The Waco Business Newsletter: August 14, 2019

A bi-monthly newsletter investigating the people, places, and policies shaping Waco’s economy.

I'm Austin Meek, Vox of Waco Business News and host of "Downtown Depot," the radio show and podcast where we track the ins and outs of Waco business. Listen live on Fridays at 11:30AM on 103.3 KWBU-FM or stream previous episodes of "Downtown Depot" anytime via Apple PodcastsNPR, and Waco Business News.

The Waco Business Newsletter: August 14, 2019

An overhead view of downtown Waco, a booming area along the I-35 corridor in Texas.

An overhead view of downtown Waco, a booming area along the I-35 corridor in Texas.


  1. The Real Estate Center at Texas A&M published a market study on "Waco's Wild Rise." If you listen to Downtown Depot when real estate experts Austin Hooper or Gregg Glime are on the show, none of this information should come as a surprise! One point of emphasis in the piece is that Waco's rise is not merely attributable to "the Fixer Upper effect;" more likely, the city is simply benefiting from economic growth that's sweeping across the state. (RECON)

  2. Devin Li is a Chinese immigrant who moved to Waco to attend Baylor. His wife and he recently started Waco Cha, a boba tea company, and he's using that platform to champion diversity in our city. His Downtown Depot interview was one of my recent favorites! (Waco Business News)

  3. Stampede Stills is a Hewitt-based company that makes distilling equipment and furniture out of copper. I featured the owner, Todd Gillespie, on the most recent "Small Business Spotlight," presented by American Bank. (Waco Business News)

  4. Local legends Jimmy and Janet Dorrell were named "Hometown Heroes" by the venerable burger chain, Whataburger, for their community work with Mission Waco. (Whataburger)

  5. Guess Family Barbecue will open next month in the former Michna BBQ's building on Franklin Avenue. Although the use remains the same, thousands of renovation dollars were poured into the restaurant space. Listen to Pitmaster Reid Guess from when he joined me on Downtown Depot in June 2018. (Waco Business News)

On the left, Amsterdam circa 1970. On the right, Amsterdam present day, a city where pedestrians and cyclists have been given precedence over automobiles.

On the left, Amsterdam circa 1970. On the right, Amsterdam present day, a city where pedestrians and cyclists have been given precedence over automobiles.


  1. In Amsterdam, the capital of the Netherlands, bicycles outnumber people - in 2013, there were 1.2 million bikes compared to 877,000 people. But the "bike capital of the world" wasn't always this way. Until the 1980s, when city council members removed free on-street parking and imposed narrower streets, lower speed limits, and wider sidewalks, Amsterdam was as congested as a typical western city. The picture above shows the difference that simple design and zoning changes have made in just a few decades. Remember: streets should be for people, not cars! (StreetsBlog NYC)

  2. Is retail really dead? Or is it just changing? A look into Neighborhood Goods, a new concept in Dallas that provides physical space for popular online retailers. (D Magazine)

  3. Climate change is real and it's reshaping our economy. Rural California home markets have declined because, due to recent wildfires in the area, insurers either A) won't sell insurance, or B) do sell, but at a significant markup. There are workarounds - "fire resistant walls" are rated and designed to contain a fire to a room or building for a designated time period - but currently the construction is expensive and will only be sustainable at scale, which I sincerely hope never happens. (The Sacramento Bee)

  4. Jobs are booming in San Mateo County, CA, nestled in between San Francisco and San Jose in the tech hub of Silicon Valley. But neighbors and city councils have been roundly rejecting new housing projects for years, citing traffic concerns that the additional density would bring. A new study shows that the lack of housing in central areas actually increases traffic congestion as workers are forced to commute daily from their affordable housing outside of the county to their jobs within it. (The Mercury News)

  5. Home ownership in America, which has declined among every relevant age group since its peak in the mid-2000s, is a troubling trend that shows no signs of a turnaround. One demographic contributor is the fact that homeownership among the white population is about 70% but under 50% for the black, Asian, and Hispanic populations. As America becomes increasingly nonwhite, the concept of homeownership as a bedrock of financial stability will continue to fray. Although young people and nonwhites are eschewing homeownership, the void is being filled by investors: private equity firms, real estate speculators and other investors made up more than 11% of U.S. homebuyers in 2018, the highest percentage on record and significantly higher than the level seen before the 2008 housing crash. (Axios)