New eye-catching street banners now line the South Congress Business District in support of the district’s brand and identity.
Every community has assets that play a role in building and retaining a resilient and attractive economy. The South Congress business district is one of Austin’s assets. With an array of eclectic shops, music venues, galleries, pop-up shops, restaurants, food trailers, antiques, boutiques, tacos and more the district has become a destination for all and an example of a successful business district.
“South Congress has always tapped into the zeitgeist of old South Austin, and being a part of the business community on South Congress allows you to both channel that essence and contribute to the independent, creative spirit that makes the area so unique,” said Brandon Hodge, Owner of Monkey See, Monkey Do! And Big Top Candy Shop.
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The banners were inspired by the organized South Congress Preservation and Improvement District (PID) Association, a valuable public-private partnership in which property owners elect to make a collective contribution to the maintenance, development and promotion of their commercial district. The PID is actively working with the City on other enhancements in the district that will enrich the pedestrian experience.
“People come to South Congress from all over the country to enjoy the eclectic mix of retail shopping, bars and restaurants. For the most part we are all independently owned and operated which makes it a very unique area,” said Cathy Lippincott, whose family owns Gueros.
Made possible through a unique collaboration of the South Congress Preservation and Improvement District, the City of Austin’s Transportation Department and Economic Development Department’s Soul-y Austin Program, the banners assist in inviting and orienting visitors to this must see district.
While there may be a fresh logo on display, the credit goes to the merchants and property owners. Over the past ten years, they have built a strong connection to their district, keeping each other abreast of challenges such as shoplifters and panhandling and collaborating on marketing, promotions and opportunities such as sales and events.
In 2015, as the Austin-Round Rock MSA crossed the 2 million population threshold, more challenges and opportunities present themselves to the Austin small and local business community.
“Parking is always top of mind. The more we can do collectively to mobilize people without thinking about where they will park, the better for us all,” said Michael Portman, Co-Founder of Bird’s Barbershop.
The South Congress merchants recently joined efforts with the City’s Soul-y Austin program to formalize their merchants association. The Soul-y Austin program is an opportunity for interested businesses to receive a flexible set of tools towards the formation of a merchants association, enhancements to their district and an emphasis on creating and retaining great places.
A merchants association serves as a great tool to empower neighboring businesses to be “better together” and speak with a unified voice on the opportunities and challenges that may increase or impede business growth within their district.
Over the next year the merchants association and the South Congress Preservation and Improvement District will work with the City through Soul-y Austin to create a vision for their district.
As South Congress PID efforts continue, so will the opportunities to enjoy the vibrant district. Every first Thursday, South Congress businesses stay open late and feature special sales, discounts on food and drink, and pop up local vendors.
For more information on Soul-y Austin please contact Nicole Klepadlo at (512) 974-7739 or visit www.austintexas.gov/