Waco is my happy place!! There are so many reasons I have to share. This is only part ONE. From the moment I arrived more than ten years ago, I knew this was going to be home. Let me break down a few of the many reasons I adore this city, and hopefully you will comment with a few of your own!
Hospitality makes me happy.
I walk into my favorite coffee shop & bakery just a few moments after they open. It’s locally owned, female-owned business in downtown Waco. Before I even put my bag down at my usual table, they have already heated a coffee mug for me and placed it at the counter. As I pick up my mug (for the limitless coffee), they greet me. “Good Morning Millie! Have you had a good morning so far?” They genuinely want to know. They treat everyone who walks in the door like they’re a neighbor or friend. It’s refreshing. This is commonplace all over town. We may have our fair share of “big box” stores, but this community is thriving in the area of locally owned businesses. Waco Restaurant Week, this super cool event highlighting local restaurants, is just one example of how we are thriving.
Business development makes me happy.
Waco is considered among the top tourist cities in the country, much thanks to Magnolia! This Magnolia effect has been incredible for the community in so many ways. Like everything, there are some who aren’t fans, but I am not one of those. I can see how having tourists come to visit this city and having more folks move to Waco as a blessing. I also appreciate how Magnolia loves on the locals! So many small business owners get to see their dreams come to fruition in a city where only a few years ago this would not have been as possible. The uptown and downtown areas of Waco are being developed and improved at an unprecedented pace. Entire organizations have been created to oversee and chime-in on this development. This is huge for all the dreamers in Waco who want to have food trucks, restaurants, boutiques and niche shops.
Showing up for one another makes me happy.
Wacoans show up for each other in a big way. We support business launches, highlight the successes of the kids in our town, grieve together when there is a loss, fight injustice together, promote each other, encourage each other, and seek the welfare of the people in this city. I have never experienced another city so engaged with the work of the city like Waco.
Social justice makes me happy.
Waco is a social justice city, and that also makes me happy. If there is a need, a cause, or a concern, Wacoans show up. Here’s just a few:
- We, as a city, have decided that ours will be a city where human trafficking will be stopped. “Not in my city” is sponsored by Unbound, an organization created in Waco to provide the resources and education to end human trafficking across the city, state, and country.
- Jesus Said Love, another organization in town was created to engage with women seeking to leave the commercial sex industry and meet the needs of those who are in the industry. Lovely Enterprises, the social enterprise of Jesus Said Love works to empower women who have come out of the commercial sex industry through their Access program, providing microloans for starting small businesses (like Waffle Chic) and through their store (online and in-person).
- Sunshine Recovery House is supporting the work of the recovery community by housing women who are in the recovery process and need a safe place to live. They support the women living in the house through their social entreprise, Unshakeable milkshakes,(run by current and former residents), and help women at Sunshine start their own businesses. It is fantastic.
Waco it just right.
Those are a few of the things that make living in this city so phenomenal and make Waco my happy place, so go check out Union Hall, shop in uptown, make your way out to the boutiques in surrounding cities, and drink coffee at our local coffee shops. These places may be for the locals all the time, but we really welcome everyone who visits this city to support all the things that make Waco just right!