Retail Recruiter, Downtown Austin Alliance
Meredith Sanger has retail in her blood: Her family owned Dallas-based Sanger-Harris Stores, one of the first retail operations in Texas. Generations later, Sanger works as a retail recruiter for the Downtown Austin Alliance, hunting for that next perfect shop or restaurant to add to Austin’s burgeoning downtown experience. In practice, Sanger says, her job involves a lot of secret shopping, a lot of relationship building, and a bit of treasure-hunting. “You have to love retail to do this job, I especially like vintage stores and flea markets. I love finding treasures,” Sanger explains. “My job allows me to visit all kinds of stores in order to find that perfect retailer for Downtown.” Sanger, an Austin native, moved away from the city for five years during the recession, and she said when she came back in 2010, the town had changed: “I came back to an Austin that had woken up a little bit,” she says. “It wasn’t the sleepy college town that I grew up in.” And she woke it up even further, bringing Houndstooth Coffee, Daruma Ramen, P. Terry’s Burger Stand, and more downtown. “I think downtown is changing for the better,” Sanger says. “I’m seeing Sixth Street slowly evolve to become an 18-hour-day experience, where you can go anytime of day and have something to do, and I see Sixth Street connecting both East and West sides of town. I see downtown becoming the heart of Austin.”
Box from Sanger-Harris — Sanger-Harris were the first retailers in Texas, and also my family's store. Growing up I always enjoyed hearing stories about the Sanger Brothers.
Photo of my Grandmother — I keep this photo at my desk. I am beyond lucky to call this mischievous little lady my grandmother. Just the thought of her can brighten my day.
New York City Souvenir — I love New York. I feel like it is my second hometown as I was lucky enough to spend most of my twenties in that great city.
Paint Pallet — This pallet is a work of art to me. I hang it on the wall and enjoy it. I like decorating with unconventional items.
Gold Car Phone and Calculator Watch — Both are totally ridiculous, but I like keeping a few obsolete pieces of technology around. I love the irony of a car phone.
"Return to American Museum of Natural History" Movie Reel — I love museums. As a child I always wanted to bring a little piece of the museum home with me. This is my little way of fulfilling that childhood dream.
African Mask — I bought this at a market in South Africa, while I was studying abroad. It has been with me through several adventures.
Paper Mâche Horse — I really wanted a horse as a child, so my mom gave me this one for my birthday. I really appreciate her sense of humor.
Necklace — My sister, Andrea, makes jewelry (andreasangerdesign.com). Her pieces make a statement and remind me that she is way more creative than I am.
by Joanna Steblay
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