Nonprofit props up small businesses in downtown San Antonio with pop-up shops

Centro San Antonio wants to help small businesses get storefronts for free

SAN ANTONIO – Centro San Antonio is a local nonprofit dedicated to creating a beautiful, welcoming and safe downtown.

The organization is looking to help local small businesses get their own storefronts -- free of charge -- in an effort to bring more people and more investment into the downtown area.

“We make everything from facial care products, hair care, lip care and body care product. And now that I have more space here in my store, I’ve actually decided to bring in more accessories, clothing and things like that,” said Mariam Bah, owner of Pure Aloha Bath and Beauty and an alumni of the Holidays on Houston Street pop-up shop.

My experience last November and December doing the Houston Street pop shops was actually amazing because it led to me having finally having my own store,” Bah said.

It’s no secret that starting, owning and operating a small business can be challenging, but Bah said the pop-up program made her store possible.

I think the program gave me the boost that I needed. You know, it feels like your community is here saying, ‘We need you here. We want what you have. You are a vital part of the community,’” Bah said.

The Holidays on Houston Street pop-up shop connects aspiring retailers to a no-cost retail space located in the heart of downtown. These small businesses get a storefront from early November to the end of December.

It’s critical to the ecosystem regarding small businesses in downtown. We had huge success with Holidays on Houston Street last year, and hard to think about when the temperatures are 100 degrees, but $50,000 in revenue,said Trish DeBerry, President and CEO of Centro San Antonio.

The pop-up shops not only helps small businesses that can take the next step, but it can also help downtown.

It’s a step forward towards the mission of living, working, and playing downtown.

There is new excitement associated with downtown. It’s palpable. You can feel it. We talk about stadiums and that opportunity and what that means to downtown,” DeBerry said.

As for Bah, she has advice for anyone looking to take the next step.

It’s crucial to work with other small businesses. We are a community. We have to support each other in order to succeed,” she said.

If you own a small business and interested in applying for a pop-up store, click here for more information.

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About the Authors:

Max Massey is the GMSA weekend anchor and a general assignments reporter. Max has been live at some of the biggest national stories out of Texas in recent years, including the Sutherland Springs shooting, Hurricane Harvey and the manhunt for the Austin bomber. Outside of work, Max follows politics and sports, especially Penn State, his alma mater.

William Caldera has been at KSAT since 2003. He covers a wide range of stories including breaking news, weather, general assignments and sports.