Planting Roots with Linen and Cake
Waco has transformed into a city full of opportunities. With booming growth and a supportive community, it’s the perfect place for entrepreneurs to plant their roots.
We’re excited to see Waco’s rich, entrepreneurial soil draw people from across the country and Theresa and Bret Emry are the perfect example. Not long ago, they made the life-changing decision to uproot from Spokane, Washington where they were born and raised, and make a big move to Texas. They sold all belongings that couldn’t fit in their travel trailer, and drove south. Waco was their destination of choice simply because it was smack dab in the middle of Texas, and they couldn’t ignore the “small town” growth.
“We saw Waco in our hearts as a small city right in the middle of Dallas, Austin, San Antonio, Houston – and we thought this is a huge opportunity,” Emry said. “There’s a lot of entrepreneurs and new businesses popping up, a lot of construction. We saw the vision and thought, ‘why not go where there is a need’ and there is a need for more home shops.”
Only four months after moving to Waco, the Emrys have firmly planted their roots in Waco through their passion project, Linen and Cake. The home decor shop is in full swing after a successful soft opening, and now, undergoing renovations preparing to welcome the community and visitors alike.
While Theresa and Bret felt it on their hearts to make a move across the country to Waco, establishing Linen and Cake wasn’t a part of their grand plan. The idea came to fruition after a push from Bret and the ultimate desire to be an entrepreneurial couple focused on teamwork.
“Back in Spokane, we started the name Linen and Cake, it was going to be our home decor blog and I was just going to do editorial shoots,” Emry said. “We called it linen and cake because it was going to be the celebration of a home. We saw a need for more home decor shops on Austin Avenue and that was when Bret told me we should open up a store. It’s a huge risk and it’s a lot of work, but I couldn’t do it without him.”
As if the requirements of being an entrepreneur weren’t difficult enough, the couple chose to take on the immense project in an area completely unknown to them. Basically walking in blind, the Emrys understood difficulties would await. But as they’ve continued on the entrepreneurial journey, Theresa found fitting into the already tight-knit community to be the hardest part.
“It’s always hard to start in a small town. We knew we could go into a bigger city and there would be more people to mingle with and they’d be used to more stores coming in and building their brands,” Emry said. “We knew with a small town, it was going to be easier, but it was also going to be tricky because you have established relationships you’re walking into. You have businesses that have been here for decades – we wanted to be mindful and respectful of our neighbors.”
While the pre-established relationships and networks within Waco caused a bit of difficulty for the entrepreneur, Waco’s welcoming community and ongoing growth has shown to be extremely beneficial for Linen and Cake.
“This small town is a growing town. There are so many entrepreneurs – I can’t emphasize it enough. There are so many fresh businesses that have started within the past two years,” Emry said. “You have Waco Paddle Company, you have Savage finds, you have Milo. We love the entrepreneurs and the strong community.”
Despite the ups and downs, Theresa and Bret Emry’s goal for Linen and Cake goes far beyond selling unique home decor products. For them, it’s all about the people. Their focus is on creating that fosters their love for connecting with people.
“My husband and I really love people. We love community. We like the idea of welcoming people in from all walks of life,” Emry said. “So having a storefront really set a precedent for that. Being able to invite people in who we would never meet otherwise. If you don’t have a door open, people can’t come in.”