AUSTIN, Texas — Editor's note: Since this article was published, Victoria's Cleaners was purchased by another business. As of Oct. 6, it is still operating under the same name.
The owners of Victoria's Cleaners in Central Austin are spending this week saying goodbye.
Located in the Allandale Village Shopping Center on the corner of Burnet Road and Koenig Lane for more than 18 years, the store has never been so empty. Only a few garments hang on conveyors.
Customers are now only picking up what little clothes are left. No one is dropping off any items anymore.
"Yeah, I am very sad. We have a lot of customers. They've been coming here in the past week or so. They're expressing they're sorry about the business closing," said Tuan Nguyen, one of the owners.
Only Nguyen and his wife, Vicky, remain as customers are now only dropping in to say farewell.
Like so many Austin-area small businesses, COVID-19 has taken a toll on Victoria's Cleaners.
According to a Yelp study released in June, nearly 1,500 businesses closed permanently or temporarily in the Austin metro between March and June.
Before the pandemic, the Nguyens said the store was bringing in around $24,000 a month. Now they are seeing only around $2,000 a month – nowhere near enough to pay the $6,000 needed for rent.
With all their savings gone and their credit cards maxed out, the Nguyens are out of options and out of time.
"We feel sorry that we have to leave now because of the COVID," Nguyen said.
Sixty-two-year-old Nguyen and his 57-year-old wife are now facing another challenge: finding new jobs to survive at a time when he should be thinking about retirement.
This comes as they shut the door to a nearly 19-year career serving others in Central Austin.
KVUE reached out to James Knight of Knight Real Estate Company about the company's lease agreement with Nguyen.
Knight said he has offered rent abatements, waivers and/or lease modifications to all his tenants who have needed relief. Knight also said he is very sensitive to the effects that this pandemic has had, and his company is actively working with several tenants on various properties and doing what it can to avoid businesses closing down.
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