Earlier this month, outdoor clothing manufacturer Patagonia opened its 25th retail store, and first location in Texas. Set in downtown Austin, the 7,000 square foot store is sited in a historic building that originated as the W.B. Smith dry goods store in 1884–four years before the state capitol down the street was completed.
The W.B. Smith Building has housed a series of businesses since the original dry goods store left in 1903, including a wholesale liquor company, a soda manufacturer, a candy maker, barber shop, shoe repair, and the Dallas Morning News and Galveston Daily News. It was also the site of the Vulcan Gas Company psychedelic nightclub from 1967 to 1970, with acts ranging from Steve Ray Vaughn and Johnny Winter to Shiva’s Headband.
The building sat vacant for a decade until real estate developer Trammell Crow remodeled it and moved into the upstairs in 1982. Tenants since then have included office design firm Bommarito Group, video game designer Digital Anvil, and advertising agency Latin Works Marketing, which outgrew the space earlier this year.
The new Patagonia location fits its corporate efforts to promote sustainable development by reusing existing buildings wherever possible. The company has added its own environmentally friendly fixtures and practices, including energy efficient lighting strategies, formaldehyde-free insulation and composite wood products, rapidly renewable bamboo hangers and wall fixtures, and recycled rubber chairs and metal tables.
The store also has shower facilities and bike accommodations for employees to encourage alternative commuting strategies and healthier lifestyles.