"I always say that people will find money for the three things they love in life: drugs, liquor and sex," said one woman. "So with that being said, I think people will actually extend their budget a little bit and put off paying that one bill and come here and get that stress relief that they can get from spending a couple hours with a lady."
The irony for Austin is that while the money is drying up, more women are applying for jobs. "And the age group is going older," she said. "I had a 72-year-old apply for a job."
She says the poor economy has forced her to lay off 30 percent of her staff, unheard of in a business generally regarded as a printing press for making money.
After settling in, the new girl Kimberly was given an all-important lesson in the art of negotiation from a woman who's been assigned as her "big sister."
"Could you spend a thousand on me?" Kimberly pretended to ask. "You look like you're worth it," her mentor replied, laughing.
Kimberly says that, despite the tough economy, she's optimistic. And Austin was unabashedly supportive of her girls and what they do. She says if there's anyone who can survive a steep economic downturn, it's the women who work at the brothel.
"Economy is hard, times are hard and when times are hard, women are stronger of the group, and will do anything necessary to make sure the children are taken care of and our husbands, if necessary," she said.
It's an economics lesson from women who know a thing or two about supply and demand.