By Avery Ballmann | Staff Writer
On Feb. 10 from 5 p.m. – 8 p.m. small businesses on Franklin Avenue are hosting a Galentine’s Day celebration with food trucks, live music and discounts. DylanNICOLE, a boutique located at 700 Franklin Ave., is new to the block, and owner Karen Hansen said she is excited for this event to draw in new clientele to downtown Waco.
“The purpose of the event is to hopefully draw the Waco and Baylor community to the area of Franklin,” Hansen said. “We have Union Hall on the corner, which definitely draws business to our area, but we’re hoping for the ladies to get acquainted with our store and also what we can provide on Franklin.”
Businesses involved in this event on the 600 and 700 block of Franklin Avenue include Mainstream Boutique, January Letterpress, Waco Running Company, Coming Home to Waco and DylanNICOLE. Gina Mitchell has been the owner of Mainstream Boutique for one year and the business has been a vendor on Franklin for six years.
“We’re partnering with all of the stores on those two blocks to have this event in hopes that people will realize that we’re a shopping destination,” Mitchell said. “We are having a drawing for a $150 gift card for a shopping spree.”
Vendors that are invited whose businesses are not located on Franklin are Cuppiecakes, Cheney Brothers Coffee, Gigi’s Fancy Fudge, Simply Rustic Candles and Emotional Baggage. There will also be live music by Brett Boiles.
Julie Overton, Baylor alumni and owner of Coming Home To Waco, is offering 50% off Valentine’s Day decor at the event. Her store features The Roundtop Collection, which is home and garden decor based in Texas.
“So much of what we get downtown is tourists, so many locals still don’t know that there’s lots of fun options downtown for them, too,” Overton said. “I think anything we can do to get locals to come downtown and see what’s there, because there’s new stuff constantly.”
Hansen said she wants to offer unique pieces to her shoppers. Her daughter Dylan, who the store is named after, helps out by buying the boutique clothes when they go to Dallas Market Center, a clothing market for store owners. Hansen said she has come across the problem that Waco doesn’t offer as many department stores such as Zara, Urban Outfitters and others that resonate with young adult women.
“We hope to fill that void a little bit as we grow, so that everyone is not having to shop online or go out of town,” Hansen said. “We want to keep the dollars in the local businesses.”
Hansen opened DylanNICOLE in October 2021 and said the biggest advantage in owning her small business was that her retail neighbors are amazing and supportive people. Hansen said she hopes to have an event on Franklin once a month.
“I think that’s why pulling this event together has been so easy, because we really like each other and all want each other to be successful even though we compete for the same dollar. I don’t really think we see it that way,” Hansen said. “We are just trying to make an experience for not only our travelers who come for the Magnolia experience, but also for our local Waco family and our Baylor kids.”