After a devastating pandemic year that has left many once-thriving retail shops in limbo, some local businesses are getting a fresh start on South Austin’s most notable strip.
Limbo Jewelry and Triple Z Threadz will open a new shop March 2 just steps from the brands’ longtime South Congress storefronts, both of which shuttered because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The pair are now located at 1708 S. Congress Ave., in the space formerly occupied by clothing boutique Co-Star, which closed last fall. The new retail store will do double duty, housing both brands (both owned by Edson Enriquez and Anne Rutt-Enriquez) in a “collective retail environment.”
Limbo was previously located at 1604 S. Congress Ave., and Triple Z was previously located at 1606 S. Congress Ave. According to the couple, they snatched up the shops’ new 3,400-square-foot home after losing their previous leases due to pandemic-related shutdowns and the ensuing economic downturn. The pair also closed their Chicago-based Limbo pop-up shop in November, though their Limbo location at The Domain, opened in 2017, remains in business. The new SoCo location will also house Little Limbo, the couple’s children’s-focused spin-off.
Triple Z’s previous spot at 1606 S. Congress Ave. has welcomed another local business that opened this week. Noah Marion is opening the second location of his eponymous shop.
Specializing in untreated, natural-vegetable-tanned leather pieces (everything from wallets and belts to home goods and apothecary items), Marion, a native Austinite, is a self-taught maker of leather goods who started his brand in his mother’s garage in Barton Hills in 2006, gaining much fanfare at area pop-ups before opening his flagship location at 2053 S. Lamar Blvd. The opening of the second Noah Marion location represents welcome growth for the company, especially in a time when so many iconic local brands are falling by the wayside.
For Enriquez and Rutt-Enriquez, the reimagining of a new shared Limbo and Triple Z shop — though brought on by a burdensome situation in which they had to close three of their five locations — represents a new lease on life for the much-loved Austin brands.
The closures of Limbo and Triple Z came not long after the jewelry company was awarded Outstanding Philanthropic Organization of Year by the Austin chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals for the shop’s charity and community-focused works. During the onset of the pandemic, Enriquez and Rutt-Enriquez were forced to temporarily close the shops, reopening them in May 2020, but with considerably reduced business.
“One week we were accepting this incredible award and the next we had to lay off all 35 of our employees, including ourselves. We, like most small-business owners, were fearful that we might not make it,” Rutt-Enriquez said in a release. “We feel like after working hard to rebuild and survive since reopening in May, we are fortunate to not only launch this new location after this past year of hardship and uncertainty, but to do so in a way that unifies our brands under one roof.”
Adorned with installation-like neon art created by local neon artist Evan Voyles of The Neon Jungle, the new Limbo/Triple Z store is divided into two distinct brand spaces and features a variety of goods from local artisans. The new shop also includes a secret shopping room that will highlight a rotating selection of limited-edition Limbo and Triple Z items, among other surprises, according to the couple. Additionally, an outdoor lounge area will be the ideal spot to host parties and events, they say, once conditions allow.
“We really want this space to be more than just a shopping experience,” Enriquez said. “We want people to engage with the space and have fun.”