Two new businesses will hold soft openings during Urban Nights downtown on Friday, Sept. 20, as part of the fifth phase of the Pop-Up Project, part of an initiative to fill downtown storefronts called Activated Spaces.
Spice Paradise is a retail spice store, specializing in spices and food from around the world. Products will include chutneys, pickles, chocolates and other pre-packaged food. The store also will feature easy-to-cook meals to go. Spice Paradise will be located in the Oregon District at 16 Brown St., formerly occupied by The Record Gallery and Amore.
Hicks’ Barber Shop is a traditional barber shop and shave parlor owned by James Hicks, aka “The Bearded Barber.” Hicks will specialize in a razor-fading technique and also sell his own signature beard oil. Hicks’ Barber Shop will be occupying the former Sew Dayton space at 16 Brown St., right next to Spice Paradise.
The opening of Spice Paradise and Hicks’ Barber Shop builds on the success of the Pop-Up Project’s first four phases. The project was launched in November 2011, and shops opened during subsequent phases in May 2012, September 2012 and May 2013. Two of the initial three businesses in the pilot still are thriving: Beaute Box, 116 W. Fifth St., and Peace on Fifth, 508 E. Fifth St.
Still going strong from the second, third and fourth phases of the project are: American π, at its new expanded location on 41 S. Saint Clair St.; Vintage Barber Shop, 110 W. Fifth St.; Sew Dayton, expanding to 261 Wayne Ave. with a target open date of Oct. 1; Green Baby, 31 S. Saint Clair St.; and All Pilates, 27 S. Saint Clair St.
The Pop-Up Project is driven by volunteers from the young professional organizations Generation Dayton and UpDayton with support from the Downtown Dayton Partnership and other community volunteers. The project is a strategic effort to fill vacant street-level space and spur interest in opening a business downtown that’s part of the Greater Downtown Dayton Plan, a strategic blueprint for the future of downtown.
Since the inception of the program in fall 2011, Activated Spaces’ Pop-Up Project has launched 11 shops (nine of which are still open), filled 11,326 square feet of previously vacant space and created 24 jobs.
“The Pop-Up Shops have helped enliven downtown while building on growing momentum for the center city,” said Tom Razauskas, who owns the building housing Beaute Box and Vintage Barbershop. “It has been refreshing to work with volunteers and business owners who really believe in downtown and are excited about its future.”
“Activated Spaces’ Pop-Up Project is working to add vibrancy to downtown through local retail businesses,” said Elise Huelskamp, Pop-Up Project volunteer chair. “We’re providing potential business owners the opportunity for shorter leases at below-market rates as a way for them to jumpstart their businesses in hopes it will convert into long-term success.”
“This project also supports local, creative entrepreneurs as they take a risk and test out their business concepts while bringing renewed life to downtown storefronts,” said Scott Murphy, immediate past chair of UpDayton and Activated Spaces volunteer. “Visitors who support these Pop-Up Shops will help spur a more permanent retail environment in our downtown ― the next step in downtown revitalization.”