Our Legacies: Downtown Business

Taco Haven / Centro San Antonio

Downtown San Antonio is home to 60+ businesses that have been contributing to the cultural richness and diversity of the city for at least 20 years. This may not seem like much until you consider that the average small business only lasts 8 ½ years.1 Opening a small business with employees is an enormous gamble with only two out of three lasting two years, and only half still in business at five years.2 Yet, there are 30.7 million small businesses in the U.S. making up 99.9% of all businesses in the country. Additionally, these small businesses employ 59.9 million people, or 47.3% of the population.

San Antonio’s longtime downtown businesses range from 20 to over 150 years old. They represent a fascinating local history of individuals and families, many of them immigrants, trying to make a living and succeeding far beyond their initial expectations. Some have stayed in one location while others have expanded around the city, state or country or been purchased by larger entities. Many have passed their businesses down to multiple generations. All help make San Antonio a culturally rich, diverse and exciting city in which to live and work. We have included their websites in the list below for the many interesting stories they contain. We hope you will patronize and support these businesses that have served us for so long.

Alamo Records / Centro San Antonio

Centro San Antonio has partnered with the City Office of Historic Preservation (OHP) to recognize legacy businesses and their contributions to local culture and the stability of the downtown economic ecosystem. According to OHP, “The San Antonio Legacy Business program pays tribute to legendary businesses located in the City of San Antonio. The purpose of the program is to acknowledge the contributions businesses have made to the city’s culture and economy. The program aims to champion the continued success of legacy businesses through promotional and educational support.” Centro San Antonio is pleased to be a part of the promotion of these venerable enterprises.

Paris Hatters / Centro San Antonio

The Small Business Chronicle notes that locally based enterprises help “…create webs of financial interdependence that foster broad-based prosperity.” Not only do small businesses generate more local jobs, “…but when you spend money at a privately owned local store, that money goes to pay a worker in your neighborhood, who, in turn, is likely to spend money at another neighborhood business…” They go on to say that “This mutual support is also useful during hard times. If a local business is struggling, community members can bond together to help the struggling business get back on its feet…”

Schilo’s Delicatessen / Centro San Antonio

Additionally, businesses that have significantly surpassed the average age of a small venture have developed staying power that creates community stability through hard times. Older businesses have learned to weather difficulties whatever they may be. They have evolved to be flexible and/or have resources set aside for the unexpected such as the business closures that accompanied the pandemic.

Alamo Antique Mall / Centro San Antonio

The downtown businesses listed below are either already recognized as Legacy Businesses by OHP or have been identified by Centro staff as having been in operation at least twenty years. One by one, Centro is reaching out to see if the businesses would like assistance in completing the nomination form and historical narrative required to apply for Legacy status.

Blanco Café / Centro San Antonio

If you own or know of any downtown businesses that should be added, please let us know. If your business is listed below but not on the Legacy website, Centro can help complete the forms. Centro contact: mainstreet@centrosa.org.

Hotels, Theaters, Venues

Restaurants, Bars & Cafes

Supply & Wholesale

Retail & Galleries

Professional Services & Repair

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Centro San Antonio

We are a placemaking organization whose purpose is to create a more beautiful, playful, welcoming, and prosperous Downtown.