Splendid Oaks Chocolates, located at 11th Street and Franklin Street in downtown, makes chocolate candy the old-fashioned way: by hand. Some would describe owner Kevin DeVries’ creations as a delicious work of art. The Baylor graduate saw the arrival of Splendid Oaks, and it has been thriving since launching in 2018 and opening its downtown store in 2020. He will now open a second ice cream parlor.

The store sold Graeter’s ice cream, an Ohio brand, as a cool alternative to handmade chocolate. But now a store located at 135 Estates Drive in Woodway will take over. DeVries said it opens this week.

“The opportunity arose and it was too good a place to pass up,” DeVries said via email. “It also provided the opportunity to start making our own ice cream. … Instead of using a neutral base to make all of our flavors, we develop each recipe from scratch. There aren’t a lot of places in the industry that do that because it’s a lot of work.” And you can’t achieve the same efficiency in production this way.

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“But I think it will help us get a premium product and give us more flexibility in the kinds of flavors we want to do.”

He said the chocolate at Splendid Oaks was a success “because we use the absolute best ingredients, pay great attention to detail, and strive for excellence in every step of the process with absolutely no shortcuts. We take this approach in developing our ice cream.” And so far the results are delicious.”

He said he encountered a learning curve by applying his knowledge of chocolate to developing ice cream, but was surprised by how well his chocolate expertise translated. He said the assortment of flavors will constantly change as the public warms to his ice cream.

No doubt logistical challenges loom as DeVries delivers chocolate treats to his Estates Drive location and ice cream to downtown Waco.

But he was confident that a beautiful solution would be found.

Building permit tour

A slew of interesting building permits have been issued over the past two weeks, including a $350,000 permit to redesign the former Whataburger A-frame building at 3401 Franklin Ave. Recently, he was working as a used car dealership. Blake Batson told the Tribune Herald that he will open another coffee shop at the Common Grounds there sometime this fall.

Blake Batson talks about Common Grounds, the popular South Eighth Street café that practically houses the Baylor campus, as he and his wife Kimberly prepare to open their fifth location at 3401 Franklin Ave., in the former Whataburger Street turned-used-car dealership.

Meanwhile, a modest $50,000 permit will allow for final works at 8100 Woodway Drive, where Todd Behringer plans a Union Grove food hall to complement Union Hall at Eighth Street and Franklin Avenue in downtown.

Club Car Wash has been awarded a $50,000 permit to make modifications to the Genie Car Wash location at 916 N. Valley Mills Drive.

The $500,000 permit will cover modifications to two spaces in the Central Texas Marketplace, which accommodates Buckle, a clothing retailer relocating from Richland Mall.

Graphic Packaging International, a Georgia-based company that built a $1 billion paper recycling plant in Waco, has been awarded a $20 million permit for a “paper machinery building” at 2601 Gateway Blvd.

Meanwhile, Holt Cat continues to build on the 2000 Texas Central Parkway, where it operates a repair and maintenance facility for Caterpillar heavy equipment. It will now spend $850,000 on the storage unit.

Marina in the market

Last week, we reported that The Cove, a 55-acre marina on Lake Waco, had hit the market for $2.5 million. “It’s one of the largest and deepest rapids on Lake Waco,” marketing materials say, and at one point it featured over 100 slips, a restaurant, a gas station, and a 15-slip RV park. Now she only serves as a dock with 34 wet slips.

Well, real estate agent David du Menil of the Intrepid Group emailed to say that they not only list The Cove, but also Lake Waco Marina and RV Park. It is priced at $8.25 million and offers 201 of the 457 outstanding wet coupons, 86 RV spaces, and a floating restaurant undergoing renovation.

Internet option in gatesville

Gatesville gets the Nextlink treatment, according to a press release. The Texas-based company said it has completed the first phase of citywide fiber construction, which means fiber internet is now live and available on the city’s east side for nearly 100 homes south of Interstate 84 and east of Interstate 36.

“Soon, about 200 homes north of US 84 and west of Interstate 36 will also be in operation,” the press release reads. “The entire construction process will expand to more than 2,600 homes and businesses over the coming weeks.”

Founded in 2012 in Hudson Oaks, near Weatherford, the company calls itself a rural-focused provider of high-speed Internet and phone services, with plans to invest more than $1 billion in underprivileged and disadvantaged communities. The press release says the company has nearly 100,000 subscribers in seven states.

Buckle move

Richland Mall is losing a clip to the Central Texas market, but mall spokesman Brad King said progress is being made on alternatives.

He said JD Sports will occupy 5,227 square feet of space in the mall’s central plaza. The British company is a retailer of sports shoes and sportswear.

“I can’t reveal the other store yet,” King said via email.

New Chase Branch

Chase is opening his third bank branch in the greater Waco area, at 720 S. Fifth Avenue, near Interstate 35, and will host a party there at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday, according to a press release.

“Our city is thriving, and we’re excited to open this new location to serve the campus community, as well as Waco’s south and east neighborhoods,” John Bauer, branch manager, said in the press release, referring to the branch’s proximity to Baylor University. Just across the highway.

According to the press release, Chase is the largest bank in Texas, with 495 branches, 30,000 employees, and an 18% market share statewide.

    (Signs for translation) Trade 

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