HGTV stars explain how an abandoned cotton mill in their Texas hometown became the smartest investment they ever made

Fixer Upper Magnolia MarketJoanna Gaines/FacebookSilos Baking Co.

This month, Chip and Joanna Gaines, the stars of HGTV’s hit home-renovation show “Fixer Upper,” celebrated the first anniversary of the opening of Magnolia Market at the Silos, the Waco, Texas, headquarters for their growing retail brand.

The 2.5-acre space built around a pair of rusted cotton-oil mill silos is a large-scale model of what the Gaines — as renovators, business owners, and community advocates — are capable of. They’re masters at transforming dilapidated properties while preserving history and character. They told Business Insider in a recent interview that this project, in particular, is their smartest investment they have made.

“At first when we looked at [the silos], it had been abandoned for years,” Joanna said. “When we first drove up, we saw the land and there wasn’t a lot of life to it, but just imagining what it could be …”

Prompted by the reopening of Joanna’s quaint retail shop in 2015 — which was drawing about 1,000 customers daily, in part due to the popularity of “Fixer Upper” — the Gaines decided to re-establish their growing business at the silos, they explain in their new book “The Magnolia Story.” Joanna often admired the silos in downtown Waco and¬†dreamt of reviving the property as a center for their community.

Fixer Upper Magnolia MarketJoanna Gaines/FacebookMagnolia Market at the Silos doubles as an open community space and the headquarters for the Gaines’ growing retail brand.

But the road to renovation wasn’t easy. Joanna shares in their book that Chip had to negotiate with the property’s owners, who were tied to the history of the silos and hesitant to sell.

“I think a lot of people liked seeing them [downtown], whether they thought about it consciously or not,” Joanna wrote. “So when we came along and said we wanted to preserve the silos as the landmark they are and to turn this property into something that could serve as a vibrant centrepiece for the whole community, he was interested.”

The property at the silos now covers 16,000 square-feet of floor space housing the Magnolia retail shop and Silos Baking Co., a garden designed by Joanna, a large outdoor space for concerts and gatherings, and a collection of local food trucks. About 15,000 people visit the location weekly, according to HGTV, and Joanna writes that “it’s also providing jobs to dozens upon dozens of new and long-time Magnolia employees.”

“Now when we look at it, it’s like, we’re investing in our town, we’re investing in downtown Waco, and I think that’s definitely one of my favourite investments, by far,” Joanna told Business Insider.

Watch more from the Gaines’¬†interview with Business Insider below:

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