Austin coffee shop, live music venue struggling after reopening during COVID-19 pandemic

Austin

AUSTIN (KXAN) — “How much longer can we hang on?”

That is the question one local business owner is asking as COVID-19 continues to spread across Central Texas.

“You know, everywhere I go people ask how is the business,” said Kick Butt Coffee owner Thomas Gohring. “And they expect me to say, ‘Oh yeah, not so bad,’ and I am like, ‘You are not going to be happy you asked me that question. You are going to regret asking me.'”

The harsh reality is Kick Butt Coffee’s business is down 75%. Like for many restaurants and cafes in Austin, COVID-19 has not been kind.

“If things don’t pick up, we will have to close. It is just that simple,” said Gohring.

So far, he is still fighting to keep his business running. In an effort to be upfront with his customers, Gohring sent an email highlighting the impact of COVID-19 on his business.

“One of the things that made our location good is the thing that is hurting it now,” said Gohring in his email. “ACC is closed for in-person classes. Also, most of the local government administrative offices are still closed. ACC being closed is enough to put Kick Butt out of business. ACC students and staff are least a third of our total business.”

The coffee shop that serves food, alcohol and is a live concert venue took a big hit when SXSW was cancelled. Event sales make up almost 50% of overall sales and the cancellation set them back.

The recent email sent out to customers did boost business for a bit, but Gohring says he is depending on customers to continue supporting his business during this tough time.

“I would have preferred to skip the challenge of COVID, but I am doing my best to take on that challenge.”

Gohring says the mask policy is very important for struggling businesses. He says if businesses were required to take a step back with less capacity, or close completely again, more businesses will close.

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