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Local Hays and Travis County Businesses Thrive During Pandemic

Everyone can agree that referring to the past year as “hard,” or “unprecedented,” is an understatement. None of us saw this coming and some of the ones who were hit the hardest are small and local businesses. 

Some San Marcos and Austin Texas businesses were hit hard during the pandemic and had to close their doors, while other local businesses fared well.

One of the local businesses that have been impacted positively during the pandemic is Industry Restaurant, which has stayed open since the beginning of COVID-19.  

“After a super busy summer and a lot of restaurants and bars still not fully open, we’re seeing more students than usual this month,” said Harlan Scott, owner, and operator of Industry. “It’s a great mix of students, families, and professionals.” 

Scott said that because the restaurant stayed open, it brought a lot of new business. Industry had served many new customers who had never heard of the restaurant. 

Recognizing that it took a pandemic to gain some support from locals, Scott is grateful that his restaurant is a place where customers feel safe during a pandemic through their use of outside/Patio seating and the safety precautions they have enforced during the pandemic, such as masks and social distancing. 

“People look at Industry for the first time, and when they came in they understood what Industry was about, which is really that we aren’t trying to be a restaurant where you eat, but a community space where you can hang out,” Scott said.

Mochas and Javas is a coffee shop, that is just a short walk from the Texas State campus. It has two locations, the one closest to campus is on North LBJ Drive And the other is located on Wonder World Drive. The Wonder World location was temporarily closed during a large portion of the start of the pandemic, so the coffee shop relied heavily on the LBJ location to make up for the World Location being closed.

“Whether our guests are passing through to get caffeinated or making themselves comfortable to Zoom into their class, our locations have been quite lively,” said Grace Mills, Mochas & Javas marketing director. “Nowhere near as lively as a typical fall semester, but we are slowly but surely seeing increases.” 

With only one location open during the start of the pandemic, it didn’t stop Texas State students from wanting to fuel their caffeine addictions. Now that both locations are open, Mochas and Javas can keep slinging espresso to needy college students. 

Swish Dental is a dentist office that is local to the Austin Texas area that was founded in 2017 by DMD Viraj Desai. Swish dental opened up 3 new locations during the pandemic and will celebrate its four-year anniversary this summer. 

“It has been really interesting opening two offices almost three during a pandemic,” Executive Assistant/Assistant Manager Austin Henry Said. 

At the beginning of the Pandemic, Swish dental temporarily closed all but two of their offices at for about a month.

“We were closed April of last year for about a month, right after the pandemic hit and then we opened back up in May, so we’ve been back open about a year at almost full capacity,” Henry said. 

Since the pandemic hit, Swish has been taking several different precautions in both clinical and front offices, such as wearing personal protection equipment, plexy glass sneeze shields, throw away masks, gloves, and regular temperature checks.

“We are definitely more cautious with disinfecting our surfaces and couches because we have a lounging area that’s located in our waiting areas rather than other offices that just have chairs. They are fabric so we make sure to disinfect those,” Henry said. 

Swish Dental has not only added new safety precautions since the pandemic hit, but they’ve also added two new locations.

“Since the pandemic has happened, we’ve opened two offices in the past year. We’ve physically grown and now we have more policies and we celebrating our four years as a company this summer, so we have grown physically and together as a group since we’ve been working this long together and gone through this hardship,” Henry said. 

Information compiled from the New York Times about the COVID-19 cases in Hays County

Information compiled from the New York Times about the COVID-19 cases in Hays County

Information compiled about the COVID-19 cases at TXST from Texas State University Website https://www.txstate.edu/coronavirus/road-map.htmlhttps://www.txstate.edu/coronavirus/road-map.html

Interactive Map of TXST Vaccination Allocations Compiled from the TXST website.https://www.healthcenter.txstate.edu/covid-19/vaccination.htmlhttps://www.healthcenter.txstate.edu/covid-19/vaccination.html

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