As advocates for economic development in Austin, it’s tough to see iconic local businesses struggling with the city’s current growing pains — between sky-high land values, labor shortages due to our festering housing crisis, and a municipal permitting bureaucracy largely unchanged since the 1980s, it takes increasingly deep patience and pockets to keep the lights on. That’s why we’re thrilled to see our friends at local cultural nonprofit Preservation Austin kicking off Legacy Business Month, a new yearly event taking place every October that encourages locals to support a list of local businesses that have been in continuous operation under singular ownership for 20 years or more, and has contributed to the history and identity of the city.
This year’s inaugural event, starting on October 1 and continuing until the 30th, will release a special passport featuring 13 participating local businesses across the city. Participants who make a purchase at one of these businesses during the event will receive a stamp in their passport, with a closing party on October 30 at the Historic Victory Grill offering participants with the most stamps a chance to compete for prizes.
“Patronizing Austin’s legacy businesses is the most important thing our community can do to ensure their preservation,” says Lindsey Derrington, Preservation Austin’s Executive Director. “We want Austinites to come out in full force this October to support these incredible places, to tap into a heavy dose of old-school Austin and some serious city pride.”
Preservation Austin will host a 2023 Legacy Business Month kick-off party at Zilker Taproom on Thursday, October 5 from 6pm – 9pm, featuring a limited edition Legacy Business Month beer from Zilker Brewing Company, custom prints by GRZ Monsters, and music by Queer Vinyl Collective. Throughout the month of October, passport holders will visit participating legacy businesses, support them with a purchase, receive a stamp in their passport, and compete for prizes. Legacy Business Month will conclude with a wrap party at The Historic Victory Grill on Monday, October 30 from 7pm – 9pm where participants will be entered to win prizes for most stamps collected.
It’s an incredibly simple idea, but a pretty great incentive to check out a number of businesses you might never otherwise visit. The 13 spots on the list include some well-known stuff like the Driskill Hotel and BookPeople, but when was the last time you checked out the Herb Bar or Carousel Lounge? (If you’re a recent transplant, consider this program a simple way to earn “local credits.”) The free Legacy Business Passports are available starting on October 1 at BookPeople and the Zilker Brewing Company Taproom — you can check out the full list of participating businesses and event locations in the map below:
AUSTIN, TX (September 12, 2023) – Preservation Austin is thrilled to announce a major new program, Legacy Business Month, launching October 1. Legacy Business Month Passports will guide Austinites through our city’s iconic local businesses, encouraging them to celebrate and support the institutions that define so much of Austin’s culture. The inaugural Legacy Business Month Passport features 13 local businesses that have been in operation for 20+ years, including Peter Pan Mini-Golf, The Paramount Theatre, and Cisco’s (complete list of businesses below). Community members can pick up a free passport starting October 1 at BookPeople (603 N Lamar Blvd) and Zilker Taproom (1701 E 6th St).
Legacy businesses have made significant contributions to Austin’s cultural, economic, and historic landscape. The city’s explosive growth has made protections and support for legacy businesses more important than ever, which is why Preservation Austin adopted Legacy Businesses as an Advocacy Priority in 2022. In the last several years, so many beloved businesses have shuttered, with others expected to follow in the near future. Cities such as San Francisco and San Antonio have adopted ground-breaking legacy business programs to protect and support their cities’ identities. Following their example, Preservation Austin aims to identify, uplift, and generate support for new policies and tools to sustain legacy businesses citywide and ensure they remain vital cultural landmarks for generations to come.