New Braunfels | August 2020

BUSINESS FEATURE Lot 59 A vintage store built on historic roots K athryn “Kat” Balmos, owner of Lot 59, claims a heritage that can be traced back to the beginnings of New Braunfels in 1845. Julius Voelcker, a member of one of New Braunfels’ founding families, claimed lot No. 59 when the city’s land was divided, and he launched a pharmacy business downtown, according to Balmos. A New Braunfels native and descendent of Voelcker, Balmos got her start in retail as a manager for J. Crew and then as a regional manager and director of recruiting for Abercrombie and Fitch. “I learned how to build a brand, how to market and how to merchandise,” Balmos said. When she moved back to New Braunfels, Balmos opened Lot 59 in 2013 not far fromwhere Voelcker’s pharmacy once was, and she curated new and vintage clothing, decor, jewelry and locally made art. In 2018, Balmos opened her second store, The Local, which focused more on apparel but still highlights the work of local artists and designers. “I really wanted [The Local] to be a little bit more representative of New Braunfels,” Balmos said. “The Lot is very, very unique and has personality … whereas The Local is me being really retail smart.” When businesses had to close or adjust their oper- ations in response to the coronavirus pandemic, the teammarketed its inventory online and collaborated with vendors to create craft kits to give customers newways to support both shops. “Not only do we represent the two stores, but we represent the 25 artists within my store that are all local,” Balmos said. “Our rst priority was keeping the momentum of sales moving.” According to Balmos, the support of the commu- nity helped sustain both businesses and allowed her and her team to plan for the coming months. “I know that I am so fortunate to be able to be open,” Balmos said. “Lighting a candle and making sure the music is at the right volume, all of those things matter … the whole goal, no matter what I have in there, is that people walk in and feel good.” BY LAUREN CANTERBERRY

Lot 59 opened in 2013 in New Braunfels and was named after the plot of land acquired by Julius Voelcker in 1845. (Lauren Canterberry/ Community Impact Newspaper)

Kathryn Balmos (center) works closely with her general managers Stephanie Lewis (left) and Kaitlyn Braune (right). (Courtesy May Carlson Photography)

Lot 59 343 W. Cross St., New Braunfels 830-221-5692 Hours: Mon.-Thurs. 11 a.m.-5 p.m., Fri.-Sat. 11 a.m.-9 p.m., closed Sun.




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