Businesses adapt after moving to make way for jail, justice center

Published 2:57 pm Thursday, September 9, 2010

When the Austin City Council passed a state-mandated resolution in July of 2008, granting itself the power to seize properties within the Mower County Justice Center construction area, not everyone was pleased with the news — especially business owners who were directly affected.

Two years later, after battles and petitions, some businesses owners who were once distraught over the situation are now able to look back and see the transition as somewhat of a positive.

Steve Davis, owner of Steve’s Pizza, admits the whole situation caused a big headache for himself and those who worked for his business.

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But now, with a solid location on one of the city’s busiest corners — Main Street and Fourth Avenue Northeast — he can say that he’s pleased with where he’s at.

“Business is very good,” Davis said. “There are situations with expenses, of course. With the different building, there are a little bit more than we had expected, but all in all, it was a good move.”

Davis had built an addition to his old Steve’s Pizza location just before he heard the news of the mandated move. That, along with the fact that he had been in the location for 30 years, made the situation a little tough to swallow.

“We built an addition to the old location,” he said. “That’s another reason it was a little upsetting to move. I had invested quite a bit in it.”

Though the old location was home to Davis and his business, the new location has brought about changes that may help the business succeed in the future.

“I think our location has attracted more people,” he said. “I think we get a lot more visitors in the summer because we are very visible in the downtown area.”

With his son, Alex, interested in moving into the family business, Davis is optimistic that business will continue to grow.

Aside from the top-notch location, Davis said the transition went smoother than expected because of the support from Austin customers.

“My customers and the people in Austin were very interested in whether we were going to move or not,” he said. “They always showed an interest, and that was a motivator for me.”

Sue Goodnature, manager of Anytime Fitness, also said the move proved to be good for business. Formerly located in the two block area now occupied by the Jail and Justice Center, Anytime Fitness now sits in the Oak Park Mall.

“We’re doing great,” she said. “Leasing the business has been awesome. We have no complaints, we’re all just really happy.”

In addition to expanded space and a secure location, Goodnature said the company is enjoying its convenient location, right next to grocery stores, gas stations and shops.

They’ve also had the opportunity to give the gym a new look — something Goodnature feels has helped boost its image.

“We renovated our space,” she said. “It’s a very nice space. The business has been good for us.”