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Austin's Light Bulb Shop closing its doors after 3 decades

Property taxes and a changing industry is forcing them to call it quits.

The Light Bulb Shop in North Austin is closing its doors after nearly 40 years of business.

Kelly McGary’s parents, Edwin and Traci, started their business of selling light bulbs 38 years ago and officially opened the doors of the Light Bulb shop on Burnet Road back in 2001.

McGary said now they're going out of business.

"The property taxes were a big hit for sure,” said McGary, a manager at the Light Bulb Shop. “They've skyrocketed immensely. As a small business, we've never made a whole lot of money. We've made enough to keep people employed and the families fed.”


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Property taxes and a changing industry is forcing them to call it quits.

“You have the internet which wasn't available four years ago,” she said. “We didn't have the ability to buy a light bulb at H-E-B, at Walgreens, and Walmart and Home Depot."

McGary said making the decision to close wasn't an easy one.

"I was really putting off putting the email out because it was really difficult to write,” she said. “It's an emotional thing. So many of our customers have watched us grow."

Some of their longtime customers said there's a lot about this place they'll miss.

"The product, yes, and I suppose I can find it somewhere else, but coming to see the people that own it and run it,” said Melinda Gray, a customer.

One customer considers the staff family.

"The people -- awesome people -- that's what makes a store great. The relationships you get over the years -- you become friends, you get to know each other's families,” said Langston Pennick, another customer.

It's those relationships that McGary and her family will hold on to even when the lights fade and the doors are locked shut.

"It's kind of like a Cheers place, you know. People know you when you come in. So it was a very emotional thing for me to write, and it's the ending of my parent's story and mine too,” said McGary.

The doors of the Light Bulb Shop close on April 15.

For those wondering about what will happen to "Light Bulb Ed," which sits on the top of the building, McGary said he's expected to stay there as long as the new owners will have him.

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