Noodles and Company leaves the Drag, other businesses to follow

Matthew Adams

As time continues to pass, so, too, do the businesses along Guadalupe Street. Noodles and Company decided to close locations in Texas, ATX Books will be permanently closing and Melissa’s Custom Gifts will be moving to a new location off Guadalupe Street.

According to The Denver Post, Noodles and Company announced on Nov. 5 it would be closing 16 of its locations across the country, five of which are in Austin. This decision comes after the company’s third-quarter results were released Nov. 5. The company fell short of Wall Street expectations, posting a $9.8 million loss in revenue which led to a 10 percent drop in the company’s stock.

“Occasionally, trade areas shift, populations contract or we may miss the mark gaining insight to adjust our future growth model,” the company said in an email to The Denver Post. “The decision to close a restaurant is never easy and is only made after careful consideration of the long-term financial performance of a particular location.”

Sylvia Gomez, assistant manager of The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf, said she did not know it was happening until corporate came to tell the workers the restaurant would be closing. Gomez said corporate workers came over to The Coffee Bean and asked her to translate for the Spanish-speaking workers of Noodles and Company that the restaurant would be closed, and they would receive their final paychecks plus an extra two weeks of pay.

“It was definitely a sad thing happening and just a lot of confusion in that moment,” Gomez said. “Two corporate women let our manager know, but our landlord did not know it was happening.”

Gomez said this was the busiest location for Noodles and Company in Austin, but there was constant turnover in the manager position. Since The Coffee Bean has shared a restroom with Noodles and Company since it opened, Gomez said they are actively trying to secure access to the restroom for customers of The Coffee Bean.

Farther down the Drag, ATX Books will be closing at the end of the semester, and Melissa’s Custom Gifts will be relocating to 24th Street across from Cain and Abel’s.

Ken Jones, owner of both ATX Books and Melissa’s, said he has been phasing out of the book business for a while because of the negative connotation students have with textbooks.

“Students feel ripped off, professors don’t always assign work from the textbook and publishers are always changing the book,” Jones said.

Jones said it would be easier to target customers from sororities and to encourage high school girls to visit Meslissa’s at the new location on 24th Street.
While rent was high and the homeless population a serious concern, the location had many other issues, Jones said.

“Where we are right now, there is a lack of parking for our customers,” Jones said. “Because of this location, when people think of UT, they think of downtown, and when they think of downtown, people think it is crowded.”