Manor Road Continues to Evolve with Help from the Manor Road Merchants Association

By Vivienne Heines
Originally published in the February 2019 Flea

The Manor Road Merchants Association (MRMA) wants to see you at its restaurants, bars, shops, and venues—and Mondays are a great day to do that. “Manor Mondays” are one of the promotions organized by this two-yearold business association aimed at improving the accessibility, visibility, and economic viability of the area. The mission is to make the Manor Road area a destination for food, drink, entertainment, shopping, and other services.

MRMA was created through the City of Austin’s Souly program, an incubator for merchant associations that has provided training, grant money, and tools to the group.

“We want people to eat and shop, drink, relax, and be entertained,” said Melissa Vogt, MRMA president and managing director of the Vortex Theatre. “Souly has been really helpful about advocating and connecting us with those who will help us get things done.”

One of MRMA’s goals is to make the one-mile commercial stretch of Manor Road into a cohesive business district. Among some of its completed projects are the placement of the M Bike Gateway sculpture at the Dean Keaton Road- Manor Road triangle, where the district begins; the decoration of utility boxes; and additional bicycle racks. “We're most excited right now about the progress we're making on the improvements and beautification at the Manor Gateway site, the addition and repair of sidewalks in the district, and the initiation of the Pedestrin Hybrid Beacon locations (something that we've tried to get going since the association formed!),” Vogt says.

Manor Monday promotions include happy-hour specials at the Vortex, food discounts at Patrizi’s, giveaways, and special menu offerings at Unit D Pizzeria. Vogt will be designing a series of posters to highlight the specials each month.

MRMA members hope to encourage more neighborhood residents to visit the area and also to attract a wide range of customers to the unique offerings on Manor Road. “It would be short-sighted if we didn’t think big,” said Shalou Barth, a founding board member and owner of Unit D Pizzeria. “To really thrive we must reach beyond Manor Road. But the neighborhood is our core. Without Cherrywood and the surrounding communities, we wouldn’t exist.”

MRMA and Souly Accomplishments

• Launch and support of “Manor Mondays” • “Manor Road Passport,” a bingo card encouraging visits to Manor businesses • Completion of sidewalks in several major areas of the district • Improved bike lanes and lighting at Chestnut and Manor intersection • Installation of bike gateway and initiation of additional enhancements to the gateway • Support of pedestrian and bike infrastructure improvements at Dean Keeton and Manor Road • Initiation of Pedestrian Hybrid Beacons • Bike to Manor Day • Funding for logo/brand development • Advocacy for Manor Road in city planning.

Follow MRMA on Facebook (@MRMA78722) & @manorroadATX on Instagram

Jennifer Potter-Miller