AUSTIN, Texas — Nau's Enfield Drug, a longtime fixture in Austin's Clarksville neighborhood, is closing.
The pharmacy and former soda fountain will close in March after the Labay family was not able to renew their lease for the building, manager Laura Labay told KVUE Wednesday.
Nau's Enfield Drug has been at 12th and West Lynn streets since 1951. The Labay family has owned the drug store since 1971, when it was purchased by Laura Labay's father. She took over around six years ago.
Labay told KVUE it wasn't her decision to close up shop – the building's owners told her they weren't renewing the lease and that they are selling the building. She said they didn't provide much reason as to why.
Labay said being forced to shut down feels like losing a family member. Her parents, especially her father, are having a tough time with the news.
"I tried to hang on through closures, equipment breakages and no staff," Labay said, adding, "Most people would have walked away from this a long time ago, but it is the customers and the relationships ... This is all I know."
PHOTOS: Austin's Nau's Enfield Drug closing
Labay said that, last Friday, she put a sign outside the drugstore to try and get rid of some of the antiques and inventory. The response was quiet over the weekend but has since blown up.
"So many people have come in and told wonderful memories about this place," she said.
Back in 2019, KVUE reported that Nau's Enfield Drug had decided to close the soda fountain portion of the business – a move Labay believed would be temporary.
"The hardest thing right now is – with the economics of Austin right now – is trying to find help," Labay told KVUE at the time, explaining that the business was struggling to find people to work at the soda shop. "Also, there’s a lot of competition in the neighborhood right now to do the same thing that we’re doing, and we’re not a full-size restaurant. But, at the same time, even though we’re small, we make everything with a lot of love.”
In November 2021, KVUE reported that drug shortages were affecting Austin pharmacies, including Nau's. Labay said at the time that, before the pandemic, the pharmacy would fill about 100 prescriptions a day. In November, the pharmacy was filling between 20 and 30 prescriptions a day, causing it to lose both money and customers.
Labay told KVUE on Wednesday that she is required to turn in the keys to the building or vacate the space by March 2023. She couldn't say at this time what was next for herself, her family or the business.
"I've never imagined myself in a position that we were going to have to shut down," she said.
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