Treasure Hunt at GROCERY

Vintage and secondhand stores are a hallmark of every cool American metropolis. Cities with concentrated numbers of moneyed shoppers—San Francisco and New York City come to mind—are littered with fabulously furnished stores geared toward treasure hunters in search of their next art deco bookends or Danish modern lamp.

Until recently, most Waco resale stores fell into two main categories: used clothing stores (vintage, thrift, or otherwise) and those ubiquitous Texas antique malls selling vast, chaotic quantities of knick-knacks from homes across this great state. In contrast, GROCERY, the latest addition to the row of chic shops popping up along Washington Avenue at 7th Street, aims to recreate a big city aesthetic—the carefully curated collections, the minimalist aesthetic—and combine it with laid-back Waco charm.

Low-Key Chic & High Design

Step through GROCERY’s doors and you’ll feel as if you’ve wandered into a friend’s living room—if that friend lives in a well-lit loft decorated with soft leather furniture, a grid of modernist chairs on the back wall, and eclectic sculptures, housewares, and jewelry staged on handsome tables and dressers throughout. In a sense, that’s exactly what GROCERY is: a deeply personal expression of the owners’ respective styles and a place they hope you’ll feel at home.

Michael Davidson and Colton Dearing have tracked down, obsessed over, purchased, and cared for every piece in the shop. Most items are from the ‘50s, ‘60s, and ‘70s, but some are contemporary and all must meet the basic requirement of being an item Davidson or Colton would own themselves. If they don’t love it, they don’t buy it.

Vintage denim pieces, long-coveted in the fashion world (think Levi’s, Wranglers, and Lee), are dotted throughout the racks of clothing that line the left-hand wall of the shop. Plaid flannels and wool coats mingle freely with simple cotton button-downs and loud ’80s knits—a nice mix of butch, fem, and gender-neutral pieces to suit every taste.

A low, ‘60s-era dressing table with undulating carved wooden drawer handles has been repurposed as a credenza to support earth-toned ceramic mugs and plates interspersed with the occasional brightly-colored glass vase. A set of black-and-white striped linen napkins displays a series of Southwestern-themed bracelets in silver, copper, brass, glass beads, and semi-precious stones.


Browse for a spell, then rest your bones on the comfy coffee-colored mid-century Danish sofa and decide whether or not to spring for that gorgeous gold aluminum bar cart sitting opposite you. (Incidentally, that sofa under your buns is a great example of affordable and quality ‘60s furniture manufacturing—quality that has since gone down the tubes for many contemporary brands both fancy and affordable alike, says Davidson). If in your acquisitive musings, you feel your budget belt tightening at the thought of that cart, you can seek more affordable material consolation with a kitschy set of painted glass tumblers, a pair of geometric wooden candle holders, or a gorgeous sterling silver and turquoise pinky ring.

Serious collectors will appreciate Davidson and Dearing’s high-end finds, such as the set of Wassily club chairs originally designed in 1925 by Bauhaus furniture designer and architect Marcel Breuer. The chairs are true examples of the early 20th century’s melding of Modernist design with mass manufacturing. Draped in soft, wide strips of chestnut-colored leather stretched taught across their curved chrome frames, the handsome pair would complement any minimalist room with their understated elegance and utilitarian simplicity.


“There are so many reproductions of these chairs,” says Davidson, “but these are made by a company called Stendig, a manufacturer out of Italy who worked directly with Wassily chairs. You can go buy a reproduction of these for like $200 on Wayfair, but these are genuine—made by Stendig. That’s how you know they’re authentic.”

A Wassily chair will set you back $4,500—and furniture connoisseurs know this to be a bargain. With Davidson and Dearing doing the hard work of authentication, you can take your purchase home confident it’s the genuine article.

Friends, Aesthetes & Waco Enthusiasts

Davidson and Dearing met as undergrads at Baylor University and stayed in touch when their post-college lives took them to opposite corners of the US. Davidson went off to New York City where his girlfriend was studying photography, and Dearing settled in Los Angeles as the bass player for the rock band Wilderado. They worked for fashion brands on and off in various capacities and spent their off hours squirreling away treasures from funky thrift stores and chic boutiques.


For a time, both of them lived in LA, and that is where Davidson, a lifelong thrifter, began purchasing clothing and music gear for resale. Dearing, whether at home in LA or on tour with his band in hipster cities such as Portland, Oregon, was doing likewise. Slowly but surely, the two were building not only their resale inventory and vocabulary but also their shared dream of one day running their own retail space.

Eventually, hoping to settle down to a quieter life near their Texas family and friends, Davidson and his then-fiancé relocated to Waco. When Dearing left his band and was looking for a new start, he too moved back to Waco. Both men had parents in Texas who were getting older, and each hoped to buy affordable homes and put down roots. For the second time in their lives, Waco became home.

“We were ready to move on to the next phase in life,” says Dearing. “And it’s better here anyway. Waco’s the best. It’s beautiful. I love the river. I can fish whenever I want.”

“We love Waco,” agrees Davidson. “Geographically it’s perfectly located. It’s not too crowded, it’s not too expensive, and it’s full of good people. We still have tons and tons of friends here who are doing cool things—like at Pinewood.”

“And it’s up and coming,” adds Dearing. “There’s all this stuff that’s here now that was not here when we were in school.”

Come to Shop, Stay to Hang

It wasn’t until the current GROCERY space became available that Davidson and Dearing’s dreams for a retail shop began to gain momentum. Even then, it was only at the urging of their close friends that they finally took the plunge. It didn’t hurt that those friends happened to be JD Beard and Dylan Washington, seasoned entrepreneurs with multiple businesses under their belts, including Pinewood Coffee and Pinewood Public House.

“At first we said, ‘no,’” says Davidson, “but eventually we just kind of went for it. It’s sort of cliché, but you’re never going to feel perfectly ready. JD and Dylan have been good friends since Baylor, and we’ve always been impressed with them and proud of them for what they’ve done with Pinewood. After we came up with a business plan and a pitch deck, we wanted to give them an opportunity to be officially involved because of their experience as entrepreneurs. Colton and I are both more on the creative side of it all, you know, sourcing and whatnot. Neither of us has any idea how to run a business. JD and Dylan are a big help in that regard.”

It was just the push Davidson and Dearing needed to take the leap into small business ownership. They began to source inventory in earnest, what Dearing calls “the dream job of just getting to travel, find awesome stuff, and bring it back to Waco.”

Their buying trips took them to every kind of store in search of every kind of treasure.

“We went to auctions, estate sales, garage sales, flea markets, yard sales, and thrift stores,” says Dearing.

“We like all types of vintage stores and retail stores,” says Davidson. “We love the really fancy, highly curated minimal ones with just a few items on display and junk stores where everything is just piled in with dust bunnies all over the floor to true antique or vintage stores—we’re trying to make an amalgamation of all of our different interests within this one shop.”


With the nearby Grand Karem Shrine being remodeled as a hotel by Magnolia’s Chip and Joanna Gaines, Davidson and Dearing hope to entice some of Waco’s burgeoning retail-happy tourist trade. But first and foremost, they want GROCERY to become a fixture on the local scene, the kind of place you wander into for a chat, a gander, and a purchase.

“We just want to create a store that we like and a place where people may even just want to come hang out, have a beer,” says Davidson.

“And listen to cool music,” says Dearing, nodding and smiling.

“We’re just very interested in being a part of Waco,” says Davidson, “and being a local place that everyone knows and stops by to hang out.”


GROCERY is located at 729 Washington Avenue, Suite 101, and is open Wednesday through Saturday from 11 am to 7 pm and Sunday from 12 pm to 5 pm.

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Angelica Mazé is a Waco transplant by way of San Francisco, New York, and Saudi Arabia. A former chocolatière and production manager, she is now a writer and freelance marketing consultant with a focus on food and cooking.

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