Austin is full of hidden treasures. Advertised primarily by word of mouth and catering to a devoted clientele, the cluster of businesses on the corner of E 38 1/2 St and Airport Blvd is one such treasure. With a holistic synergy, these locally owned services offer one-stop shopping to nourish the body and mind.
Here’s a look at six businesses that make up this unique community.
Nourishing the Mind at 3823 Airport Blvd
The City Theatre
Laughter, they say, is the best medicine. The City Theatre is ending its 2015 summer season by putting on one of Broadway’s comedy classics, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum (August 28–September 20, 2015).
The City Theatre has been voted “Best Theater Company” (austin360 A-List) and has received numerous B. Iden Payne awards. This homegrown artistic performance company is celebrating its 10th anniversary with an impressive array of productions. In September, look for the Austin premier of Love Alone, a heartrending drama. In October, The Musical Comedy Murders of 1940 plays, and the ever-popular staging of Steel Magnolias completes the holiday season.
Not satisfied with watching? The City Theatre also offers a class, “The Art and Craft for Beginning Actors,” led by Amber DuPuy, professional actress and experienced teacher. The class meets on Saturdays from 9:30–11:30 AM beginning this fall.
91.7 FM KOOP Radio
The Austinot has a great write-up on this hyperlocal, community radio station. It’s pronounced “co-op” and has been entertaining listeners since 1994 (and, as of August 2015, that power comes from solar energy, thanks to new panels installed by several local donors).
Listeners can tune in daily for a wide assortment of volunteer-created radio shows, including the award-winning “Around the Town Sounds,” which takes an in-depth look into Austin’s music scene.
Read the full story: “KOOP FM is Austin’s Public Radio You Want to Hear”.
Lisa Nanyes and Shea Werner, Counselors
Two therapists share office space at the center.
Shea Werner is a native Texan who returned to Austin in 2005. She has worked in the human services field, which enables her to provide a unique perspective on treatments in a variety of areas. “I love what I do and have a profound respect for people and their unique experiences,” Werner writes on her website, “so I strive to build a warm, collaborative, and sincere therapeutic relationship with my clients.”
Lisa Nanyes, a native Austinite, provides therapy for adults, adolescents, couples, families, women and men in a variety of treatment areas, including anxiety and depression. She works with “those who have experienced abuse, trauma or loss, difficult relationships, or are at a crossroads in life.” Her counseling practice has been located in this space for about three years now, and she said, “I love the little community on Airport…and I like that it’s this little niche of holistic businesses.”
Treating the Body at 3823 Airport Blvd
Earth + Sun Skin Therapy
Owner Abby Webster’s original degree was in urban planning. But she quickly discovered that sitting at a desk wasn’t for her. “I realized I’d rather help people [as a licensed aesthetician] in a one-on-one setting on a daily basis, in a way that makes them feel better about themselves,” she recalled. That led her to open Earth + Sun Skin Therapy.
Webster offers a variety of treatments at an affordable rate. A new business owner who’s lived in Austin for 10 years, she wanted to price fairly so that “people are able to treat themselves” to a facial and other restorative services. She estimates 75 percent of her clients are returning customers.
Earth + Sun Skin Therapy offers creative specials, such as the “Barton Springs” facial, inspired by Webster’s swims at the Austin pool (the temperature, alternating hot for the sun and cold for the water, and the aroma, a mix of kelp referencing algae and coconut and papaya, the scent of suntan lotion). Each service is capped with a refreshing assortment of locally created Tailor Made Treats, which are custom made, gluten free, vegan, organic and delicious chocolates.
Owner Kyra Gerhard explained why the mantis was a perfect representation of her massage therapy practice: “In Eastern philosophy, there’s calm and peace associated with the mantis, along with great posture. But the insect is actually pretty vicious, and that’s a lot like massage therapy, in a way. People think it’s this calm, peaceful treatment, but especially with deep tissue massage, I like to joke that you’re going to feel like we really beat you up.”
Mantis Massage is comprised of 11 different therapists, each with a broad training background and an emphasis on pain management, sports therapy and work-related physical issues. Full staff bios can be found online, so clients can determine which therapist is best able to address specific needs. Appointments can also be scheduled online.
Monica Castillo, lead therapist, emphasized “our clients definitely feel the community.” While many live in the eastside area, others come from Leander and Round Rock. “We’re one of the few places [in Austin] that focuses on pain management,” explained Gerhard. “Our two biggest groups are athletes and desk jockeys.”
Mantis has been located at 3823 Airport Blvd for some four years and has seen the area change over time. “We love being a bunch of women supporting other women,” Gerhard said, referencing that the majority of businesses in the strip are women-owned (in fact, Webster of Earth + Sun Skin Therapy leased her space after hearing of the opening while getting a massage at Mantis).
They share the love, too. Mantis makes a point to support other local businesses. Their furnishings and aromatherapy supplies come from Austin’s own Morningstar Trading Co. Linen service is provided by WashCycle Laundry, which picks up and delivers by bicycle. Staff meetings feature food from nearby Kome Sushi Kitchen and Contigo (Gerhard even credits her business start to a happy hour meeting and subsequent social media pic involving Contigo).
Read more about Contigo: “Best Outdoor Patios in Austin: Austinot Blogger Edition”.
Neighborhood Acupuncture Project
In that synergistic flow between businesses, therapists at Mantis Massage and actors with The City Theater utilize healing services provided by the Neighborhood Acupuncture Project. Webster even volunteers at NAP’s front desk. But this interaction comes as no surprise after speaking with owners Laura Mathews and Tony Ward. Bringing acupuncture to the community is their passion.
NAP is celebrating its ninth anniversary on September 1st in its second location at 3823 Airport Blvd. They outgrew their original space in the center and moved to the freestanding section two years ago.
Mathews, who has lived in the neighborhood for 20 years, fondly recalled NAP’s start: “The landlord here was looking to have more local, earthy and nurturing businesses here when we moved in. KOOP and The City Theater were already in residence, and we all started pal-ing around. We had an amazing grand opening party…the White Ghost Shivers played.”
What inspired the three original founders (Mathews, Ward and Paul Schwarz, who has since moved to Seattle) to create NAP was, as Ward put it, “we realized that we couldn’t afford acupuncture ourselves, and there are a lot of people like us.” The clinic opened with the goal of becoming an affordable source of primary care and education, a more holistic alternative for all in the community. To that end, services are provided on a sliding scale, based on the individual’s financial ability. Volunteering at the clinic results in free treatment.
The space is quietly restorative, with private areas for treatment, a communal seating area furnished with comfortable recliners and kitchen space where custom herbal treatments are concocted. “There’s a synergist feeling, a morphic field, or healing space, here,” explained Ward. “The healing process starts when that first connection is made.”
leahruns100 wants to know:
Have you ever done business at 3823 Airport Blvd? What did you think of your experience?