Best of 2021: 10 Central Austin business features

Houseplant manager Melissa Hagen’s “office” is a greenhouse where she experiments with different plant cuttings. (Darcy Sprague/Community Impact Newspaper)
Houseplant manager Melissa Hagen’s “office” is a greenhouse where she experiments with different plant cuttings. (Darcy Sprague/Community Impact Newspaper)

Houseplant manager Melissa Hagen’s “office” is a greenhouse where she experiments with different plant cuttings. (Darcy Sprague/Community Impact Newspaper)

From boxing studios to drive-ins, Community Impact Newspaper profiled businesses throughout Central Austin. Here are 10 from 2021.



January: Turquoise Trading Post

Turquoise Trading Post owner Jim Williamson said he fell in love with art as a kid growing in New Mexico in the 1970s. More than 26 years later, Williamson is still selling art and jewelry from the American Southwest.

February: Blue-Starlite Mini Urban Drive-In


After more than 10 years of “just getting by,” this small business faced unprecedented demand during the pandemic.

May: Austin Women’s Boxing Club

With 150 members in its all-woman gym, Julia Gschwind, Austin Women’s Boxing Club owner, said her gym offers an environment that is safe and inclusive for female athletes of all skill sets and backgrounds.

June: Ace Tailors

Ace Tailors was founded in 1967 by Ramon Galindo, who got his start making and altering custom suits for magicians, complete with special features such as hidden pockets.

August: Urban Betty

Urban Betty salon has been growing since it opened in 2005. It is ready for more in 2022. “I joke that when I first started Urban Betty, there were only six chairs, and I didn’t want any employees. Now we’re pushing 70 employees,” owner Chelle Neff said.

September: Breakaway Records

The record store, adorned with a ‘60s-style sign and colored disks that create a stained glass look, shares a parking lot with a vintage clothing store and Epoch Coffee—an easily recognizable strip mall with the coffee shop’s large mascot donning the corner.

The business’s location, in the vintage, artsy corridor, has been part of its long-term success and an even more essential component to the shop’s survival during the pandemic, co-owner Josh LaRue said.

October: Tillery Street Plant Co.

Melissa Hagen, the houseplants manager, joined the nursery eight years ago, just a few years after it opened in 2011. Throughout that time, Tillery has grown. Jon Hutson, the owner, encourages his employees to try new projects. This had led to a front garden featuring local plants to attract butterflies and pollinators, a tissue lab where Hagen cultivates plants from cells, a bonzi tree section and more.

November: Inspect It Austin

The company inspects almost 500 hundred houses a month and has 13 employees. Owner Joey O’Brien’s wife and mother both work in the office. He has also recruited former builders from most of the largest area home companies. He said it is the employees’ combined knowledge and military training to work toward a shared goal sets the company apart.

November: Flat Fork Studio

Many Austinites have seen Flatfork Studio’s work without realizing it.

Its art takes the form of installations at the Austin Trail of Lights, an 8-foot-long armadillo that made its way around downtown in 2016, a human-sized sandwich that rotated among coffee shops and more.

Faith Schexnayder, owner and director, and Ryan Day, production manager and lead fabricator of the studio are trained in traditional mediums such as painting and sculpting, but they make their mark on Austin’s bar, restaurant and events scene through giant foam fabrications.

December: Wright Family Chiropractic

The Wright Family has been serving Austin for four generations.