Small businesses have struggled through a long and arduous year, working to keep their livelihood afloat in a sea of uncertainty. This holiday season poses the opportunity to not only give gifts to your favorite people but also give back to your favorite local artists, Austin icons and small businesses.
So skip the line and shop small. There are hundreds of businesses to support around Austin, so if nothing here strikes a chord, visit the Austin Independent Business Alliance directory for more.
The Austin Winery
The Austin Winery, located on 440 E. St. Elmo Road, already gives bulk discounts, because let's face it, 2020 has been a rough year. Whether you gift this local wine to someone else or stockpile for the next pandemic, take 20% off a pickup order and get free Austin delivery through the rest of the year.
Away Spa at W. Austin
Give the gift of the oh-so-important self care this year, plus enjoy a little bit of it for yourself as well. With a $250 gift card purchase, receive an extra $25 spa voucher. Located on 200 Lavaca St., Austin residents also receive 20% off of certain services—how can you afford not to go?
Half Price Books
Texas-business Half Price Books is not skimping on the sales this year, and some of the deals even carry over into the new year. Take 20% off of your online book haul and for every $25 gift card you give away, any HPB will give you $5 off in January.
Kendra may not be a "small" business anymore but it started small with Austin roots. From Nov. 29 through Dec. 2, take 25% off of everything (yes, everything!) in the store and an extra 30% off of $300 or more for the "Yellow Friday" sale.
Lilla & Beth
For some unique Austin-centric decor, gifts, clothes and accessories, Lilla & Beth, located on 1911 Aldrich Street, has you covered this year. The more you buy, the more you save so take 10% off purchases under $50, 15% off purchases over $50 and 20% off purchases over $100. Everyone will wish they had gotten you as their secret Santa!
Record Store Crawl
Self-described "magic school bus that takes you to record stores and bars," the 2020 Record Store Crawl will make holiday shopping more fun than ever before. The Record Store Crawl will drive you to 10 record stores in the area, complete with a band on the bus for entertainment. Last year, the event helped sell 2 million records at local retailers nationwide, so this is a great way to have fun and help out the music industry.
Give the gift of relaxation with the help of Roam Homegrown's collection of candles, soaps, scents and self care goodies. To celebrate the holidays, the Austin-based, women-owned company is giving 10% sitewide until Dec. 31. This offer has no minimum so you can gift as much or as little as your heart desires.
Make sure to check business hours before heading out, it is COVID-19 after all.
Designs for stations along Project Connect’s Blue Line were presented this week, giving a detailed look at what part of the rail system extending from downtown to the airport could look like.
The planned stations that have gotten the latest focus include Waterfront, Travis Heights and Lakeshore stations past Lady Bird Lake.
At the Waterfront station, the preliminary design aims to prevent visual obstructions and save on costs. This is accomplished by a transit guideway that will lower from the bridge to a level station.
Heading onto East Riverside Drive, the light rail faces a curve requiring a slow down to about 10 miles per hour.
The Travis Heights station could involve relocating a pedestrian crosswalk zone at Alameda Drive to Blunn Creek. Since light rails can't effectively operate on a steep grade, this allows the transit guideway to avoid that.
From there, the rail will extend to the Norwood Park area, and though it will reach along the right-of-way zone, the park will be able to remain open.
A view of the Blue Line by Lady Bird Lake. (Project Connect)
The line involves some coordination with the Texas Department of Transportation. That's because the department is working on an intersection that will have to be built before the phasing of the section of the Blue Line involving an I-35 crossing.
When it comes to the safety of cyclists and walkers, design ideas include a pedestrian hybrid beacon by East Bouldin Creek that would provide a protected signal to cross. And for the intersection TxDOT is carrying out, Project Connect is working with them on pedestrian access across the intersection. It could involve shared use paths along the street and crossings beneath it.
This summer, the public can expect 30% of design and cost estimates to be released. Though the project was $7.1 billion when voters approved it in November 2020, the latest estimates factoring in inflation and supply chain constraints show it could ultimately be upwards of $10 billion.
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Plans for an Amazon warehouse in Round Rock—a $250 million project slated to be a large distribution center—are on hold.
This comes just after the tech giant had its worst financial quarter in seven years.
- Late last year, it announced an expansion at the Domain adding 2,000 more corporate and tech jobs.
- Amazon still owns the site in Round Rock. Plans for it are unclear.
- Early this week, the Wall Street Journal reported that Amazon is aiming to scrap warehouse space as it faces a slowdown in its e-commerce operations.
Part of that effort involves exploring the possibility of ending or renegotiating leases with outside warehouse owners. Another aspect is a plan to sublease warehouse space.
“It allows us to relieve the financial obligations associated with an existing building that no longer meets our needs,” an Amazon spokeswoman told the Wall Street Journal. “Subleasing is something many established corporations do to help manage their real estate portfolio.”
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