SAN ANTONIO – The East Side business community is growing and a local non-profit is honoring several businesses leading the charge.

SAGE held its annual East Side Business Awards Thursday night. It was a semi-formal affair full of positive vibes.

It was also a night set aside to celebrate economic growth on the East Side.

“It will make an impression on our community for a long time,” said long-time business leader Charles Williams Sr.

San Antonio for Growth on the East Side or SAGE is hosting it’s 5th Annual East Side Business Awards.

Six individuals and organizations are being recognized for promoting job creation, economic revitalization and community partnerships.

Atlas Body Shop is one of them.

Richard Leal opened the collision repair shop on E. Carson Street back in 1971.

It’s no wonder why Atlas is recieving the Business Role Model Award.

“We’ve always believed in the East Side,” said Leal. “It’s been wonderful to us we’ve got very loyal customers on the East Side.”

Five others businesses are being honored.

Among them: Books and Bibs Daycare is receiving the Emerging Business Award.

The United Way of San Antonio and Bexar County got the Community Partnership Award.

Charles Williams Sr. has been an East Side business leader for 60-years.

He says the recognition of winners sends a positive message to aspiring entrepreneurs.

“Maybe young people can see this and say oh okay I can do that too all I need to do is use my imagination and be very diligent have patience and understand that your dream belongs to you,” Williams said.

Back at Atlas Richard Leal says he proud to represent the changing face of the east side.

“The East Side is up and coming,” Leal explained. “You’re going to see tremendous things happening on the East Side.”

SAGE is already looking for outstanding business leaders to honor next year.

Darian Trotter