In front of the Magnolia Market storefront there is a memory. The sign from the Little Shop on Bosque, Chip and Joanna Gaines’ first retail store, is printed on a banner in front of the new location. This weekend, the Little Shop and its iconic Magnolia sign will be wheeled away for the last time at the grand opening of the downtown market at Waco’s iconic silos.
On Thursday, the Waco Chamber of Commerce joined Magnolia’s employees and Joanna Gaines—her husband Chip had thrown his back out the night before—to cut the new market’s red ribbon.
Since 2003, Chip and Joanna Gaines have brought their sophisticated, rustic design to Waco through their real estate business, retail store and home renovations. In 2013, the rest of the world took notice of the couple and the town they called home when HGTV premiered “Fixer Upper,” which shows each stage of their routine process, from selling homes to putting the final touches on table linens.
The grand opening of their store comes after a week-long soft opening meant to work out the challenges of running an operation as big as this one.
“All day people flooded in. This whole experience, we’re completely humbled by it,” Gaines said. “We really worked out the kinks during the soft opening.”
The grand opening this weekend will welcome about 2,500 ticket holders on Friday and Saturday night, with even more guests during the day, when tickets are not required. VIP and general admission tickets to the night’s events are now sold out. Gaines said she expects 5,000 to 8,000 shoppers and visitors throughout the weekend.
The grand opening, or “Silobration,” will feature performances by the band Johnnyswim, a meet and greet with Chip and Joanna Gaines for VIP ticket holders, and, for many, the first experience of the store and the surrounding property.
The grand celebration is the culmination of a year’s worth of work to bring the property up to the Gaines’ standards. Gaines said when they decided on the silos as their new location, the grain barn and building where the store is now were covered in graffiti and littered in debris.
Now, as visitors this weekend will see, the interior of the store and the surrounding buildings have been transformed.
“We’ve expanded from 400 square feet at the first store to 4,000 square feet here,” said Brock Murphy, Magnolia’s public relations spokesperson.
Despite the store’s increased size, Gaines said she still handpicks each merchandise item and designs the storefront display herself. Fall cookbooks, vintage-inspired wrapping paper, floral arrangements and the usual vases, candles, and signature metal signs decorate the store.
“For me, I just really want home to be a comfortable place,” Gaines said.
She described her style as pretty and practical, with each piece being unique and different while still having a purpose.
In addition to the store there is a lawn for kids and their parents to play in, an array of food trucks and a garden (now used as a pumpkin patch). The market is meant to be more than just a shopping experience, Gaines said. It is a way to bring the family together in the Waco community.
Gaines said she expects the space will be used for outdoor concerts and events, beginning with Johnnyswim this weekend. She said her own children enjoy playing in the store and the outdoor areas, and she hopes that other parents will bring their kids there as well.
However, the work on Magnolia is not yet over. Construction has left many areas surrounding the lawn area muddy and rutted. A sign at the store’s entry says, “We’re open! Pardon our dust, and please come in.”
The building that formerly housed the Rosetree Floral Studio is also undergoing development, although Gaines was reluctant to say what the project will become. The silos themselves will see changes within the next year, although Gaines wouldn’t reveal their future either.
Murphy expressed excitement for the visitors that would be arriving from all over the country for the Silobration. Even on Thursday morning a line was forming outside the door to get into Magnolia Market.
“They’re going to get to see their vision, their dream for this space come alive,” Murphy said.