Cigar Shop Owner Angrily Closes His Sixth Street Location in Austin

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The Bobalu Cigar Company location on Sixth Street in Austin will be closing this month. The store’s owner, Jeff Lipton, says that the company’s Burnet location will stay open, but he is regretfully closing his Sixth Street store due to changes he’s seen on the street. He cited crime, the homeless population, and lack of sanitation as the main reasons he decided to close up. “He explained that his customers experienced excessive panhandling, his patrons would hear gunshots up the street and he didn’t feel safe having his employees walk to their cars by themselves,” KXAN writes.

The Statesman says that Lipton feels the city is focusing on bettering all other areas of downtown Austin except for “Dirty Sixth.” Voicing his anger to news outlets and a statement on the shop’s website, Lipton makes it clear that he didn’t want to close the cigar shop’s location, but he feels like he has to after 20 years of business.

Ending Community Homelessness Coalition’s (ECHO) Executive Director Ann Howard told KXAN, “The cigar owner — I haven’t met him– he could become a leader. He sees the need, it’s impacting his bottom line, he tells us. So what I would hope is that he get his own house in order and makes his move and he would get involved, he would become a voice for the homeless.”