Mac Miller, 2022 Outstanding Student in Entrepreneurship


In order to lead inspirationally, one must serve;
and in order to truly serve, one must love sincerely.

Mac Miller


Success is one of those arbitrary words that can mean so many things but still remain incredibly vague at the same time. Think about it. When one hears someone say I want success, what does that actually look like? Is success tangible or is it more in line with a feeling? For some, success is based on financial gain. For others it’s title or fame. And still others find success with houses and cars. None of these are inherently bad viewpoints by any means. However, recent Baylor graduate Mac Miller views success through yet another lens. To Mac, success is based on a faith-driven foundation to go out into the world and live out a destiny to love God and to love others. 

Mac grew up in a family filled to the brim with entrepreneurial spirit. His mom started one of the first CrossFit gyms in Texas and his dad started a leadership development firm with fellow West Point classmates. Mac was also immersed in the real-world, hands-on work of an entrepreneur by helping his grandpa run a cattle business.

Mac was always encouraged to think outside of the box and to find ways to solve problems. During his senior year of highschool, the U.S. Army awarded Mac with a full-ride tuition scholarship to any U.S. university with an Army ROTC program. Because of its Christian heritage and academic excellence, Baylor was the obvious collegiate choice. Pursuing entrepreneurship just simply made sense, and the Baylor Entrepreneurship Department’s reputation as a leader in its field made the decision that much easier. 

While at Baylor, Mac excelled in the ROTC program, competing with the Ranger Challenge Team. He was also an academic standout as well. So much so that Mac was recognized as the 2022 Outstanding Student in Entrepreneurship. Mac credits the Baylor Entrepreneurship Department for bringing out his competitiveness and curiosity. Mac says, “The faculty and staff in the Entrepreneurship Department work hard to equip and enable students so that business dreams come true.”

Following his May 2022 graduation, Mac was commissioned into the U.S. Army as an active duty Infantry Officer. A couple days following the commissioning, he married Sarah Miller. He then started a new adventure as husband and Army officer at Fort Benning, Georgia. In Georgia, Mac will participate in the Infantry Basic Officer Leader Course, Basic Airborne School and Ranger School. And after that, Mac and Sarah are off to North Carolina where Sarah will attend med school and Mac will serve as an Infantry Officer in the 82nd Airborne Division.

All along the way, Mac is guided by his personal motto, “In order to lead inspirationally, one must serve; and in order to truly serve, one must love sincerely.”

A servant leader, through and through. Looks like Mac is certainly on the road to success. His success.

Sic ‘em, Mac!


For more information on Baylor Entrepreneurship, please visit our website at baylor.edu/business/entrepreneurship/.

Gordon Daugherty, Capital Factory

“Luck happens when preparation meets opportunity.

Gordon Daugherty


It was love at first sight for Gordon Daugherty.  He remembers the day like yesterday. It was 1980, in a small Texas highschool when the first PC computer appeared in his sophomore math class. It was new. It was forward thinking. It was the future. It was Gordon’s future. At that moment, Gordon fell in love with computers. He knew then and there that his career would certainly have something to do with computers, with high-tech. That was crystal clear.

Also clear was the reality that attending a large college was not part of Gordon’s plan. Baylor’s relatively smaller student body, as compared to Texas A&M and the University of Texas, was a plus. And when the Baylor Computer Science Program started gaining national recognition, that all but sealed the deal for this small-town boy with big-time dreams. Gordon would become a Baylor Bear.

While at Baylor, Gordon spent two years interning at an IBM sales office in Waco. That internship led to a post-graduation enterprise sales representative position at the IBM regional sales office in Corpus Christi. After a ten-year career with IBM, Gordon shifted directions with a position at Compaq Computer Corporation’s headquarters in Houston. While Compaq was still a large company, it was considerably smaller than IBM. Gordon relished in his newfound autonomy and increased visibility into varying parts of the company.

Following his time at Compaq, Gordon joined the number two market share leader in the videoconferencing industry. The fast pace and the ability to “move the needle” with this significantly smaller company lit a fire within Gordon. A fire that would continue to draw Gordon to smaller and earlier stage companies. 

In 2009, serial entrepreneur Josh Baer teamed up with a group of fellow entrepreneurs and created a summer bootcamp style startup accelerator in Austin. After three successful runs with the bootcamp, Josh decided to open the first high-tech coworking space in downtown Austin. Gordon joined Josh on this new entrepreneurial vision. 

With a love for tech and a fire for startup entrepreneurship, this was the perfect opportunity for Gordon. Soon the entrepreneurs were delivering on their initial mantra of being the center of gravity for entrepreneurs in Austin. The high-tech and startup scene that was rampant in Austin in 2012 and 2013 played to their advantage as they introduced Capital Factory to the mix.

As Josh and Gordon expanded to Dallas, the mantra shifted to becoming the center of gravity for entrepreneurs in Texas. All the while, they were holding tight to their mission to help founders find talent, investors, customers and advisors. Gordon explains, “Everything we do has the purposeful intent of helping founders start and grow great companies.”

While there is an intentional across-Texas element to the mantra, beyond that there really isn’t even a five-year plan for Capital Factory. And according to Gordon, that has a huge impact in what keeps the company vibrant and special. Capital Factory continues to operate much like a startup, in that there’s always a plan, but there’s also always a go-with-the-flow alternative as new and unexpected opportunities pop up. 

When the world took a sucker punch to the belly with Covid-19, Capital Factory was impacted as every other business. There was an immediate focus on a pivot or transition to online interactions as a replacement to in-person. The emphasis was how to deliver value online for a business model that focuses on in-person interactions and serendipitous collisions in relation to the value proposition. With a little ingenuity and creativity, the team was able to create new and better ways to organize and operate.

Gordon often shares advice and best practices via a blog at ShockwaveInnovations.com. However, when asked to share a nugget of wisdom to aspiring business owners, he stressed the importance of finding the perfect balance of what one is really good at doing and what one really enjoys doing. Gordon is a firm believer that starting a business is a great way to figure out both at the same time. After all, some things you simply cannot learn from a textbook. You have to learn from doing.

And Gordon continues doing. He continues to foster a community where hungry, driven and passionate entrepreneurs learn from each other, celebrate together and even cry on each other’s shoulder. A community where entrepreneurs, mentors, investors and enterprises facilitate serendipity. A community that celebrates the unexpected opportunity with great abandon. As Gordon puts it, “The serendipitous encounter with a mentor, investor or prospective customer at Capital Factory could be the catalyst for extreme luck.” He lives by the well-known mantra, “Luck happens when preparation meets opportunity.”

Unexpected opportunities are always a reason to celebrate! #SicEm


For more information on Baylor Entrepreneurship, please visit our website at baylor.edu/business/entrepreneurship/.

Leigh Anne Green, Green Eye Associates

You should consider it a great honor
to share your God-given talent with the world
.

Leigh Anne Green


What motivates you? You know, that from-the-gut driving force behind all that you do. Personal motivation is different for each person. For some, money and title are a priority. For others, it’s recognition and approval that lead the charge. And others are guided by a fiery passion.

For Baylor grad, Leigh Anne Green, personal motivation comes from scripture. Specifically, Leigh Anne is led by 1 Peter 4:10, “Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.”

Leigh Anne has had a heart for optometry since she was a high school student. She feels that optometry/eyecare is a skill and a talent. She considers it a gift from God and she wants to give back to the best of her abilities.

As a University Scholar at Baylor, her classes focused on science, but she was still able to study English Literature, Religion and Music with her elective options. Each class playing an important role in building Leigh Anne’s overall foundation as a business owner.

A licensed optometrist since 2000, Leigh Anne served as an overseas missionary from 2004-2012. In 2013 she met retiring optometrist, Dr. Spencer Moore. Dr. Moore ultimately sold his practice to Leigh Anne and she was now able to run her own eye care clinic with the personality, service, care and excellence that her beliefs were grounded in. From that moment, Leigh Anne’s dream became a reality with Green Eye Associates.

Green Eye Associates is a comprehensive eye care company that is focused on honesty, excellence and a servant’s-heart spirit. With two optometrists specializing in family eye care, patients from two years old to ninety-nine have their eye care needs taken care of. 

In the very early days as a business owner, Leigh Anne was extremely cautious with her purchases. She was willing to roll up her sleeves and do what needed to be done in order to be budget friendly. She took care of the daily bookkeeping, cleaned, planted flowers, painted walls and even incorporated Wal-Mart and Hobby Lobby decor to create a homey aesthetic for patients. She created an equipment wish list, and each year she was able to add one or two eye exam machines to the office.

And as the business grew, Leigh Anne developed growth goals for the company. One goal was to serve as many patients as possible. She wanted the Waco community to feel welcome in her office space. Eventually moving to a larger location and adding on an additional partner doctor, Green Eye Associates is now able to serve even more of the Waco community.

Leigh Anne’s hard work and tenacity has paid off. The business is thriving with a happy clientele. In addition, Green Eye Associates was recently recognized by the Baylor Impact Awards with the Waco’s Finest Award. This award recognizes local, Waco businesses that exhibit the University’s mission and values. Leigh Anne says, “If your dream is inspired by God, and He has given you the talent to live out your dream, you should consider it a great honor to share your God-given talents with the world.”

A great honor, indeed. #SicEm


For more information on Baylor Entrepreneurship, please visit our website at baylor.edu/business/entrepreneurship/.

Kate Barton, Magnolia

Don’t try to fit into a mold. Your path will likely not be what you expected or planned.

Kate Barton


When life unexpectedly comes full circle, there’s usually a pot-luck of thoughts that can be overwhelming when trying to make sense of it all. But what if the decision was made early on to trust your gut and go with the flow? 

When Kate Barton started her education at Baylor, the end game was to be a marine biologist. Obviously, such an aspiration would require a heavy load of science courses. And anyone who has taken science at Baylor knows that Baylor science classes are no joke. Kate put in the work and made good grades, but she just didn’t have that special passion for the science classes.

Meanwhile, Kate took on a leadership role on the Freshman Class Council and also sought out leadership opportunities within her sorority. She even had a part-time job arranging flowers at a locally-owned flower shop in town. By her junior year, Kate realized that the role of a business leader was a better fit for her rather than that of a marine biologist. She changed her major to business and graduated with a BA from Baylor and ultimately an MBA from Harvard Business School.

Kate has spent her career in marketing and brand management with such notable brands as General Mills, Johnson & Johnson and Estee Lauder. It was during the summer of 2020 when a post on the Harvard alumni Facebook page caught her eye. One of Kate’s Harvard professors posted information about an opportunity with Magnolia. Kate had always had an affinity for the Magnolia brand, but in that moment the long-time admiration for the brand turned into a need to be part of the brand.

The decision to move back to Waco wasn’t one made lightly. Kate’s husband had a thriving career in Minneapolis and moving to Texas was never on the couple’s radar. Not only that, but this was right in the middle of a world-wide pandemic. Such a drastic move would be preposterous, right? The couple devised a pro and con list and a move to Waco just wasn’t in the cards. But the tipping point was a nagging gut feeling. Kate says, “My gut was very clearly telling me that I was meant to be at Magnolia, and I decided to listen to my gut.”

Kate explains that one can make all of the pro and con lists, but sometimes that gut feeling knows best. The couple packed up their three kiddos and made the move to Waco, not once looking back.

At Magnolia, Kate leads the marketing and creative teams. She also works closely with the company’s Discovery partner on the Magnolia Network launch. As a marketer, Kate is very interested in being part of brands and companies that impact culture. And Magnolia is certainly a brand that has had an impact on culture. Kate leads with a philosophy that a leader will set the stage for those around them to be successful. She also believes you have to know your business to grow your business.

Kate explains that it is so important that we not try to fit into a prescribed mold. She says, “Your path will likely not be what you expected or planned, and that can sometimes be the very best thing that can happen to you.”

Oh and what about Kate’s full circle… the flower shop she worked in as a Baylor student is now the Magnolia Silos Bakery. She had no idea that the small, local flower shop location was destined to become part of something greater, something far greater.

Kate is certainly breaking molds on her wild adventure in Waco, Texas. #SicEm


For more information on Baylor Entrepreneurship, please visit our website at baylor.edu/business/entrepreneurship/.

Madeline Yancey, 2021 Outstanding Student in Entrepreneurship

“Entrepreneurship is the perfect blend of
flexibility, autonomy and excitement.

Madeline Yancey


Let’s just say you grew up in a home with a great color divide. Mom supports the green and gold and dad supports burnt orange. What could possibly sway you one way or the other? For the 2021 Baylor Entrepreneurship Outstanding Student, Madeline Yancey, it was Baylor’s focus on God, the beautiful campus and the option to major in entrepreneurship that had her flinging green and gold.

Homeschooled just outside of the Dallas metroplex, Madeline grew up surrounded by an entrepreneurial spirit and she was encouraged to find ways to incorporate her creativity into business. Ultimately, she chose to major in Entrepreneurship at Baylor because she felt entrepreneurship gave her the flexibility to be both analytical and creative. 

Initially she was a little apprehensive jumping into entrepreneurship, after all no one wants to start a business and have it fail. But Madeline credits her Baylor Entrepreneurship professors with providing her with an edge that she feels will increase her chances of success. She says, “Even though there’s always the chance that a business idea won’t succeed, there are so many resources that can positively impact the potential for success and actually limit the damage if the idea isn’t successful.”

Madeline isn’t sure of the exact path she will take after Baylor. She hopes to work a while to gain business experience, while leaving the door wide open for starting her own business. She shared that while she does have a few business ideas percolating, she’s keeping those top secret for the time being.  Rest assured, any new business will absolutely have a creative flare.

As Madeline puts it, “Entrepreneurship offers flexibility, autonomy and excitement.”


For more information on Baylor Entrepreneurship, please visit our website at baylor.edu/business/entrepreneurship/.

Denitia Blount, Oh My Juice



You have to always try to find ways to set yourself apart.

-Denitia Blount


Your mission, should you decide to accept it, is to go green. Rip the proverbial bandaid off and commit to have Green Mornings. You may be asking yourself how one can achieve Green Mornings. It’s rather simple actually. You stop by Oh My Juice (OMJ) and order the most deliciously beautiful Green Mornings smoothie. And, yes it really is that green.

If you haven’t heard of OMJ, it’s a fabulous juice bar nestled within the bustling River Square Center in the heart of downtown Waco. Truth be told, it’s Waco’s first juice bar. The Baugh Center blog originally talked with Denitia Blount of OMJ back in 2016. Long story short, OMJ started out at the Waco Farmers Market and quickly became a market favorite. Locals just couldn’t get enough of the fresh-made juices, but there was a problem. Locals also wanted juice every day. So much so, OMJ moved into the River Square Center with a brick and mortar location. 

During the first couple of years OMJ grew quickly, almost uncontrollably quickly. Denitia explains that at times it felt like they were simply holding on by their fingernails. After the initial rush, growth became more manageable. Denitia confessed in a recent Confessions of an Entrepreneur talk, “For every one thing I’ve done right, I’ve made a thousand mistakes.”

There have definitely been growing pains. Business continued to grow, but the OMJ space did not. Learning to make a consistently good product quicker and in larger quantities became a priority. Actually, it became a necessity. When other competing businesses popped up downtown, Denitia looked at it as an opportunity for OMJ to step up its game. Denitia has always had confidence in the OMJ products, but she also tries to combine that with a great customer experience. She stresses, “You have to always try to find ways to set yourself apart.”

With an exceptional product line and a cool customer vibe, OMJ adjusted to growth and the growing pains actually subsided a bit. Locals became regulars. OMJ may not be the place where everyone knows your name, but the staff certainly knows if a regular wants to cut the bananas or add extra blueberries.

Business was growing and progressing relatively smoothly, but early on in 2020 talk of Covid-19 became more widespread. Needless to say, March 2020 was a game changer for a lot of folks. OMJ was no different. Denitia chose to take those sour lemons and make lemonade, or shall we say juice. OMJ had already been looking for a way to provide curbside service for customers. The mandated lockdown moved that to the top of the to-do list. OMJ even took the leap into the world of delivery service. Curbside worked out smashingly. Delivery, however, had a few hiccups. It took a few fails to get into a good delivery rhythm. 

As OMJ got into a groove with the new socially-distanced business standards, 2021 came in with the promise of a new tomorrow, a fresh start. Waco even had enough snow in early January to build a respectable snowman or two. It was a new beginning. In early February there was the potential for even more snow. Excitement for a possible snow day was quickly squashed with what has been termed as Snowmageddon. Waco was literally frozen for five days. Roads were impassable. Businesses were closed. Classes were cancelled. Electricity blackouts became the norm. And then frozen plumbing pipes started bursting around town.

When Denitia received the call that the OMJ alarm system was going off, her initial thought was that someone had snuck into the shop trying to find a place to stay warm. Not in her wildest imagination did Denitia expect to drive up to OMJ and see water pouring out of the shop windows and doors. Broken pipes. OMJ was completely destroyed. The walls and ceiling had 99% water saturation. Water seeped into the top sliding freezers, ruining all of the frozen food. The electronics and fresh produce all had to be replaced. OMJ was forced to close its doors.

While the repair and remodel work is expected to be complete before summer, Denitia is not one to just sit around. After all, the people of Waco still need OMJ goodies! OMJ went back to its roots by selling juices at the Waco Farmers Market. And for the month of April, OMJ will have a spot inside of the Baylor SUB serving up fan-favorite smoothies, acai bowls and juices. 

Summer 2021 looks to be a busy one for Denitia and the OMJ staff. Not only is the original River Square Center location expected to open back up, but a second permanent location is also expected to open as well. The second OMJ will be located in the shopping center at the corner of Highway 6 and Highway 84.

If anyone has mastered the art of turning lemons into…juice, it’s Denitia and OMJ.

Just in case you need even more convincing to make your mornings Green Mornings, here are the top-three reasons: 1) #ShopLocal, OMJ is a locally-owned business, 2) Denitia Blount is a Baylor grad and 3) Green Mornings is so stinkin’ good! Oh and just for kicks a fourth reason is you will be able to show your BU spirit by walking around campus with a super-cool Green Mornings smoothie — that is until you drink it all.

Indeed, OMJ certainly found a way to set itself apart. #SicEm


To watch Denitia’s Confessions of an Entrepreneur talk, please visit http://bit.ly/COE_OMJ.

To read the 2016 Baugh Center Blog on Oh My Juice, please visit http://bit.ly/2dKOIx4.

For more information about the John F. Baugh Center for Entrepreneurship & Free Enterprise, please visit our website at baylor.edu/business/entrepreneur/.

 

Jackson Wren, Nightlight Donuts


Adventure with Purpose

-Jackson Wren


So what’s perfect for a Tuesday afternoon study snack, a Friday night movie nosh and a Saturday morning breakfast? Donuts, of course! And what’s better than a plain ol’ donut? A donut made with crescent dough! And where can you find such a mouth-watering, eat until you’ve popped a pant button delicacy? Nightlight Donuts in Waco, Texas.

You would think that in order to create such a unique and one-of-a kind morsel of delight that one would most certainly be a sort of donut or pastry aficionado. You would think. When Jackson Wren came up with the idea of Nightlight Donuts, his experience with donuts was… eating them. Eating a lot of them actually.

Not that starting a business was a new idea for Jackson. He’s a natural-born entrepreneur. Jackson and his twin brother founded Dapper Bear while still students at Baylor, and Dapper Bear just happens to be the home of the official Baylor plaid. But how does one journey from plaid to donuts?

Jackson shares all the details of his Nightlight Donuts adventure in an Ask the Entrepreneur interview.

Q&A

Tell us a little bit about your background and how one journeys from plaid to donuts.

I started my first business when I was thirteen because I wanted to buy a car one day. My brother and I started a car detailing service. That was my first taste of entrepreneurship. From that point on I loved it. 

I started Dapper Bear (Baylor’s official plaid) as a student at Baylor. To me, the switch from plaid to donuts is not so much about the industry but it’s more about making someone’s day better. I saw a way to do that with both the plaid and donuts.

 

Why did you decide to open a donut shop in Waco, Texas?

About four years ago I was driving to Austin and was stuck in horrible traffic. Cars were at a stand-still. I saw a donut shop nearby. If you’re like me when you see a donut shop, you immediately want a donut. But it was 6:00 pm and the donut shop was closed. Why are donut shops always closed at night? 

My brother and I moved to New York City and lived there for about a year. We just so happened to get an apartment that was above a donut shop that sold cronuts. I was immediately obsessed. I ate a cronut every day we lived there. When we moved back to Waco we had an idea… maybe we should bring a crescent donut to Waco.

 

What was your thought process in deciding to start a business in such a competitive industry?

I gave that a lot of thought. I put a lot of planning and research into it. Being such a competitive industry is intimidating, but helps you maintain focus.

 

What do you do to make sure that Nightlight Donuts is different from any other donut shop in Waco?

Our product and our people make us different. Product, all of our dough is crescent dough. People, we have four values for our business: 1) be kind 2) be individual 3) be exceptional 4) own it. Everything we do goes back to those values. We hit the jackpot with our staff!

 

Is there anything you would have done differently?

Yes. I completely over estimated the time I had available for starting the business.

 

What was it like starting a new business in the middle of a pandemic?

The week we broke ground on Nightlight Donuts was the same week everything started to shut down. It was an incredible amount of stress. We really didn’t know what to do. We kept going because I believed in our product and I believed in the Waco community.

 

Did being a student entrepreneur help prepare you for this venture?

There are so many things we did with Dapper Bear that we did differently with Nightlight Donuts.

 

How did studying entrepreneurship at Baylor prepare you to start your own business?

The real world experience that the Baylor entrepreneurship department provides is what prepared me the most.

 

What is the most important thing you’ve learned during this entrepreneurial journey?

You should resolve to not waste life.

 

What advice would you give to a Baylor student wanting to start a business while still in school?

Research like you’ve never researched before. If you feel like it can still work, then go do it.

 

Finish this sentence – entrepreneurship means to me…

Entrepreneurship means to me… adventure with purpose.


For the complete interview, please visit the Baylor Baugh Center YouTube page at https://bit.ly/3qIwboZ.

For more information about the John F. Baugh Center for Entrepreneurship & Free Enterprise, please visit our website at baylor.edu/business/entrepreneur/.

 

Danielle Young, Revival Eastside Eatery


Work hard and be nice.

-Danielle Young


What would you like for lunch? If you’re feeling a sandwich, maybe the Weight of Glory or the Technicolor Dreamcoat. Or maybe the Golden Calf burger, but then there’s the Eve salad…

Those who have been to Revival Eastside Eatery on Elm Avenue in Waco are familiar with this unique menu. Revival Eastside Eatery has been around for about sixteen months and has made a big splash with it’s not-so-typical menu names and delicious food.

One would think that successfully opening a restaurant with an outside-the-box menu in an up-and-coming neighborhood the owner would have to be born and bred an entrepreneur. One would sorely be mistaken.

Danielle Young opened Revival Eastside Eatery with her husband, Travis, in the summer of 2019. Originally from North Carolina, Danielle and Travis moved to Waco in 2011 so she could attend Baylor. She received both her master and doctoral degrees in clinical psychology from Baylor. After falling in love with the city, the two decided to make Waco their home. Danielle soon took a role as Clinical Research Coordinator at Baylor while also seeing patients as a clinical psychologist serving children. Opening a restaurant wasn’t even a blip on their radar. 

Well, it wasn’t until it was.

This self described risk averse, research loving psychologist was simply enjoying life in Waco. She likes to say that Waco just kind of sucks people in after a while.

On one fateful night in 2017 Danielle and Travis were driving around Waco trying to find a place to eat dinner. They wanted to support a local business, but they also wanted something a little on the healthier side. One thing led to another and someone actually uttered the famous last words . . .  How hard could it be to open a restaurant?

The consensus between the two was instead of complaining about the lack of restaurant variety, they instead should do something about it. Afterall, how hard could it be? Danielle and Travis spent the next eighteen months working on a business plan for a restaurant. They evaluated if it was feasible, the kind of costs involved, what the competition would look like and who the customers would be. How hard could it be? Very hard. But the two soon started to dream of what could be.

The dream… a restaurant with unique food that’s fresh, tasty and is Texas-sourced; a place that’s not too fancy and kind of casual; somewhere with exceptional service and reasonably priced menu items. The dream wasn’t novel by any means, but Danielle and Travis felt it was novel for Waco.

The next big, big thing for Danielle and Travis to consider was location. Where would be the best place for their novel-to-Waco eatery? Danielle looked at the development of downtown Waco and felt that it made sense to expand beyond downtown. Elm Avenue was the perfect spot. Lula Jane’s was already an established neighborhood favorite, but there was nothing on Elm like the dream. Elm was deep in history and rich in culture. To Danielle and Travis, Elm was perfect.

They soon agreed that 704 Elm Avenue would be home to the dream. This particular property had been vacant for about ten years. It was previously the Waco Community Baptist Church. As the demo work on the building began, locals immediately flocked to the property to share stories and memories of attending the old church. It became clear that this dream-inspired eatery would also be steeped in that deep Elm history and culture. And what better way to pay tribute than to call the restaurant Revival! More specifically, Revival Eastside Eatery to also acknowledge the up-and-coming East Waco neighborhood. 

Since the building was an old church, the two decided to completely lean into it with the menu. And this is where the Weight of Glory and Technicolor Dreamcoat sandwiches come into play. Other notable mentions are the Golden Calf burger and the Eve and Garden of Eating salads.

This novel-to-Waco eatery became a hit. Word spread and Revival soon became a hot spot for locals and out-of-town folks alike. The eatery even received a nod from Magnolia.

Remember that question… how hard can it be? In less than a year of opening the unthinkable happened. In March 2020, restaurants were in a mandatory shutdown due to Covid-19. From the onset, Danielle and Travis were committed to do what was necessary to keep all of their staff. To say there was an immediate pivot in day-to-day operations is the understatement of a lifetime. At the time of the shutdown, the eatery didn’t even have online ordering. Literally overnight, an online ordering system was developed and “curbside pickup” became the new norm.

With the mindset we’re all in this together, the next task at hand became how to help the community. Families were now at home together. Parents were both working at home as well as teaching their children at home. With that in mind, the idea of Family Meals came into play. Keeping it as easy as possible with an “order today and pick up tomorrow” concept. The benefits of Family Meals were two-fold, not only did this give families room to plan ahead but it also allowed for the eatery to prepare without a significant amount of food waste. The Family Meals soon became a huge hit and ultimately helped carry the restaurant when the dining room was closed.

After the eatery was able to open up the dining room again, Revival continued with Family Meals. While not near as many orders are placed, it’s still a popular menu item.

In effort to be socially conscientious, Revival also made some front-of-the-house adjustments. Instead of counter-service ordering, customers are now seated and ordering is done table side. QR codes are affixed to the tables so customers can view a touchless menu via scan. While the initial implementation of the table-side ordering with QR codes was for social distancing purposes, Danielle likes the process and actually looks for it to continue.

Throughout all of the unexpected ups and downs the past eight months have thrown at Danielle, she continues the day-to-day mindset of work hard and be nice. A mindset that definitely helped make a dream come true.

Q&A

Question submitted by Dr. Boris Nikolaev, Entrepreneurship Professor
The restaurant business is very competitive. Were you aware of the risks when you decided to open a business?

Yes, and people thought we were insane for opening a restaurant. We were aware of the failure rates and did our own research. We learned a few things along the way. We learned some of the common causes for failure are:

  1. Renting and not owning your own space — rent can go up and you have no control
  2. Location. Location. Location.
  3. Underestimating costs

Question submitted by Dr.Peter Klein, Entrepreneurship Department Chair
How have the city’s specific development efforts on Elm Avenue either helped or harmed your business?

With TIF (tax increment financing) the mindset is there are small grants that can help renovate buildings. We were able to get a little bit of money to help redo the facade work. The city took care of new sidewalks. Elm Avenue will be under construction for the next 18 months, so it will be good and bad. Great improvements, but folks will have a hard time getting to the restaurant.

Question submitted by Bradley Settles, student
How do you feel about the current direction of the East Waco development?

We’ve been in business for 16 months. The city is very mindful about development on Elm Avenue. City Center Waco also works with the community, being intentional about development and striving to put the community needs above businesses. 

Question submitted by Dr. Boris Nikolaev, Entrepreneurship Professor
What do you do that sets your business apart from other similar businesses?

We do a really good job of being hospitable and welcoming. We work hard to train our staff. Our customer service is great! We also don’t take ourselves too seriously. We have the mindset of whatever the customer wants, we will make it — a picky eater’s delight!

Question submitted by Gib Reynolds, Director 1845 Incubator
With turnover being so high in this industry, what do you do to take care of your staff?

We started July 2019 and still have four of an original staff of nine. We practice shared tips. With shared tips, our staff takes home somewhere between $16-$18 an hour depending on the day.

Our philosophy is everyone is working hard whether or not the customer sees it. We want to make sure our people are taken care of. The cool thing about being an owner and working on site you get to regularly see your staff and their needs. Loving employees well is something we do differently.

Question submitted by Dr. Boris Nikolaev, Entrepreneurship Professor
If you could do something different on your entrepreneurial journey what would it be?

When we first started we were looking at chefs and actually paid someone to create the  menu and recipe development. We very soon realized that we were investing a lot of money. Two weeks before the Revival grand opening we let the chef go because we didn’t have anything tangible. In the two weeks before opening I redesigned the entire menu. I reworked food costs and sought out Texas-sourced vendors. In hindsight, I would have believed more in myself from the get-go.

Even though Revival isn’t exactly what we thought it would be, we feel it’s even better now. It’s fun to watch what happens when you trust the process and absolutely trust yourself.


For additional outtakes from the interview with Danielle, please visit the Baylor Baugh Center YouTube page.

Outtake 1: https://bit.ly/3o7sGaI
Outtake 2: https://bit.ly/35cA6AD

For more information about the John F. Baugh Center for Entrepreneurship & Free Enterprise, please visit our website at baylor.edu/business/entrepreneur/.

 

ENT Buzz | Gib Reynolds


Gib Reynolds, Director 1846 Incubator Entrepreneurship and Corporate Innovation

 

WHO IS GIB REYNOLDS?

Is it possible to bleed green and gold? As an undergrad I studied Entrepreneurship at Baylor and then received an MBA in Entrepreneurship from the Acton School of Business. I married a fellow Baylor grad this past December and we just bought our first home in Waco. I’ve worn a lot of hats in my career, from lettuce farmer to crepe food truck owner. Currently, I’m in the high-end collegiate apparel business. In my free time, I enjoy doing anything active with the potential for unintentional broken bones or bruises –  Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, cycling, hiking…


WHAT DO YOU DO AT BAYLOR?

I’ve worked for Baylor in a variety of roles for more than seven years, from an Adjunct and teaching the Accelerated Ventures program to serving as the Director of the New Venture Competition. I am currently the Director of the 1846 Student Incubator. In this role, I coach students of all majors who want to launch their own businesses. Deep down, I’m both an entrepreneur and an educator who is passionate about empowering students to start their own companies.


WHAT’S SOMETHING INTERESTING ABOUT WORKING IN THE ENT DEPARTMENT?

I’ve had a really unique experience here at Baylor. I’ve transitioned from student to co-worker with some of my favorite professors. I appreciate how approachable our faculty were when I was a student, but to be able to form personal and mentoring relationships as co-workers has been incredibly rewarding. 


WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE BAYLOR TRADITION?

How can you not love the University-wide Thanksgiving Dinner on Fountain Mall? It’s awesome to see students, staff and faculty come together and celebrate the season and to reflect on how blessed we all are. It’s the perfect way to kick off the Thanksgiving holiday.


WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO A NEW ENT MAJOR?

Just do something. Start and then learn by doing. You will learn so much more by taking a risk and testing yourself. Entrepreneurship is not an easy calling, so start early and take advantage of the resources around you while you’re on campus.


For more information on Baylor Entrepreneurship, please visit our website at baylor.edu/business/entrepreneurship/.

 

ENT Buzz | Marlene Reed


Marlene Reed, Senior Lecturer, Entrepreneurship and Corporate Innovation

 

WHO IS MARLENE REED?

I am a proud Baylor graduate. Never in a million years did I ever imagine that I would end up getting my PhD and teaching at my alma mater. I’ve had the privilege of teaching students and faculty in England, Scotland, France, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Czech Republic, Ukraine, Armenia, Russia, China, Australia, New Zealand, Zambia and Rwanda. God has blessed me richly!


WHAT DO YOU DO AT BAYLOR?

At Baylor I’ve taught the Business Excellence Scholarship Team (BEST) and Strategic Management and Entrepreneurship. I love teaching these courses. I previously owned a Christian book store and I feel my first-hand experience as a business owner helps me understand problems that managers may run into while operating a business.


WHAT’S SOMETHING INTERESTING ABOUT WORKING IN THE ENT DEPARTMENT?

A funny and kind of weird thing that happened while working in the Entrepreneurship department is the time Mary Abrahams (former Associate Director of the Baugh Center) and I went to Europe to plan the first Entrepreneurship European Experience. Late one night while in Milan, we couldn’t find our way back to our hotel. To make things worse, a drunk young man kept following us telling us he would help us find our way. We finally lost him and wandered around for an hour until we found our hotel.


WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE BAYLOR TRADITION?

I can’t pick just one favorite. I have two — Homecoming and Sing. I think I love Homecoming so much because I get to reconnect with friends from the past. Something that a lot of folks don’t know is I was actually a Baylor Homecoming Queen nominee. Unfortunately, the Asian flu was going around that year, and I got it. After appearing on the football field at halftime, my parents whisked me away to Houston because we had all been asked to leave school if we could. I also love Sing, and I just happen to be on the Sing Faculty Committee.


WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO A NEW ENT MAJOR?

My advice to a new Entrepreneurship major is to enjoy every minute of your time at Baylor and get involved in everything that appeals to you. The time spent at Baylor is so short, and students need to get the very most out of. I certainly did.


For more information on Baylor Entrepreneurship, please visit our website at baylor.edu/business/entrepreneurship/.