neon signage of the Roxy Theater
Credit: Roxie Theater

Legacy Business Registry

The Legacy Business Registry works to save longstanding, community-serving businesses that so often serve as valuable cultural assets. The City intends that the Registry be a tool for providing educational and promotional assistance to Legacy Businesses to encourage their continued viability and success.

A "Legacy Business" is defined as a business that has been nominated by a member of the Board of Supervisors or the Mayor and that the Small Business Commission has determined meets the following criteria:

  • The business has operated in San Francisco for 30 or more years, with no break in San Francisco operations exceeding two years. The business may have operated in more than one location. If the business has operated in San Francisco for more than 20 years but less than 30 years it may still satisfy this subsection (b)(1) if the Small Business Commission finds that the business has significantly contributed to the history or identity of a particular neighborhood or community and, if not included in the Registry, the business would face a significant risk of displacement.
  • The business has contributed to the neighborhood's history and/or the identity of a particular neighborhood or community. Prior to the hearing, the Small Business Commission, or the Executive Director of the Office of Small Business on its behalf, shall request an advisory recommendation from the Historic Preservation Commission as to whether the business meets the requirement in this subsection (b)(2). If the Historic Preservation Commission does not provide an advisory recommendation within 30 days of receipt of the request, the Small Business Commission shall treat such nonresponse as an advisory recommendation that the business meets the requirement in this subsection (b)(2).
  • The business is committed to maintaining the physical features or traditions that define the business, including craft, culinary, or art forms.

In March 2015, the Board of Supervisors approved Ordinance No. 29-15 amending the Administrative Code to direct the Small Business Commission to establish a Legacy Business Registry.

In November 2015, voters approved Local Measure J, establishing the Legacy Business Historic Preservation Fund. Measure J also expanded the definition of a Legacy Business to include those that have operated in San Francisco for more than 20 years, are at risk of displacement, and meet all other requirements of the Registry.