Twenty-one new shops are popping up downtown along a stretch of Houston and Travis streets just in time for the holiday shopping season. The downtown pop up shops are part of the OPEN program, and available to the public from noon-9 p.m. on Tuesdays and Saturdays from Dec. 2-30.
“The OPEN program provides a unique retail experience that appeals to residents, workers and visitors alike,” said Lori Houston, director of San Antonio Center City Development & Operations Department. "After the success of last year, we are excited to collaborate with Café Commerce, the 80/20 Foundation and Centro San Antonio to show that downtown is a vibrant urban space ready for long-term investment.”
OPEN is an initiative of the Center City Development & Operations Department in partnership with Federal Realty, REATA, Milam Capital Partners LP, Red Star Property Management Inc. and Service Lloyds Insurance Company to offer local entrepreneurs and small businesses a no‐cost, short‐term lease for the 2014 holiday season. The OPEN program activates empty storefronts and allows business owners the opportunity to test the downtown San Antonio market.
“We are thrilled to support the OPEN program again this year by providing rent-free spaces during the holiday season,” said Scott Booth, property manager of Service Lloyds Insurance Co. "This helps potential retailers test the waters before committing to a lease in the downtown area.”
OPEN is designed to support the selected businesses through marketing efforts, events and more. In 2013, OPEN featured eight pop up shops. This year, 21 unique businesses will share and rotate four vacant storefronts.
Participating retailers and entrepreneurs:
AME, Pop Up Art Gallery; Annie’s Petite Treats, cake pop treats; Bonjour Biqui, handcrafted dresses; Brandy Rae Photography, photography and artwork; Café Commerce, one stop shop for entrepreneurs; CANVAS, art gallery featuring Revolucion Coffee & Juice; Chloe & Isabel, designer jewelry; Cocina Heritage, culinary treats; Deco Tease, vintage clothing and jewelry; Fudge Oh Fudge, fudge treats; Gonzalez Handmade, leather and reclaimed wood accessories; Joyarte Jewelry Couture, handcrafted artisan jewelry; MusicFair, live event production; Painted Pony, ladies jackets and accessories; PAWsitively Sweet Bakery, organic pet goods; Popped Culture, artisanal popcorn; Purse & Clutch, fair-trade handbags; Retrohaus, mid-century, industrial and up-cycled items; SA Made by Hand Mercado, artisanal gifts; STEMgear4girls, STEM exploration and accessories; Urban Style, San Antonio design t-shirts and hats.
· The Book Building (140 E. Houston Street, Suites 40 & 41)
· The Schaum Building (231 E. Houston Street)
· The Milam Building (115 E. Travis Street)
PAWsitively Sweet Bakery founder Alexis Quiroga credits the 2013 OPEN for helping expand her customer base by reaching downtown residents and tourists.
“I am sincerely thankful to the City of San Antonio for supporting local, small business by making the OPEN Program possible,” said Quiroga. “Their efforts have made a huge difference in my business growth and success.” PAWsitively Sweet Bakery will be back at this year’s OPEN at 231 E. Houston on Dec. 2 and 6.
OPEN will include a new and exciting partnership with Café Commerce, which administers the Downtown Retail Loan Fund. Café Commerce, in conjunction with OPEN, will pop up in an empty storefront on E. Houston Street to help raise awareness of this dedicated loan fund to participating business owners and entrepreneurs looking to launch a new retail business in downtown San Antonio.
Also new in 2014, dynamic collaborations with the Department for Culture & Creative Development’s X Marks the Art program, Mayor Ivy Taylor’s Light Up Downtown Holiday Contest, Downtown Tuesday and the Downtown Street Performer Pilot Program in partnership with Centro San Antonio.
For more information about OPEN, visit bit.ly/OPENpopupshops.
Free parking will be offered at city-operated lots, meters and garages on the popular Downtown Tuesday from 5 p.m.-2 a.m. For more information, visit www.downtowntuesday.com or www.sanantonio.gov/ccdo.