- Courtesy of Feliz Modern
In case you hadn’t noticed, e-commerce giants have made it increasingly difficult for homegrown businesses to survive, let alone thrive — which is all the more reason to support local retailers with distinct points of view. While far from exhaustive, our selection aims to highlight independent outposts — some wildly popular, others under-appreciated — that, for the most part, are making it work outside of heavily trafficked stomping grounds like malls and Loopland shopping developments.
Putting a new spin on gift shopping in the internet age is no easy task — but Ginger and Mario Diaz’s Feliz Modern comes through with flying colors. True to its name, the Olmos Park emporium is an undeniably happy, modern place to visit, delivering a kid-in-a-candy-store vibe with more than 5,000 playfully merchandized items that run the gamut from unique greeting cards and quirky housewares to enamel pins and pet-centric gifts. With a keen focus on San Antonio artists and makers, Feliz Modern is also a go-to for artist-made prints along with T-shirts and stickers from local favorite including VeryThat and BarbacoApparel. 110 W. Olmos Dr., (210) 622-8364, felizmodern.com.
Fiesta on Main
Established in 1994 with a mission of supporting artisans from Mexico and across Latin America, Fiesta on Main is a local institution that specializes in helping San Antonio celebrate. Billed as a place where “Mexico is closer than you think and Fiesta never ends,” the Alamo City original is a no-brainer for party supplies — from glittery garlands and hot-pink cocktail napkins to handcrafted Fiesta flower crowns and piñata varieties you never even knew existed. Beyond those, it manufactures its own papel picado, confetti and cascarones and imports a wide array of traditional Mexican apparel and decor including talavera pottery, embroidered Puebla dresses and Día de los Muertos figurines. 2025 N. Main Ave., (210) 591-8144, alamofiesta.com.
Brick at Blue Star
With its arrival on the scene back in 2014, Brick carved out an adaptable space capable of hosting a wide assortment of events. Concerts, fashion shows, performances, parties and lectures aside, the warehouse-like venue is easily best known for its Sunday Arts Market, which unites a rotating assortment of homegrown vendors under one roof. On any given Sunday, from noon to 5 p.m., Brick gets taken over by the likes of The Mermaid Farm (vintage duds, accessories, books and records), Congrains Designs (fashion-forward attire designed by Colombian artist Gabriela Congrains), Denise Smith McCoy (ethnic jewelry from Tibet and beyond), Inunctus (all-natural skincare), Hart and Shape Vintage (retro clothing, accessories and tchotchkes) and Anthony Garcia — a musician, UPS driver and self-taught photographer who’s happy to snap your portrait for $20. A bar stocked with beer, wine and mimosas only sweetens the deal. 108 Blue Star, (210) 262-8653, brickatbluestar.com.
Contact Modern / Urban Goods
The strip of Hildebrand Avenue between Breeden and Beacon avenues is peppered with purveyors of antiques, vintage wares and straight-up junk. Standing out from the crowd, this complex at 610 West Hildebrand is essentially two stores in one, as it marries the like-minded tastes of Catherine Von Dohlen, who operates Contact Modern, and Debra Zeitung and Dawn Martinez, the team behind Urban Goods. While the well-preserved midcentury furniture and lighting fixtures typically don’t fall within the average budget, there’s still plenty in the realm of affordable home accents including 1960s-era curios, retro barware and smartly priced vintage vinyl. 610 W. Hildebrand Ave., (210) 885-7798, contactmodern.com.
A retail extension of D’Ette Cole’s successful interior design business, Good Goods brought fresh energy to Dignowity Hill for four years before relocating to its current home — a retro-fabulous Austin Highway outpost originally inhabited by the storied Whatnot Shop. Decorated in a way that showcases Cole’s unique way of repurposing salvaged items and vintage finds, the creatively merchandised store is an evolving treasure trove of approachably priced items such as printed Indian wrap dresses ($65), butterfly-winged tunics ($45) and signature Good Goods T-shirts printed with Waxahachie-based folk artist Bruce Lee Webb’s take on the cultural roots of San Antonio ($28). 1055 Austin Highway, (210) 606-7334, goodgoodstx.com.
- Courtesy of Karolina’s Antiques
Even though it’s named in honor of a beloved abuelita, Karolina’s Antiques is anything but a granny’s attic stacked with dusty relics. Instead, the family-run operation brings together a colorful assortment of treasures old and new — from vintage duds and costume jewelry galore to Frida Kahlo-inspired accessories and quirky T-shirts and stickers from the distinctly San Antonio brand BarbacoApparel. 1709 Blanco Road, (210) 731-9787, karolinasantiques.com.
Milo Baughman, Finn Juhl, Hans Wegner and other icons of Midcentury Modernism are alive and well at Mod Pad, a trusted source for the timeless furnishings immortalized in films ranging from North by Northwest to The Big Lebowski, not to mention the cultish series Mad Men. Neatly organized in vignettes seemingly frozen in time, the two-story shop goes beyond designer sofas and chairs with its constantly evolving selection of lighting, art and home decor. 2615 Broadway St., (210) 831-4869, modpadmodern.com.
Moss Designer Consignment
A 1,700-square-foot offshoot of Masha Poloskova’s Austin mainstay that invites fashionistas to “shop over 3,000 closets under one roof,” Moss specializes in gently used designer womenswear and accessories from such high-end brands as Prada, Givenchy, Gucci, Dior, Dolce & Gabbana, Balmain, Louis Vuitton, Tom Ford and many more. 5013 Broadway St., (210) 468-5565, mossconsignment.com.
Laredo native David Garcia made a name for himself in San Antonio with his award-winning floral design company Statue of Design only to expand his scope with No. 9, a boutique operation that puts a chic, alternative spin on the outmoded flower shops of yesteryear. Built around an unpretentious format that invites shoppers to select a unique vase — including artist-made styles commissioned by the shop — to be filled with a seasonal bouquet, No. 9 spins truly unusual magic. And at affordable prices starting at $50. What’s more, it offers a unique assortment of clever cards, artsy books, locally made candies and craft sodas, not to mention one of the city’s best chocolate counters — which old-schoolers may recognize as a vestige of bygone Monte Vista landmark On Main Off Main. 1701 Blanco Road, (210) 232-4471, no9floralandgifts.com.
With 8,000 square feet to explore, Period Modern makes for a fascinating browse, even if vintage furniture isn’t your thing. Filled with and Midcentury and Danish modern treasures spanning from the ’50s to the ’70s — from Eames and Knoll chairs to locally designed Beaumont Mood pendant lights — the retro goldmine occasionally transforms into one of the city’s most unusual music venues. Stay tuned to their Facebook page for upcoming events. 4347 McCullough Ave., (210) 902-1217, periodmodern.com.
The Shops at Broadway News
Surrounding a former adult bookstore, Broadway News serves up one of the city’s hippest retail environments. Anchored by Mexico City native Mario Guajardo’s distinctly American clothing company Richter Goods and reinforced by an assortment of mobile vendors stationed in the parking lot, the compound might be the only place in town where you can get a caffeine fix (Mila Coffee), a haircut and beard trim with a complimentary beer or whiskey in an Airstream (Traveler Barber Shop), locally produced leather wares (Bexar Goods Co.), vintage apparel (via Grey Moon or the Red Cat), Instagram-ready houseplants (Tillage) and snacks ranging from tacos to churros. 2202 Broadway St.
Papa Jim’s Botánica
Loosely framed as a “new-age store, religious supply and old-time occult shop,” Papa Jim’s takes the concept of the quaint botánica to supermarket proportions with aisles filled with potions, herbs, talismans, spell kits, incense, tarot cards, figurines, instructional books, voodoo dolls and candles promising to “stop gossip,” “bring gay love” and plenty in between. A longtime South Side landmark, the enigmatic emporium caters to followers of myriad belief systems — Buddha and La Santa Muerte coexist on neighboring shelves. It even crafts a line of oils alleged to contain the blood of doves, dragons, bats and black cats. Other tinctures promise to bestow the power to command your man, “fix” your boss and even “raise the dead.” Conveniently, there’s also a handy spell-breaker oil ($1.99 for a half-ounce bottle). 5630 S. Flores St., (210) 922-6665, papajimsbotanica.com.
- Courtesy of Papa Jim’s Botánica
San Angel Folk Art
For the curious browser, a visit to Hank Lee’s San Angel Folk Art can be as much of a learning experience as a shopping excursion. Opened in the Blue Star Arts Complex back in 1989, the eclectic gallery and shop lives up to its namesake Mexico City suburb with Mexican folk art and handicrafts but distinguishes itself with an intriguing array of work created by outsider and self-taught artists from across the U.S., Latin America, Europe and Africa. Take the time to slow down and read the stories of these masters of the craft, though. They’ll give you a deeper understanding of the work you’re seeing — much of which is produced in conjunction with San Angel’s subsidy program. And no visit to the shop is complete without a spin through the rack of guayaberas Lee has custom made in Mexico from truly one-of-a-kind fabrics. 110 Blue Star, (210) 226-6688, sanangelfolkart.com.