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The Source: Bringing Retail Back Downtown For The Holidays

The city of San Antonio has seen an influx of retail outlets downtown in formerly vacant storefronts. 21 of the Pop Up Shops kicked off on December 2nd, giving vendors rent free space through the holidays. The goal is to take advantage of the increased holiday foot traffic downtown, including people touring the annual lights, while making the downtown more active with offerings. The shops are scheduled to last until December 30th. 

The shops are part of the city's Open initiative from the Center City Development & Operations office, and this is its second year. Last year the city approved 8 outlets to take up storefronts on Houston street. Back by popular demand, the city has expanded the outlet number by almost two thirds. The shops will take up residence this year in the Book and Schaum buildings on Houston Street and Milam building on Travis street.

We talk about the city's attempt to bring retail back downtown. What will it take to get shops back into these spaces?


  • Colleen Swain, assistant director of the Center City Development and Operations Department at the city of San Antonio
  • Peter French, executive director of Commerce Cafe
  • Kathy Bolden, Pop Up Shop vendor with her business Popped Culture
  • Priscilla Martinez, Pop Up Shop vendor with Joyarte Jewelry Couture 

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Paul Flahive can be reached at Paul@tpr.org