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Baylor's graduation and Mother's Day brings big business to Waco

Posted at 9:03 AM, May 10, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-10 10:03:04-04

WACO, TEXAS — This time last year, many restaurants were empty and much of Waco looked like a ghost town due to COVID-19.

“That was one of the scary parts of going through COVID,” Corey McEntyre the owner and head chef at Milo All Day in Waco said.”Is there going to be a football season? Are we going to have people coming in from out of town? Because inherently that’s part of our business in Waco now these days.”

This year though, was a complete 180, as more folks get vaccinated and restrictions are less stressed.

Now, Waco businesses welcomed big crowds that were in town for Baylor’s first in-person graduation since 2019 and Mother’s Day.

“We got parties in our private dining room, we've got a full restaurant,” McEntyre said. “We've got more reservations than we've ever had, we're gonna do maybe one of our biggest weekend's we've done in three years.”

It’s no secret having a university the size of Baylor in your town adds to the local economy.

“All [events] bring people traveling into the community and, and it's all the retail business benefit from this,” Marty Hanby, a finance professor at Texas A&M Central Texas said.

It’s a trickle down effect, too. Once the university is shut down, professors and students don’t spend as much time in the community, supporting local businesses, who then can’t support themselves much less others.

“We're already purchasing from local businesses, and then we're able to sell it back to local people,” McEntyre explained. “The local economy here is amazing.”

After a year we’ve all had, celebrations are in order.

“Tonight, after we get done, I'm gonna open a bottle of champagne for everybody and just like a little celebratory toast,” McEntyre said, smiling.

McEntyre actually opened three years ago on mother’s day weekend paired with Baylor’s graduation and feels this was the perfect way to celebrate a three year anniversary.