RunTex founder Carrozza about company's future despite Riverside's eviction notice

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Following the eviction of RunTex from its 17-year-old location Thursday, RunTex officials say they are headed in a positive direction to continue their mission to help Austin residents get more fit.

An eviction notice was posted on the door of RunTex’s Riverside location Thursday morning because the company is more than three months behind on its rent.

“We didn’t expect what happened that day,” RunTex founder Paul Carrozza said. “I got a text from my landlord. We’ve had a good relationship for 17 years, but when you’re behind on rent, that’s kind of the landlord’s prerogative.”

Carrozza attributed the company’s financial troubles to over-expansion in 2008. Carrozza said the company has been cutting back on the expansion in recent months, and had anticipated the Riverside store to be demolished to make room for apartment buildings in the summer.

“We expanded from three stores to five and that was hoping to be the prototype for expansion at the Triangle at UT,” Carrozza said. “So we did the big expansion ... I just took on a lot, and that’s really what created the stress because I didn’t get the appropriate capital to do so.“

The RunTex Carrozza Foundation is preparing to sign a contract with the City of Austin to take on the responsibility of funding the Trail of Lights project for the next five years, as they did in 2012. RunTex Foundation executive director James Russell said the company and foundation operate separately, and all philanthropic operations of the foundation, such as the ATX 100, will stay intact. 

Russell said after the city signs over the operations of the Trail of Lights to the RunTex Foundation, the Trail of Lights will be signed into a new, separate Trail of Lights Foundation in order to make the event more sustainable.

“We would set out with a goal of establishing a completely separate and independent foundation for the Trail of Lights to live in,” Russell said. “The RunTex Foundation would do what it does best and start things.”

Carrozza said the initial goal of the company when it started 25 years ago was to get people running and in shape, a goal which has not changed.

“We hit the market at the right time, with the right energy,” Carrozza said. “We have built hundreds, if not thousands, of events in Austin. There’s this proliferation of events that we started engaging the Austin nonprofit community, building the running community, engaging the corporate community for sponsorships, and it has been really a great thing. Austin’s become one of the fittest cities in the nation.”