From a futuristic Japanese-themed shop to a custom cowboy boot-maker, we’ve rounded up the 24 coolest small businesses in Houston.
1-Fit Japanese Store
What it is: A Japanese-themed shop.
Why it’s cool: From toys to beauty products to food, everything at fit Japanese Store is, well, Japanese. You can’t find most of their goods at other stores in the U.S., and everything is well-organized by type, making it all easy to find.
What it is: An artsy clothing boutique.
Why it’s cool: Hello Lucky sells artist-designed clothing for men, women, and children, as well as accessories like jewelry, ties, and cufflinks. They also commission custom-designed pieces and work with other local businesses to host events in and out of the shop.
3-Big Daddy Z’s
What it is: A food truck blending Texan and island flavors.
Why it’s cool: Visiting Big Daddy Z’s is like going to a luau. They focus on slowing it down, making food to order, and using the combination of Texan and island cuisines to remind people to relax. Try the grilled pork shoulder or ribeye, and add grilled pineapple to anything on the menu.
Why it’s cool: Users of Kraftwurx can design, promote, showcase, sell, and buy 3D printed products all through the cloud. After users design their products—whether that’s jewelry, charms, or figurines—they can choose to manufacture and sell their designs through an online store.
What it is: A renegade coffeehouse.
Why it’s cool: Blacksmith is a coffeehouse with a rock star attitude. It pays homage to Queen, and has a photo of lead singer Freddie Mercury on the wall. Any time a Queen song plays in the shop, the first customer in line gets their drink for free. As they say, “When Queen plays, Freddie pays!”
What it is: A gift shop for anglophiles.
Why it’s cool: In addition to the biscuits, scone mixes, teas, and custards native to the U.K., British Isles also sells collectibles like ceramics in the shapes of famous British figures, British-made toiletries, and, of course all things “Keep Calm and Carry On.”
Why it’s cool: Domy Books is much more than just a book store. It also hosts art exhibits by contemporary artists, lectures, and other events that showcase literature, video, music, and media. Customers can find all the books and knick-knacks they could ever want in a cleanly arranged studio store.
What it is: An authentic Mexican bakery.
Why it’s cool: El Bolillo serves traditional Mexican breads and sweets including pan dulce (sweet bread) and tres leches cakes, but what makes it different from other Latin bakeries is the sheer number of tres leches varieties, including one made with a cream cheese frosting.
9-Joystix Classic Games
What it is: An old-school video game store.
Why it’s cool: Joystix carries classic arcade games like pinball machines, jukeboxes, air hockey, dart machines, and photo booths both to buy and to rent. People looking to add something unique to a party or hoping to play the games they enjoyed as a child can find them all at this shop and showroom in Downtown Houston.
What it is: Bath salts made just for men.
Why it’s cool: The concept behind Mansalt is that other bath salts on the market smell too flowery and feminine. Mansalt makes a masculine-smelling bath salt (think Old Spice for your bath) that’s perfect for improving skin and repairing sore muscles after a hard workout.