Austin entrepreneur buys Texas town, renames it "Bikinis"


by ANDREW CHUNG / KVUE News and photojournalist DEREK RASOR and Associated Press

Posted on July 20, 2012 at 10:31 AM

AUSTIN -- The Bikinis Sports Bar and Grill chain is a popular place to hang out in Austin. It's a place most known for its staff.

Now, the chain's owner, Doug Guller, is bringing the Bikinis experience to the Hill Country, but he's doing it in a most unconventional way.
Guller bought the Gillespie County town of Bankersmith located about six miles from Luckenbach and about 10 miles from Fredericksburg on Craigslist. He renamed it Bikinis, Texas. 
"We thought it'd be a great opportunity to put, establish sort of a headquarters for Bikinis and literally put it on the map," he said.

Since Bankersmith is an unincorporated town, Guller says he simply changed the name himself. The town was put up for sale on Craigslist; Guller promised he'd keep the seller's name and selling price a secret.

One note -- no one actually lives in Bikinis, Texas. The "town" consists of just a house and yard that was recently vacated. It spans two acres. Across from the house there's an old bus sitting in the yard. Guller plans to turn that bus into a bar.
Even though no one lives in Bikinis, Texas, people visiting nearby Luckenbach don't have a shortage of opinions on the name change.
"The locals around here, no matter what you change the name to, from 'Hooters' to 'Bikinis' to 'McDonald's', the locals are still going to call it 'Bankersmith, Texas,'" said Danny Terry, who lives near Luckenbach.
"I just don't see why they need to mess with history, and I don't think that Bikinis, Texas really goes along with the feel of the area, but that's just me," said Jen Riddlebarger, a teacher from Austin.
Patrick Quinlan doesn't care about the name change; he cares about the type of entertainment coming to Bikinis, Texas. "I really don't think it's appropriate for this area," he said.
Guller says he promises to preserve Bankersmith's heritage despite the name change.
"We want to make sure we kind of pay homage to Bankersmith and Temple Smith, who established Bankersmith in the 1900s," said Guller, who hopes to begin hosting events at his newly-purchased town next spring.

Guller hopes to host the first Bikinis, Texas event in the fall.