One-fourth of what was once a thriving business corridor for Austin’s African-American community is now owned by Eureka Holdings, a company based in Grapevine, outside Dallas. Eureka is currently renting some of these properties and the buildings on them, other properties are undeveloped and being held for undetermined future plans.
In East Austin a lot has changed–new homes, new businesses, new residents-–but there are some things that have stayed the same. As part of our On My Block series, KUT’s Lauren Hubbard brings us to Marshall’s Barbershop, a longtime fixture in the neighborhood that’s now one of the few black-owned businesses in the neighborhood.
On one East Austin corner, Bobby Mitchell operates Ideal Soul Mart, Ideal Beauty Salon, and Swamp Daddy’s Cajun food truck. Inches away, Charles Carver operates a law office from an Airstream in the parking lot. The convergence of these varied services is emblematic of the new businesses moving into the neighborhood.
A drug market intervention by the Austin Police Department in 2012 changed the activities previously common to 12th & Chicon. Despite the positives from this effort, there have been downsides too. Several of the long-standing businesses in the area are learning to adapt to the new 12th & Chicon.
A handful of new bars and nightclubs have cropped up recently near 12th and Chicon streets. To some it’s a resurgence from decades ago, except the clientele has become much more mixed.
Many of longtime neighbors have opted to sell their property and move away from East Austin, but Brian Mays, one of the owners of Sam’s BBQ, is staying put. Mays talks about how the community around him has changed over the past few years.