Amy’s Ice Cream on South Congress to close soon due to steep rent spike

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Amy’s Ice Cream on South Congress is slated to close by Oct. 25 due to an unforeseen hike in rent prices.

The iconic Austin based creamery, according to a Facebook posted on Friday, will shut down after rent prices doubled, leaving St. Edward’s University students with one less option for their late night snack fixes.

Aaron Clay, Marketing Director for Amy’s Ice Creams is a St. Edward’s alumnus.

“[The owners are] a real estate group based in California. They’ve never been to Austin nor do they know how the market or community works,” Clay said.

The Super South location had a “Hilltopper combo” consisting of Mexican vanilla, cookie dough, Reese’s peanut butter cups and hot fudge on top. The company hopes to move this combo to the South Lamar location so that SEU students can still enjoy it.

“This location was nice because there was less tourist traffic than most other stores as well as less of an emphasis on longhorns,” said Clay.

Amy’s is not the first or only business to experience this abrupt change. South Congress businesses have seen many changes throughout the years, some more beneficial than others.

One such business, Ben White Florist, opened about 15 years ago, and it does not seem to be slowing down anytime soon.

Lizzy Szwaya, who has worked at the florist shop for the past three years, said adapting to the changes means incorporating the Internet for deliveries and pickups, which has changed the style and ultimately, proved to be profitable.

“There’s not as much foot traffic, but it’s gotten busier due to online orders, which brings more attention to the products we offer,” Szwaya said.

Because of the online feature, Szwaya also mentions the customer base is “all over the place.”

Sage Café shares property with The Great Outdoors, a nursery, and has been around for about 10 years.

Dillon Pontbriand, a barista at Sage Café, has lived in South Austin for 20 years, and sees the change in scenery as both positive and negative.

“Any diversity is positive for new ideas and new businesses, but people keep getting priced out,” Pontbriand says.

With Jo’s Coffee on campus, Pontbriand notes that student traffic fluctuates.

“The market has changed, so we have to adapt. People don’t just want regular coffee anymore, now they look for kombucha or frappes,” he says.

Noting the change in culture that comes with so many new incoming residents, Pontbriand comments that the new diversity makes it important to stay balanced between what people want and what’s best for the integrity of the business.

Further down the street is South Congress Beverage Barn, which has been on South Congress for over forty years, arguably one of the oldest businesses on the street.

Shan Malik, a long time friend of the owner, doesn’t necessarily enjoy all the change.

“This is our last day here,” Malik said pointing to a row of empty coolers. “This place was an icon for all the lazy people that didn’t want to get out of their cars to buy beer.”

The growth in rent prices is the reason for many closures around town, including South Congress Beverage Barn and the Super South Amy’s Ice Creams location.