Baylor Speaker Event Features Local Entrepreneurs

Common Grounds and Heritage Creamery owners Blake and Kimberly Batson share advice with business students. MJ Routh | Multimedia Journalist

By Micaela Freeman | Staff Writer

The Hankamer School of Business launched their three-part speaker event “Confessions of an Entrepreneur” Thursday, which will feature local entrepreneurs and is open to the public. The series will offer Baylor students the opportunity to hear local entrepreneurs speak about how he or she became successful.

Each local entrepreneur will also speak about the unconventional path he or she took in becoming a successful businessman or woman. Each speaker event of the series is at 12:30 p.m. in Foster 143 for each speaker event.

Two of the speakers were the owners of Common Grounds and Heritage Creamery, Blake and Kimberly Batson of Waco. They began their talk by addressing their challenges, and how two Baylor graduates came back to their small college town to open two successful businesses.

Kimberly Batson spoke about the route she and her husband took to become successful entrepreneurs and the nontraditional path they took as Philosophy and English majors at Baylor.

“Sometimes, disappointments open doors to what is truly the best for you and serving underneath someone else’s dream is what is going to equip you for what you’re passionate about. It taught me to be a learner,” Kimberly said.

The Batsons, originally hailing from Waco, both came back to their hometown to pursue the goal of owning a local business and contributing to the culture of Waco. While studying at Baylor, Blake Batson fell in love with the culture and life of Common Grounds and the up and coming city. After graduation, he felt moved to become a bigger part of Common Grounds and in 2012 Batson purchased the coffee shop

Kimberly Batson played an active role in the ownership of both and announced she will be opening a bookstore called Fable Books in the city in the upcoming years.

“We have fallen into this passion for hospitality in Waco. I think there is a great need for new things happening in Waco, and we want to do that,” said the Kimberly Batson.

As advocates of investing in a local economy, the Batsons were thrilled to share their journey of becoming staple business owners in their community.

“We’re ‘grown here’ because we’re passionate about promoting the local economy by supporting our farmers and vendors, sourcing locally whenever possible,” Blake Baston said.

The event offered Shorty’s pizza and Common Grounds coffee and students were able to interact with the Batsons and ask questions following the speaking.

Albany, N.Y. freshman Payton Czupil was thrilled about the opportunity the event had to offer.

“The speech given by the Batsons really opened my eyes to how entrepreneurship works and showed me the dedication that they have for their company and its customers,” Czupil said. “I also learned that there are non-traditional ways a person can take to become effective in their local economy.”

Upwards of one hundred Baylor students and Wacoans attended the event, and were excited to not only hear a story of success, but also ask questions and enjoy pizza and coffee. The Batsons explained what it meant to be where they are while sharing their journey of owning a business.

“Being able to share our story and talk about and think through all the things that have happened the last six or seven years … this charity is really amazing and fun,” Blake Baston said.

The next speaker event of the series will be Feb. 22, featuring Brent Bankston, the owner of Bankston’s Sport Memorabilia, Comics & Collectibles.