First business in ultramodern local development opens amid pandemic

Published: Oct. 22, 2020 at 11:37 PM CDT
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WACO, Texas (KWTX) - Opening anything during a pandemic is tough, but opening something unusual and unprecedented is even tougher, however, the realtor for The Containery in Waco says COVID-19 may have been a blessing in disguise.

“Had we had been open and had to fight through the whole COVID retail’s been a blessing in disguise that it has been delayed a little bit," said commercial real estate agent Gregg Glime.

On Tuesday, the first business opened at The Containery: Design House, a custom jewelry business also offering a variety of specialty gifts and goods from cactus crystals to gem-shaped cookies, even a photo mural for tourists.

“We didn’t know if we were brave or crazy (to open during the pandemic), there’s been good and bad because it’s given us time to really curate what’s in here," said Linda McEathron, owner and artist at Design House. “Its been amazing, we’ve been so blessed already, old customers coming in and new customers coming by and wanting to take a peek.”

McEathron started working as a part-time jeweler to pay for college, then 15 years ago she decided to open up her own jewelry business in Waco.

“I started with a bench and one cabinet, and it’s grown ever since,” said McEathron.

She left her space on Austin Avenue for The Containery.

“It’s amazing to be a part of something," said McEathron. “I’m so excited that we’re one of the first retail to open in the building.”

“It’s just going to blossom from here,” she said.

Part of the reason she loves The Containery is because it ‘contains’ a history she connects to.

“The building is over 100 years old; one of the original businesses was an auto mechanic garage, and that’s what my father did," she said. "When we started construction it was a dirt floor, and so every single wall and color and choice in here is our own.”

The color on the outside of the development, however, is a different story.

“There’s kind of mixed opinions, it’s very artsy, it’s not the typical ‘Waco brick’ that we’re used to seeing," said Glime.

Still partly under construction, the development is comprised of 37 bright, multi-colored shipping containers stacked on top of one another and renovated for businesses to move into.

“It’s a real unique type of construction that architects and engineers and the city and the developer had to work through, so there’s a lot of moving pieces--literally," said Glime.

With construction and COVID-19 delays, so far six-to-ten of the available spaces are committed, Glime says, and include other artisans, a winery and a candy shop.

“I think as we get closer to finishing this up everybody will be committed, we’ll be hopefully through COVID at that point, and it will begin to get downtown rockin' and rollin' again," said Glime. “Everybody’s anticipating all this getting behind us and excited for it to open back up and Magnolia getting done, and so I expect in the next couple months there’s going to be people roaming the streets again pretty heavily."

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