When I ask my friends if they want to go meet up for coffee in a shoe store, I am met with some understandably odd looks. “No, not just a shoe store,” I continue, “they also sell eyeglasses. And it’s really a cute little house with front porch swings and a back yard with so much character. And it’s actually something of a community meeting space because they offer free crafting classes and story times.” By this time, my friends think I am just making things up.
But in all truth, I really dig the TOMS store on South Congress. When it opened during SXSW this spring, it became their 2nd flagship store (the first being their Venice Beach, CA location). At first I wasn’t sure if this was one of these promotional popup businesses that tend to come and go during the Austin festival, but TOMS is here for the long run, and I think it’s a great addition to the SoCo area.
There’s no denying that the story behind TOMS is so very inspiring. Their motto, “We’re in business to help improve lives” is an amazing concept. With every product they sell, TOMS will help a person in need as part of their “One for One” model.
In 2006, TOMS founder Blake Mycoskie befriended children in a village in Argentina and saw that they didn’t have adequate shoes to protect their feet. Wanting to help, he created TOMS Shoes, a company that would match every pair of shoes purchased with a pair of new shoes for a child in need. One for One.® In 2011, the One for One model was expanded and TOMS Eyewear was launched. With every pair purchased, TOMS helps restore sight to a person in need. And this year, they launched TOMS Roasting Co. With every bag of coffee purchased, TOMS will provide one week of clean water to a person in need.
This past weekend, my whole family stopped in for breakfast tacos, coffee and lemonade. My boys loved the all of the outdoor space including the backyard carriage house with its chalkboard wall. It seemed as though the kids were acting out the story of Goldilocks (without the bears) as they tested out every single chair, bench, and seating option in an effort to choose their favorite seat. (The top choice ended up being the front porch swing, by the way.) We all really enjoyed our breakfast in the comfy and welcoming surroundings.
The TOMS Austin location is not only a really cool space for lounging and meeting friends for coffee, but they also strive to be something of a “community center”, offering weekly events such as yoga, craft nights, story times, and gatherings of Austin’s creative thinkers for lectures. To stay up-to-date on all of these offerings, you can find info on their Instagram account (http://instagram.com/tomsaustin) or sign up for their email updates (http://www.toms.com/toms-stores).
All events are FREE and open to the public. You just need to RSVP by calling 512-350-2115 or email ATXrsvp@TOMS.com. You can also sign up in the store.
1401 South Congress Ave.
Austin, TX 78704
Store hours: Mon-Fri 9am-8pm, Sat 9am-9pm, Sun 9am-8pm
Cafe hours: Mon-Fri 6am-8pm, Sat 7am-9pm, Sun 7am-8pm
Freelance web producer, Heidi Okla is mom to three boys (ages 4, 6, and 8), and can’t pass up any opportunity for fun family adventures.