AUSTIN, Texas - The list of Austin businesses lost to the COVID-19 pandemic continues to grow. The latest victims include Turf N Surf Po Boy at the Domain and Dart Bowl.
For 62 years, the sounds of falling bowling pins and cheering customers have echoed through Austin's Dart Bowl.
"It’s family-owned, spans three generations of the Ray and the Donovan family," said Dart Bowl co-owner John Donovan.
On Tuesday, the 13 employees working at Dart Bowl, some who have been there for more than 20 years, learned the COVID-19 pandemic left their business in the gutter. "We just have no choice but to close. It’s just ruined us," Donovan said.
On Wednesday, longtime fans of the bowling alley and cafe made a final trip to one of their favorite past times.
"It’s been around since I’ve been in Austin... and it’s sad to see those places go away. Austin’s losing its core," said a customer who only identified as Raymond.
Magnolia Cafe's Lake Austin Boulevard location was another lost during the pandemic. After 41 years, the owner announced shutdown orders were the final straw and that location would not reopen.
"The most difficult part is that our long-term and cherished families of employees all of a sudden don’t have a job," said Kent Cole, founder of Magnolia Cafe.
Threadgills is also on the list of historic Austin locations that have now become a thing of the past. The restaurant and live music venue, once a hangout for local legend Janis Joplin, was shuttered permanently in April.
"To me, it’s heartbreaking to lose Dart Bowl and Threadgills and it’s like a hole where there used to be so much life," Cole said.
"If there’s a small, independent local business that you value, support them these days, because there’s a lot that are hurting," said Donovan.
I Live Here I Give Here, an organization that works to inspire Austinites to give back to their local community, said supporting small businesses and local nonprofits now could mean saving our economy and, also, our neighbors.
"We want to have these things that make Austin the city that we love Austin to be and, if those don't exist when this thing is over, we're gonna have to redefine our city," said Courtney Manuel, executive director of I Live Here I Give Here.
Austin business owners said the best thing the community can do is get takeout, buy gift cards or visit establishments that are currently open.
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