Important: To shorten your waiting time after submitting a nomination, we have recently instituted submission deadlines. Nominations are now processed four times a year. Please submit by 11:59pm CST on the following dates to be included in that quarter's review:
If you're mailing your nomination form: If we receive your application after any of the above dates, it will be held until the next quarterly deadline and processed then. The deadline is a "receive by" date, not a postmark deadline. If the deadline falls on a weekend, then we must receive the form by the last weekday prior to the deadline.
*Note: The online form is created using a platform that presents questions one at a time, more like a conversation that spurs reflection than traditional paperwork. It does not appear like a standard form, but rest assured you're in the right place!
Pictured at right: 2012 Texas Treasure Business Awardee Adams Extract & Spice Co., factory floor ca. 1928
Please read through the following criteria to determine if your business is eligible to receive this award. In rare cases, there are exceptions to the following requirements, so if you are unsure if your business is eligible, please contact us directly and we can advise.
1. The business has been in continuous operation for 50 or more years.
Any business that has operated without substantial interruption will qualify for the award. For example, if a business was closed while the owner was serving in the military, but it was reopened at the conclusion of that service, it will be considered continuous operation. But if the owner goes into a different line of work or leaves Texas to move that business to another state and then returns and reopens the original business, that will not be considered continuous operation. Businesses that change ownership and location may still qualify for the award.
2. The business is a for-profit business.
Nonprofit organizations contribute greatly to the quality of life in Texas, and we respect their efforts, however, this award is limited to for-profit businesses.
3. The business is an independent business.
For purposes of this program, any business that has its corporate offices in Texas or is owned by Texans and operated in Texas is considered an independent business, so long as the business is not a unit of a chain or franchise based outside the state. For example, a bank that has been absorbed into a national business is no longer an independent business and will not qualify for this award. However, national or international businesses based in Texas may qualify for this award at the corporate level.
We certainly value out-of-state business chains and franchises, but the nature of this award inherently prioritizes Texas-based independent business.
4. The business has continuously offered the same or similar services over its lifetime.
Over the course of many decades, businesses may shift their focus or adjust their services to suit a changing community. For example, some wagon businesses eventually turned to automobile production. Making cars and wagons is one example of a ‘similar’ type of service. But if a wagon manufacturing business stopped doing that and started issuing insurance policies, it would not qualify for this recognition.
5. Optional: Special Recognition for Family-Owned Businesses
A business may qualify for additional Family-Owned recognition if the business has been continuously owned by the same family for 50 years or longer. Ownership may pass through cousins or in-laws and still qualify for this recognition. In addition, relationship by blood, marriage, or adoption are all acceptable.
Connect: Get owner permission and recruit help if you need it.
Important: You do not need to be nominated for this award by an elected official. Anyone can nominate a business if they have explicit permission to do so on the business’ behalf. A business can even nominate itself.
If you're not the business owner, you must receive explicit permission from the owner to submit a nomination on their behalf. Also note that the nomination form includes questions that only someone familiar with the business’ history could answer, so you will likely have to work together with or interview the owner to complete the nomination form.
If you need assistance completing the nomination form, we strongly encourage you to reach out to us directly! We can put you in touch with our community partners who can assist you with the online form, help you locate archival documentation, or help plan your award ceremony. In fact, we’ve found that businesses that submit a nomination with the help of one of our THC partners such as a Main Street manager or member of your local County Historical Commission, are less likely to encounter issues with their nomination review.
Research: Locate records that verify the age of the business.
The most important part of your nomination form is the documentation that verifies the business is at least fifty years old. This documentation can be uploaded via the online form, or copies of the documentation can be included in the mailed or emailed application. Please do not mail original documents; we will not mail them back.
When verifying the age of a business, we rely on [copies of] original documents that are both dated and contain the current or former name of the business. It can be difficult to locate a document that proves when the business first opened, which is why we only require a document that proves the business is at least fifty years old. For example, if your business opened in 1953 but the earliest dated document you have is from 1958, this document would be accepted as proof of eligibility because it still proves the business has been open at least fifty years.
Common forms of proof include:
- Ledger pages
- Newspaper advertisements or articles
- Board meeting minutes
- Invoices or bills
- State licenses
- Flyers or brochures (dated)
- City directory listings
- Census records
- Tax records
- Real estate records/deeds
- Business charters
It is not necessary to provide an example of each document above. One or two documents that meet our criteria should be enough to prove that the business is eligible for this award.
Important: If you are applying for additional recognition of your business' building, we require that you provide photo documentation of the building as it stands today as well as how it appeared at least fifty years ago. An exterior shot of the building then and now is acceptable. For more information, revisit our criteria in the Eligibility section above.
Apply: Submit the nomination form online or via mail.
The hard part is done! Now all that’s left to do is provide us with some basic information about the business (location, owner, etc.) and answer a few optional questions that will help us share more of the story behind your business.
You can complete the nomination form three ways:
- Preferred: Submit the nomination form online. Any documentation or records can be easily uploaded into the form. Click here to access online form.
- Email the PDF nomination form and attach your required documentation and narrative questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Mail the PDF nomination form along with photocopies of your documentation to the following address:
Texas Historical Commission
Attn: Texas Treasure Business Award
P.O. Box 12276
Austin, Texas 78711
Do not include original records or photographs; we will not mail them back. This packet must be received by the nomination deadline.