Chet Garner, 'Daytripper' star passionate about restoring historic structures in Georgetown

Chet Garner stands in the retail storefront of The Daytripper World Headquarters in Georgetown. (Sally Grace Holtgrieve/Community Impact Newspaper)
Chet Garner stands in the retail storefront of The Daytripper World Headquarters in Georgetown. (Sally Grace Holtgrieve/Community Impact Newspaper)

Chet Garner stands in the retail storefront of The Daytripper World Headquarters in Georgetown. (Sally Grace Holtgrieve/Community Impact Newspaper)

Chet Garner grew up in Southeast Texas, attended The University of Texas at Austin for undergrad and Baylor University for law school. He moved back to Austin in 2006—it was there he wished for a travel show featuring what to eat, see and do in small Texas towns. Since none existed, Garner decided to make the show himself, airing the first episode in 2009. More than a decade later he is still traveling for "The Daytripper," but he’s called Georgetown home base since 2012 and opened The Daytripper World Headquarters downtown last year.

You’ve been to so many towns; why live in Georgetown?

At UT I fell in love with Austin and Central Texas. As I started having kids I realized I still wanted to be in Central Texas, but in a small town. Georgetown is a perfect mix; it’s close to the city, but when I walk a few doors down to get lunch I’ll see five people I know. We’re isolated here, and we all know each other; the big city is just at our fingertips if we want it, or we can forget it’s there.

What makes Georgetown unique?

If I rattle off all the things I want in the perfect Texas city, Georgetown has it: a beautiful square; a deep, rich history; amazing food; a river running through; beautiful parks; and within an hour I can be at some of the most beautiful places in the world. Georgetown has the most beautiful square in Texas. I’ve visited a bunch of them, and this is the prettiest one.

How has your business grown here?

When we moved to Georgetown I rented some space above Novita Spa, a small office. Then we bought the building that houses Mikey V’s Hot Sauce Shop; we worked out of the back and leased the front to him. We were outgrowing that space, and Mikey wanted to grow, so we transferred over here (211 W. Eighth St.) when we had the opportunity to buy this building—we know we’re going to grow. The walls here are from 1890. We pull up floorboards and find horseshoes, and we just found a headlight from a 1920s automobile. When we bought it I didn’t even know it had a wood floor—it had carpet, tile, plywood, tile, then wood. It was like an archeological dig.

What future plans do you have for your show and video production company, Hogaboom Road?

The show is going to continue until they kick me off. The production company is adding clients constantly—we’ve been doing some really fun projects, such as all the Smokey the Bear commercials for the Texas Forest Services, commercials for Don Hewlett Chevrolet, Best Western International [and more]. That’s where the real growth is going to happen. Hogaboom Road is a stool and The Daytripper is a single leg.

You own three local buildings; is that part of your brand?

It’s a total side thing and something I never expected. When we moved to Georgetown, I thought it would be awesome to have a piece of this as far as stewarding a building. I don’t consider myself an owner of these buildings, rather a steward, because at some point I’ll die, and they’ll pass on to someone else. Much had been neglected; we had to gut some things, put on a new roof, new tresses [and more]. But I've stabilized them, and then they’ll pass on to the next person someday. You’ve got to leave it better than you found it.

Some people fear Georgetown’s rapid growth will destroy small-town charm. What do you think?

We have to realize we’re stewarding a very fragile thing, so we have to make decisions that maintain the atmosphere we want. [In owning buildings] I can make sure those are filled with the sort of businesses that facilitate the vision I want for Georgetown. I hope all the other building and business owners share a common vision: that we want to maintain all the reasons that drew us to Georgetown. There’s no stopping the growth, so how do we make the best decisions, not for ourselves and what puts the most money in our pockets, but for the city? Every time I’ve had an opportunity to change a tenant or do something with the buildings I ask if it adds to downtown. Brave Vira Yoga is an example: It would be more profitable if I’d chopped it up and turned that space into offices, but that’s bad for the Square; we need businesses that add to this wonderful serendipity. We need bars and restaurants, but we don’t only need bars and restaurants. I don’t want to see Georgetown turn into Sixth Street [in Austin], but I also don’t want to see it turn into an outside flea market or antique mall. We need to cater to fun, visionary entrepreneurs. As long as we maintain diversity of businesses and diversity on all fronts, then we’ll continue to be a very vibrant, cool place.
By Sally Grace Holtgrieve

Sally Grace Holtgrieve solidified her passion for news during her time as Editor-in-Chief of Christopher Newport University's student newspaper, The Captain's Log. She started her professional career at The Virginia Gazette and moved to Texas in 2015 to cover government and politics at The Temple Daily Telegram. She started working at Community Impact Newspaper in February 2018 as the Lake Travis-Westlake reporter and moved into the role of Georgetown editor in June 2019.


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