By LESLEE BASSMAN, Four Points News
Beau Kisses has been a staple for local shoppers since 2012. Although the Trails at 620 store—located at 8300 N. RM 620, Ste. 600, Austin—will shutter on Sept. 15, the business’s Cedar Park and Katy sites will remain open, owner Lisa Brown confirmed.
She said she decided to close the location about a month ago, after seeing that sales had been declining significantly at the Four Points store for quite some time. In 2017 and 2018, she said the store’s sales started declining, with that trend continuing into 2019.
Brown and the company’s buyer went to five retail markets in six weeks during January and February, searching for new, fresh and different inventory “to shake up its product mix” and drum up additional interest in the shop.
“So we had a really good plan coming off of market, and then COVID(-19) happened,” Brown said. “We weren’t able to take our shipments because we were closed.”
Although she provided customers with curbside pickups and private shopping appointments during the pandemic quarantine, those efforts didn’t help the Four Points location despite the company’s other two sites realizing a positive response.
Once the RM 620 store reopened May 1, Brown said it still didn’t see the foot traffic needed to keep its doors open. She said she thinks the corridor of residents drawn to the RM 620 store are more sensitive to COVID-19 quarantine measures than shoppers living in the other two locations.
“They aren’t getting out and shopping as much,” Brown said. “They’re just more cautious.”
Citing the recent closure of restaurant Napa Flats in the same shopping center and other eateries in the area, she said local vendors “just aren’t seeing people coming back.”
The Katy Beau Kisses store opened earlier, in 2009, and the Cedar Park location opened in April of 2018. Brown said her original Lakeline shop customers had since moved to Leander and Liberty Hill, making the Cedar Park store an easier drive for them when it opened than trekking down congested RM 620.
Recent construction on RM 2222 may have also factored into the waning customer base at the Four Points store as well as the extreme traffic on RM 620, the only route to the shop, Brown said.
“For small businesses, if people want us to stay in business, you really have to get out and patronize, shop and eat,” Brown said.
Leslee Bassman’s full report will be in this week’s Four Points News in newsstands and mail boxes on Friday.