Activated Spaces, an initiative to fill downtown storefronts, is accepting applications for temporary retail and service businesses to open downtown as part of the second phase of its Pop-up Project. The project matches business owners and entrepreneurs who want to try out a business concept with downtown property owners who have first-floor storefront space available for occupancy.
Interested retailers should fill out an application, which can be downloaded at www.activatedspaces.org, and email it to Sherri Wierzba at [email protected]. The application deadline is 5 p.m. on Friday, March 9. Tenants will be selected March 30, and retailers must be ready to open by May 1.
Lease lengths will range from three to six months. The spaces will have varying lease rates, but will be leased below market value. Activated Spaces volunteers will connect retailers with commercial property owners, help make the space move-in ready, and promote the business during such events as First Friday and Urban Nights. Selected businesses will negotiate leasing terms directly with the selected property owner, but flexibility for the tenant is a priority.
Activated Spaces volunteers hope to build on the success of the Pop-Up Project’s pilot phase, when three businesses filled 2,300 square feet of space. Two of those businesses ― Beaute Box, 116 W. Fifth St., and Peace on Fifth, 519 E. Fifth St. ― are looking to convert their temporary leases into traditional long-term ones. Another business, Basho Screen Printing and Apparel, opened a second area location at 521-523 E. Fifth St. after being drawn to the space when it was occupied by Comfort & Joy, which offered holiday gifts, during the Pop-Up Project’s pilot.
Commercial property owners interested in offering space to interested retailers should contact Sherri Wierzba or Erin Gillespie at 937-224-1518. Participating property owners will be listed on the Activated Spaces website. Once a match is made, a limited amount of money is available to be distributed in $250 increments at the discretion of the Activated Spaces team for such purposes as offsetting utility costs, making cosmetic improvements to the space or other necessities for making the space operational.
• reactivate and beautify vacant storefronts with creative displays
• encourage entrepreneurs, artists and community groups to occupy space for short- and long- term uses
• showcase downtown properties and increase interest and investment in available space