Living happily in Austin requires a certain personality type. You can’t be the sort of person who wants everything to be one way. ATX is filled with hundreds of thousands of amazing, colorful folks, many of whom believe and eat and dress and compile their iTunes libraries differently, so to enjoy living here, you have to be able to respect other viewpoints and try new things. The longer you live here, that blur of color and sound begins to run together, and it’s easy to lose the sense of adventure that draws so many people to Austin. But no longer! Meet Austin Passbook, your new adventure-accountability buddy.
Co-founded by serial entrepreneur Dylan Benjamin, one of the brains behind Mr. Delivery.com, and social media guru Lee Ann Benjamin, master wordsmith of the popular Life In ATX blog, Austin Passbook is a native start-up with a vision for encouraging and equipping Austinites to explore the city they love without breaking the bank.
Here’s how it works: buy a $20 Austin Passbook online or in person at any of these local businesses to receive a book of 2-for-1 coupons to more than 40 local eateries and activity venues. When you’re up for a new adventure, grab a friend and your Passbook and get your book “stamped” at one of the listed businesses.
“We’ve scoured Austin to find some of the best known social activities and some of the hidden gems,” Dylan said in an interview with Austin.com. “We looked at what people do socially with friends and wanted to put together a book of coupons that offers the best of each. The fact that each business is offering a 2-for-1 makes it even better. For only $20, you can make your money back in a single weekend!”
The 2015 Summer Edition, which went live on June 1, will provide Passbook holders with $600 in savings at the following destinations through October 1:
40 North | ATX Boudain Hut | Austin City Lemons | Bananarchy | Big Fat Greek Gyros | Bistro Vonish | Boteco ATX | Burro Cheese Kitchen | Churro Co. | Cow Tipping Creamery | Dock and Roll Diner | Fishey Bizness Seafood Co. | Fried and True | Gibronis | Gourdough’s | Gravy ATX | Juice Austin | Little Lucy’s | Ms. P’s Electric Cock | Regal Ravioli | Rollin Smoke BBQ | Shhmaltz | Super Burrito | Svante’s Stuffed Burgers | T-Loc’s Sonora Hot Dogs | The Celia Jacobs Cheesecake Experience | The Triplewide | Uncle Bob’s Smokehouse
AO Tours | Austin Bike Tours and Rentals | Austin Sailboat Rentals | Austin Zoo | Blue Starlite Urban Drive-In | Capital Cruises | City Surf Fitness | Congress Avenue Kayaks | Fortitude Fitness | Pinballz Arcade | PubCrawler | Quest ATX | Ro Fitness | Texas State Tubes
Taking a closer look at the array of companies included in the Summer Edition, a distinct pattern emerges: Austin Passbook is clearly passionate about supporting local businesses — especially smaller, lesser-known ones.
“We want to help them succeed,” said Benjamin. “They’re what makes Austin great and many don’t have the budget to get the exposure they deserve. Many food trucks, for instance, don’t have large marketing budgets and rely on word of mouth to spread about their great food… By participating in the Austin Passbook, we’re hoping to help them jump start that process by incentivizing people to come by and try their food or activity.”
Austin Passbook applies a similar mentality to local charities and non-profits. They donate 5% from every Passbook sold to the Health Alliance for Austin Musicians in an effort to keep Austin musical. Additionally, the company also periodically gifts actual Passbooks to philanthropic organizations so that their volunteers and workers can “get out and enjoy the city they’re helping.”
All story photos: Rebecca L. Bennett, Brave Bird Photography