Shops pop up downtown for holidays

City effort brings small businesses to vacant buildings


SAN ANTONIO – Twenty-one small retail shops are popping up downtown for the holidays as part of a city program to support new business and showcase the area's potential.

The program called Open is an initiative of the City of San Antonio in partnership with property owners. The small businesses were offered no-cost, short-term leases inside vacant storefronts along a stretch of East Houston Street and Travis Street.

"It allows companies or entrepreneurs to test out their retail concept to see if there is a market for their retail establishment in the downtown area," said Lori Houston, with the Center City Development and Operations Department heading up the program.

The pop up shops will be open from noon to 9 p.m. on Tuesdays and Saturdays through Dec. 30. The shops will rotate through four locations: the Book Building at 140 E. Houston St., the Schaum Building at 231 E. Houston St. and the Milam Building at 115 E. Travis St.

The shops peddle everything from popcorn and fudge, to jewelry and artwork.

For Sylvia Alcarez, owner of Cocina Heritage, it's a chance to market her tamales.

"We just want downtown San Antonio to be vibrant, and we want everybody to know about us as well," she said.

Alexis Quiroga owns Pawsitively Sweet Bakery which features all natural dog treats as well as handmade accessories. She typically sells her wares at events because she does not have a permanent storefront.

She participated in Open last year.

"I've just been able to reach out to a totally different market of downtown residents, and not only that, but the tourism here," she said.

Open is also collaborating with Café Commerce, the 80/20 Foundation and Centro San Antonio to showcase downtown as a place to do business.

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