Rising rent and property taxes pose challenges for small business


    Abraham's Shoe Repair. (KEYE TV)

    North Austin is booming with growth, but as new businesses move in some Austin staples have had to find more affordable places to go.

    Burnet Road is quickly changing as new luxury apartment complexes pop up surrounded by popular restaurants like Bufalina Due and Barley Swine.

    However rising rent and property taxes are dictating how long some locally-owned businesses stay in one place.

    Abraham's Shoe Repair has been saving soles in Austin since the 1940s. Once a downtown staple, the business was forced to close their downtown store in 2001.

    "The property taxes were going out of sight," explains owner David Abraham.

    The store has moved around North Austin multiple times and after two years at 2521 Rutland Drive, customers still call wondering where they've moved to now. With each move, business takes a hit.

    "If you have a customer base that comes to you, it hurts," Abraham says.

    Despite the rising cost of goods and utilities, Abraham keeps costs low. Still, when commercial property taxes go up, tenants must tighten their belts.

    "Most businesses will want a long-term lease and no one will give you a set price with taxes on long-term because no one knows what taxes will be," he says.

    Just down the road, first time business owner Robert Sanchez is teaching Mixed Martial Arts. He opened Texas Elite Muay Thai Academy at 9505 Burnet Road in November with potential tax and rent increases on his mind.

    "Hopefully in the future it doesn't increase too much to where I have to move from this location, but if it does, I guess I have to do what I have to do," says Sanchez.

    Passionate about his work, Sanchez believes his small business will succeed. As expenses fluctuate he's ready to go with the flow -- a practice Abraham's has been perfecting for 70 years.

    "Owning your own business is a bunch of headaches, but the good things are aspirins are cheap," says Abraham.

    Another challenge some small business owners face is constant construction and renovations. They say that sometimes slows business because customers think they're temporarily closed.

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