Wheatsville Co-op in Austin to Close by 2026

After 48 years in operation, Wheatsville Co-op on Guadelupe Street in Austin will be forced to close due to declining sales and the planned light rail construction by the City of Austin. The Orange Line connecting North and South Austin will run through the center lane of Guadelupe Street, effectively cutting off access to Wheatsville from the southbound lane to both cars, trucks, and pedestrians.

Wheatsville Co-op General Manager Bill Bickford said the biggest hurdle is that current plans for the Orange Line prevent the store from receiving large truckloads. “Currently, most supply vehicles back into our delivery lane by pulling onto 31st street in front of Via 313 and reversing across Guadalupe,” Bickford wrote. “As currently conceived, the Orange Line infrastructure in the center lane of the road will make it completely impossible to cross. While some smaller delivery trucks can make the turn around the building, the 18-wheelers our primary suppliers use cannot.” Wheatsville has been in communication with the Austin Transit Partnership regarding the issue, but a solution has not been determined.

Bickford said even if solutions could be found to the issues presented by the Orange Line, the Guadelupe store still has a cash-flow problem. The aging building from 1940 needs renovations, which Wheatsville does not have in the budget. Additionally, sales at the Guadalupe location have been on a declining trend for over ten years, coinciding with a rise in expenses. “It is not realistic to think we can grow sales at a pace necessary to make the Guadalupe location sustainable, nor that increased investment there is financially sound long-term,” Bickford wrote.

The plan is to close the store when the current lease expires on December 31st, 2026. The store may be replaced by smaller stores around town, or the co-op may become a single-store operation – focusing all resources on the South Lamar location.