Society of St. Vincent de Paul moving to North Austin



Highlights

Move follows trend of nonprofits leaving the center of the city for more far-flung areas.

The group’s new location will house executive offices, a thrift store and a coffee shop and deli.

Moving away from gentrifying South Congress Avenue, group looks for proximity to those it serves.

After more than 30 years at its South Austin location, the council of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul is moving north, where it will unveil a new family center and thrift store this spring in an effort to be closer to the communities it serves and increase the services it provides.

The nonprofit, which has helped people in need in Central Texas since 1961, bought a vacant retail center at 901 W. Braker Lane that it will convert to house offices, a thrift store, a donation processing and intake center, a warehouse, a coffee shop and deli. Once complete, the conversion of the 25,000 square-foot building, which was previously a grocery store, will have cost $4 million.

“We’d definitely outgrown the space on South Congress (Avenue) and are moving into a space that’s almost three times a big,” said Stacy Ehrlich, the group’s executive director. “Another main factor is that South Congress has become so gentrified that the folks we were seeing back in the ’80s are not there anymore, so we’re moving to an area of town that seemed to benefit the population of our clientele.”

The group provides financial assistance and disaster relief to people in need.

The society recently sold its South Congress property, which it held for more than 30 years in partnership with the Ladies of Charity - Austin, but will continue operating from that location until the new Vincentian Family Center and Thrift Store opens in the spring. The partnership with the Ladies of Charity dissolved after the sale of the South Congress location.

Ehrlich said the group looked at several options for the new center but was convinced by the visibility and accessibility of the Braker Lane retail center. The location, which is in a lower-income neighborhood that fits the population the group serves, also has ample parking and is on three Capital Metro bus lines, she said.

The group’s move follows a trend of Austin nonprofits leaving headquarters near the downtown area for locations further away from the center of the city, which has grown increasingly expensive in a hot real estate market. The Capital Area Food Bank of Texas broke ground on a new facility in East Austin last year and Any Baby Can left its East Austin headquarters last year for North Austin.

The North Austin location, Ehrlich said, gives the group proximity to low-income pockets of the city where many of its clients come from, but also allows the group to extend into the wider 27-county area it is charged with.

Half of the new building will be dedicated to retail, the coffee shop and a warehouse for donation intake, while the other half will include a food pantry, a computer lab for educational classes and executive offices, some of which will be available for other nonprofits or government partners that provide complementary services.

“The idea is to really serve the folks that come to us in a multifaceted way that would actually be helpful and not just one-dimensional,” Ehrlich said.

To that end, the coffee shop and deli will serve low-cost, nutritional food for retail patrons, the nonprofit’s staff and neighbors, and offer frequent discount days to a limited number of neighbors. That space will also be used for community nutrition and cooking classes.

“It’s really turning into a community center,” Ehrlich said. “It’s a place where we think we have some nonprofit partners who will teach demonstration classes like ‘How to cook on a budget,’ ‘How to cook on SNAP’ or ‘How to substitute healthier ingredients.’ There are all kinds of opportunities.”


Reader Comments


Next Up in News

Florida repairman beats woman with children in home, police say
Florida repairman beats woman with children in home, police say
A woman was severely beaten by an air-conditioning repairman who came to conduct a scheduled repair Friday evening, but instead restrained the young...
Debbie Wasserman Schultz out when DNC ends
Debbie Wasserman Schultz out when DNC ends
Democratic National Committee Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz has announced she will step down at the end of the Democratic National Convention, which...
Turkey's opposition rally in support of government against coup
Hundreds of thousands of opposition members rallied Sunday in a rare show of unity with Turkey's government to denounce the failed coup 10 days ago,...
Nonprofit replaces stolen trike for man with Down syndrome
Nonprofit replaces stolen trike for man with Down syndrome
A man with Down syndrome whose bike was stolen will soon be getting a new one. Jeffrey Croteau, 37, rides his a blue adult tricycle with his father...
Guess who Malik Obama endorses for president
Guess who Malik Obama endorses for president
Barack Obama’s half-brother Malik has endorsed Donald Trump to be the next president of the United States because the Republican presidential...
More Stories

You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to myStatesman.com.

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.

GREAT REASONS TO SUBSCRIBE TODAY!

  • IN-DEPTH REPORTING
  • INTERACTIVE STORYTELLING
  • NEW TOPICS & COVERAGE
  • ePAPER
X

You have read of free premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and bonus content- exclusively for subscribers. Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.

X

Welcome to myStatesman.com

This subscriber-only site gives you exclusive access to breaking news, in-depth coverage, exclusive interactives and bonus content.

You can read free articles of your choice a month that are only available on myStatesman.com.