Chip Gaines 'can't believe' he and Joanna made Waco a hot spot. Some locals aren't sure where they fit into it.

  • Jenna Bush Hager and Barbara Pierce Bush interviewed Chip and Joanna Gaines for the "Today" show.

  • During the interview, Chip said he "can't believe" they made Waco a tourist destination.

  • Chip and Joanna recently expanded their Magnolia empire with a new hotel.

As part of a road-trip series they're filming for the "Today" show, Jenna Bush Hager and Barbara Pierce Bush stopped in Waco, Texas, to see home-renovation power duo Chip and Joanna Gaines.

The Magnolia Network creators sat for an interview with the sisters, reflecting on the ways their work has changed the city of Waco.

"Can you believe you turned Waco, Texas, into a tourist destination?" Hager asked Chip.

"I can't believe it," he replied. "No, even when you say that out loud, it still feels like we want to hide in the corner. Like, that can't be true."

In the interview, the Gaineses went on to say their initial dream was "much simpler," and that they're still surprised by the path their careers have taken.

"It feels like we built and built and built and tried and tried and tried, and really for the first time in this entire process, I think Jo and I are, like, looking backward. It's like, 'Man, a lot happened and you didn't get to really stop and smell the roses while it was occurring,'" Chip said. "But now, for whatever reason, we really feel like we're just in a really nice place."

Chip and Joanna have quite literally transformed Waco into a bustling tourist stop after they rose to fame on their original HGTV series "Fixer Upper" — though locals previously told Insider that the changes in Waco don't always benefit them.

Chip and Joanna Gaines have built several tourist stops in Waco, Texas

Chip and Joanna used their TV success to transform brick-and-mortar locations in Waco that have brought in floods of visitors.

They started by building their Silos campus in 2015, which is home to their famous Magnolia Market. The Silos has become a cross between a shopping center and a community gathering place, and it's home to eight stores, a bakery, a coffee shop, and a large field where food trucks sell local wares daily.

According to the Waco Herald Tribune, the shopping spot brings 30,000 to 35,000 tourists to the city each week.

A photo of the Silos in Waco, Texas.
The Silos in Waco, Texas.Samantha Grindell/Insider

Chip and Joanna also own an additional store called the Little Shop on Bosque, the restaurant Magnolia Table, a castle they renovated that fans can tour, and multiple rental properties in Waco.

As if that isn't enough, they just opened their boutique hotel, Hotel 1928, in the city's downtown area on Friday after renovating the 100-year-old building alongside Adventurous Journeys Capital Partners, which they documented for "Fixer Upper: The Hotel."

"It's the largest, most complicated sized project we've ever done in our whole careers," Chip said in a trailer for the series.

Chip and Joanna's efforts have drastically changed Waco

There's no denying that Chip and Joanna's work in Waco has brought positive publicity to the city.

The couple's polished yet inviting image and successful businesses are a balm to Waco's darker past, as it's historically been recognized for negative events, including the 1916 lynching of Jesse Washington, the 51-day FBI siege of the Branch Davidians cult compound in 1993, and a 2015 biker shootout that ended with nine dead, 20 injured, and 177 people in police custody.

Chip and Joanna have also helped to make Waco a wealthier and more populated city. Waco's population has been increasing since 2015, while the city's poverty rate has been declining, according to data available through 2021.

But the same rates are inverted in downtown and East Waco, which are historically Black neighborhoods. Indeed, BuzzFeed News reported in 2019 that the new developments in Waco that have sprung up in recent years have only made gentrification in the city worse.

Likewise, some Waco citizens told Insider in 2022 that the tourists have changed the feel of their much-beloved city and that it's been hard to ensure locals, rather than transplants, benefit from the businesses developing in Waco as a result of Chip and Joanna's efforts. Representatives for the Gaineses did not respond to a request for comment.

Despite their massive impact on Waco and huge business success, Chip told Hager and Bush that his relationship with Joanna is what he's most proud of.

"This is not an easy way to kind of live out loud like this," he said.

Read the original article on Insider