AUSTIN (KXAN) — Supply chain issues, soaring rents and a changing culture are among the reasons owners cited as what drove them to close the doors of these iconic Austin businesses. Here are a few that Austinites will undoubtedly miss in the New Year.
La Mexicana Bakery
After more than three decades in business, Jesús Martinez Becerra decided to close his south Austin Baker, La Mexicana Bakery, in February.
At the time, Becerra said he chose to close the doors because his dreams were elsewhere, and running a bakery is no easy job.
El Mercado’s Lavaca St. Location
Though not closed entirely, after serving customers for decades on Lavaca Street, the Tex-Mex restaurant location shut its doors due to challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Historic Landmark Commission discussed the history of the building and whether to preserve it. The commission ultimately approved the demolition in a 7-2 vote.
El Mercado still has two locations, one on Burnet Road and the other on South First Street.
Crema Bakey served south Austinites for nearly a decade. Co-owner Janessa Tomberlin said rents were so high they could no longer afford to operate in the area and had to close down.
“Our landlord expected us to sign a five-year lease in this economy, and we didn’t even know if we could survive another couple of months, much less five years,” Tomberlin said.
The Steeping Room
This long-time Austin tea house, formally located on North Lamar Boulevard at 44th Street, closed its doors in late September.
After serving Austinites tea for more than 15 years, the owners decided not to renew their lease. Though there is no brick-and-mortar location, they continue to sell products online.
At the start of the year, Adelbert’s Brewery, just a few blocks from Q2 Stadium, learned that their landlords had decided to end their lease to make way for office buildings. The Austin Business Journal reported that the property value increased by 50% in five years, an appraisal of nearly $5 million.
The owners spent a few months in early 2022 trying to find a new location but were unsuccessful.
Their last night pouring beers was Halloween.
The indie Austin bookstore opened its doors nearly a decade ago. After its owner, Joe Bratcher, died of COVID-19-related complications, Malvern Books decided it was time to close the chapter.
“Joe was the spirit of this store. He was really — he was the movement behind this,” Marven Books store manager, Becky Garcia, told KXAN. “It was his vision.”
Today was Malvern Book’s last day of operation.
The beloved vegan restaurant operated in east Austin for over a decade. Sue Davis, the owner, decided not to renew its lease at the end of this year due to Austin’s changing dynamics.
“I don’t have a clear picture of what the future will hold for Counter Culture. The way people eat out has changed. I love Austin wholeheartedly, but with the rising costs, I’m not sure it’s feasible to rent again, and buying seems like a faraway dream,” Davis wrote in a post earlier this month.
Lucy in Disguise
This iconic costume shop provided theatrical costumes to Austinites for nearly 40 years. Its last day of operation was earlier this month.
The store manager, Jerry Durham, said a few reasons drove the closure. The pandemic hit them hard, and supply chain issues continued to be challenging. Durham also said that South Congress street was changing.
“The style of South Congress doesn’t feel like what it was when we started the store,” said Durham, who has been with the company for nearly 13 years, to KXAN in August.
“We’ve loved being a source of creativity and inspiration for your parties, plays, and productions. It has been a pleasure to fulfill your costuming dreams and fantasies. Thank you, from the bottom of our hearts,” the store wrote in an Instagram post earlier this year.