TECH SA: Former San Antonio mayor transforming family print shop to coworking space

SAN ANTONIO – For former San Antonio Mayor Henry Cisneros, the building on 2201 Buena Vista Street on the West Side holds many memories.

“My grandfather, who immigrated from Mexico and was a printer in Mexico, followed his craft and created a print shop in San Antonio. He, through World War II, operated the print shop out of garage adjacent to his house,” Cisneros said. “In 1949, they build a very solid, big building to house what in the 1960s would become one of the largest print shops in San Antonio.”

The industry changed and business sharply declined, leading to the print shop’s closure in 2007.

“My grandfather passed away. His successor, my uncle, passed away. The building was left abandoned,” Cisneros said.

Cisneros wanted to keep his family legacy alive. He paid off the debt and back taxes.

The building is now getting a makeover, and it will be called “Launch Pad at The Shop” for entrepreneurs and startups.

Cisneros has teamed up with New Orleans company Launch Pad for his vision.

“We have a curriculum, you know, to help people get into business, and then we have -- through a foundation, we provide scholarships into the space, as well. And so, we try to provide access to it for members of the community to join Launch Pad that way,” Cisneros said.

Chris Schultz, with Launch Pad, said the coworking business has had a tremendous economic impact on New Orleans.

“We've now been operating in New Orleans for 10 years. Entrepreneurs working at Launch Pad have created 5,000 jobs and raised $160 million in venture capital,” Schultz said.

Like his grandfather, Cisneros is working to bring more opportunities to the West Side.

"That building was once about ambition and creativity. It can once again be a center for ambition and creativity for the new generation of entrepreneurs who want to go forward in San Antonio,” Cisneros said.

Data collected from Startups San Antonio shows there are more than 20 coworking spaces in San Antonio.

Cisneros hopes to open the coworking space by the end of the year.

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