This morning, locals combatted the dreary clouds and light drizzle of rain by coming together as a part of the 1 Million Cups community.
Becca McCormack, owner of Refine31, grew up in Houston, Texas before coming to Baylor for college, when she found a love for Waco. She and her husband, Clark, set up shop almost one month ago, introducing "boutique fitness" with a religious aspect to Waco.
"Everyone is so willing to help here," McCormack said. "I tell everyone who wants to start a business to do it in Waco."
Refine31, located in Woodway, Texas, focuses on having a consistent, helpful, comforting environment. With a low student-to-teacher ratio and in-house training, McCormack's model seeks to break into the Waco fitness scene with upscale classes and an affordable price.
Refine31's entrepreneurial tip for new businesses? Don't skimp on branding or social media. If things look "homemade," people will expect to pay the "homemade" price.
Presenting for Home Grown Farm was Waco native Toby Tull. A family business, Tull started the business with his brother and mother in 2012 with a 3.5 acre plot in China Spring, TX. Today, the have grown to 125 acres and have located to Gholson, Texas, for the fertile soil.
Tull embarked on this venture after finding a bell pepper from a Scandinavian country at the grocer and lamenting that there was not a local option. The goal of the Tull brothers is simple: to have "truly local, well-grown, highly nutritious" food easily available from a local source.
They have their fair share of difficulties, which is why farming—the backbone of America—is on the decline. In order to combat this, Tull seeks to create a replicable model to bring locally-sourced food to people everywhere. Also, given that they are located outdoors, they rely on luck when dealing with the forces of nature.
In the past few months, Tull has partnered with Happy Harvest to create farm-to-table dinners, allowing locals to become more involved. Currently, they distribute their products via wholesale to grocers in Dallas and Austin, retail through the Waco Downtown Farmer's Market, and through a membership plan which delivers locally. Their most popular products are eggs and honey.
Echoing McCormack's sentiments, Tull remarked that entrepreneurs wanting to start up a business in Waco should "hands-down" do so in Waco.
"The benefits include low cost of living, and the customers here want to try new things," Tull said. "They are gracious. And, they want want Waco to be something. The advantages [of working in Waco] revolve around its customer base."
Both McCormack and Tull's request of Waco was in the same vein: support local. McCormack does so by utilizing in-house training and looking to raise awareness of other business. On the other hand, Tull attempts to efficiently create a local food source while paying his workers a living wage.
"It's important to keep our money local, whether you purchase with us or elsewhere," Tull said. "If it takes you five extra minutes to get your smoothie, please remember that they are local. They are trying their best."
If you would like to become a small business mentor or mentee, please contact Kevin Renois at firstname.lastname@example.org.