectrum, but that percentage could increase to 25 percent worldwide by 2025, according to the Boston Consulting Group, a private global management consulting firm specializing in business strategy.

ARC Specialties is represented on the advisory board of TSTC’s Welding Technology department, the news release states.