PeopleFund Blog

Austin Lumber Company will host Economic Summit on Oct. 25

We are pretty stoked for this year’s Economic Summit. Not only are we getting help from two arts entrepreneur/activist superstars Lisa Byrd and Ann Graham, but we also chose a great venue. This year’s Economic Summit, scheduled for Oct. 25, will be at the Austin Lumber Company.

In the past, we’ve held the Summit at Austin Community College or a more formal campus. This year, we wanted to change things up and go with one of our clients who really exemplifies what it means to be an arts entrepreneur.

The Austin Lumber Company is a local retail lumberyard, hardware store and a leader in sustainable building. It’s also an East Austin original since opening its doors in 1929. Laura Culin, the granddaughter of ALC’s founder, now runs the business; making it a City of Austin- certified Woman-Owned Business Enterprise and Disadvantaged Business Enterprise. It’s not just its owner that sets Austin Lumber Company apart; it’s also its focus on arts entrepreneurship.

After a bottle rocket collided with the lumberyard on New Year’s Eve 2005, five of seven buildings, along with most of Austin Lumber Company’s inventory, machinery, files and memorabilia were damaged in the fire to the tune of $1.5 million. Shortly after, East Austin small businesses came together to help Austin Lumber Company rebuild its warehouse and get back on its feet.

We stepped in to provide a $100,000 term loan to help Austin Lumber Company open a new art gallery and creative workspace, which opened in 2008.

Now, local artists have teamed up to manage a gallery and artist showcase to feature work being done by creative entrepreneurs in our community. Visit the Phoenix Trades Depot website or facebook page to learn more information about upcoming shows.

We are pretty proud of the work that Austin Lumber Company and its new space have done for arts entrepreneurs in Austin and cannot wait to talk more about arts entrepreneurship at the Summit this year! Mark your calendars—Oct. 25! Keep our blog bookmarked so you are always up to date!

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