Nau’s Enfield Drug closes near Clarksville in Austin after decades of operation

The Labay family has owned the pharmacy since 1971. The building has been located at 12th Street and West Lynn Street since 1951.

Austin, Texas — Editor’s note: The above video was published in November 2021.

Enfield Drug in Nau, a longtime fixture in the Clarksville neighborhood of Austin, is closing.

Manager Laura Labay told KVUE Wednesday that the pharmacy and former soda fountain will close in March after the Labay family was unable to renew the building’s lease.

Nau’s Enfield Drug has been located at 12th Street and West Lynn Street since 1951. The Labay family has owned the pharmacy since 1971 when Laura Labay’s father bought it. She took over about six years ago.

Labay told KVUE that it wasn’t her decision to close the store — the building’s owners told her they would not renew the lease and would instead sell the building. She said they didn’t provide much reason.

Being forced to close was like losing family members, Labay said. Her parents, especially her father, were saddened by the news.

“I’m trying to stick with the shutdowns, equipment failures and no staff,” Rabe said, adding, “A long time ago, most people would have left here, but it’s the customer and the relationship . . . That’s all I know.”

Labay said she put up a sign outside the pharmacy last Friday in an attempt to clear some antiques and stock. The response over the weekend was quiet, but then it was blown up.

“So many people came in and told fond memories of the place,” she said.

Back in 2019, KVUE reported that Nau’s Enfield Drug had decided to shut down the soda dispenser portion of the business — a move Labay believed would be temporary.

“The hardest thing right now is — with the economy in Austin — trying to get help,” Rabe told KVUE at the time, explaining that the company was trying to find people to work at the soda shop. “And, there’s a lot of competition around right now to do the same thing we’re doing, and we’re not a full-size restaurant. But, at the same time, even though we’re small, we do everything with a lot of love.”

Shutting down ‘Nau’: Beloved drugstore puts a stopper on its soda fountain

Austin pharmacies struggle with drug shortages

In November 2021, KVUE reported that drug shortages were affecting Austin pharmacies, including Nau. Labay said at the time that before the pandemic, the pharmacy would be filling about 100 prescriptions a day. In November, the pharmacy was filling 20 to 30 prescriptions a day, costing money and customers.

Labay told KVUE on Wednesday that she has until March 2023 to hand over the keys to the building or make space. She is currently unable to say what is next for herself, her family or the business.

“I never thought I was in a situation where we were going to have to shut down,” she said.

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