Step by step

Apply to join the Legacy Business Registry

Long-standing small businesses can join the Registry for recognition, marketing and business help, and grants.

Our staff can connect you with multi-lingual advisors to help you at any step of the application process. Translation services are available. Email or call 415-554-6680 for more information.


Check if you are eligible to apply

Your business must have:

  • Operated in San Francisco for 30 years or more
  • Had no break in SF operations for more than 2 years
  • Contributed to San Francisco’s history or identity

Your business must also be committed to keeping its history alive. For example, maintaining your core business model.

For exact eligibility requirements, see San Francisco Administrative Code Section 2A.242(b).

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Contact your supervisor

Your business needs to have a nomination from a member of the Board of Supervisors or the mayor to be a Legacy Business (see step 5). 

You can submit the letter later, but you should check with a supervisor or the mayor before you apply, since it is a required part of a complete application.

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Fill out the application


A few days

Download the application PDF.

We will ask you for:

  • Your business information
  • Location(s) and ownership history

AND a written narrative about your business. Download the narrative template and answer the questions. We will offer suggested edits; your first draft doesn't need to be perfect! 

Email the completed application (.pdf) and narrative (.doc) to

You may also mail or drop it off in person:
Legacy Business Program
City Hall, Room 140
1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place
San Francisco, CA 94102

After you apply, we will confirm that we received it. We will then review your application and suggest edits. You will be working closely with the program manager for the rest of the process.

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Check the status of your application

Optional step

You can check the status of your Legacy Business Registry application.

We are currently prioritizing applications from businesses located in Bayview, Excelsior, Inner and Outer Sunset, Portola, Visitation Valley, and other neighborhoods where we don't have as many registered Legacy Businesses. We will review all other applications in the order that we get them.

We will contact you by email when we begin reviewing your application materials.

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Get nomination letter


A few weeks
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Complete your application

We will help you to format and complete your entire application. We may ask you for a few additional items, such as photos or historical documents.

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Attend commission hearings

Optional step


1.5 months

We will submit your entire application to the Historic Preservation Commission. At the hearing, they will make a recommendation to the Small Business Commission. 

At a separate hearing, usually a few weeks later, the Small Business Commission will decide if your business qualifies for the Registry.

At both hearings, you can attend and speak for 2 to 3 minutes during the Public Comment period.

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Once you're on the Registry

People will be able to find your business by name, type, or neighborhood on the Registry website.

You will also be able to get special marketing help, business assistance, and grants. We will share opportunities with you as they arise and you can find more at under "Resources for Legacy Businesses."

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Last updated September 27, 2023