‘Changes have to happen’: Small businesses call for support as more continue to shut down across San Antonio

After seven years, Sangria on the Burg is closing on Sunday

SAN ANTONIO – Owner Ceasar Zepeda said he had almost a full house for his final dinner rush at Sangria on the Burg. After seven years, the restaurant is closing its doors on Sunday night.

“A lot of them wanted to come today specifically, on the last day,” Zepeda said. “To be here from the beginning to the end.”

Zepeda said the rising cost of supplies and declining sales are the reasons for closing the restaurant. Sangria is just one of the dozens of businesses that had their final shift in 2023.

“It’s very emotional,” Zepeda said. “There has to be an end. We’re not getting busier. A lot of our medium-range restaurants are closing down.”

The Greater San Antonio Chamber said inflation is partly to blame for businesses shutting down in the city this past year.

“It’s been one of those mixed years in many ways. There have been so many challenges with inflation,” Jeff Webster, the CEO and president of the Greater San Antonio Chamber said.

With the holiday season wrapping up, Webster said San Antonio residents need to keep the shopping small mindset at the forefront.

“It doesn’t end,” Webster said. “They don’t shut their doors December 30th and wait till next November or December. We’ve got to keep supporting these guys.”

That’s why Webster said the chamber is working with the city of San Antonio to help drive more business back to small and medium-sized shops.

“We’re going to have a real laser focus on that this year and trying to make sure we’re supporting the workforce here,” Webster said.

That doesn’t change the decision Zepeda made for Sangria. But even as doors close, he’s hopeful.

“No one wants to close up the restaurant. But I think for most people, it’s even worse to keep putting money into something that might never make money,” Zepeda said. “We’re pivoting to a new concept, and we’re excited about it.”

Zepeda said he’s looking to reimagine the restaurant in a new way in 2024. He didn’t have details but said he’s hoping to announce more soon.

About the Authors

Avery Everett is a news reporter and multimedia journalist at KSAT 12 News. Avery is a Philadelphia native. If she’s not at the station, she’s either on a hiking or biking trail. A lover of charcuterie boards and chocolate chip cookies, Avery’s also looking forward to eating her way through San Antonio, one taco shop at a time!

Gavin Nesbitt is a photojournalist and video editor who joined KSAT in September 2021. He has traveled across the great state of Texas to film, conduct interviews and edit many major news stories, including the White Settlement church shooting, Hurricane Hanna, 2020 presidential campaigns, Texas border coverage and the Spurs.

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