A new business will open downtown on Friday, Sept. 7, as part of the third phase of the Pop-Up Project, part of an initiative to fill downtown storefronts called Activated Spaces. Sew Dayton, owned by two seamstresses, will offer fabric and patterns, custom party dresses, bags, and a variety of accessories, as well as offer classes.
Sew Dayton will pop up for an initial six months at 16 Brown St. in the Oregon District. The store will be open Tuesdays through Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Hours will be extended to 9 p.m. during First Fridays and Urban Nights. The store’s number is 937-234-7938.
Sew Dayton is a collaboration between two existing businesses, Dresses by Tracy McElfresh and JKessel Design. McElfresh is a third-generation seamstress. Her business partner, Jesy Anderson, began sewing three years ago and has not stopped. Together, the pair is excited to bring their love for fabric to a downtown storefront as they continue to offer their custom-designed products and as they teach the art of sewing to others.
Sew Dayton also has a Kickstarter fundraising webpage, and its $5,000 goal has been met through pledges by more than 70 backers. In return for their pledge, these backers will receive anything from handmade zipper pouches or headbands to private sewing lessons, depending on their level of investment.
The opening of Sew Dayton builds on the success of the Pop-Up Project’s first two phases, launched in November 2011 and May 2012. Two of the initial three businesses in the pilot are approaching their one-year anniversary: Beaute Box, 116 W. Fifth St., and Peace on Fifth, 519 E. Fifth St. All three shops from the second phase remain open for business and include: American π, 37 S. St. Clair St., Arin, 27 S. St. Clair St. and Vintage Barbershop, 110 W. Fifth St.
Two more Pop-Up Shops will open as part of the third phase of the project. They will be announced soon and are anticipated to open this fall.
Activated Spaces’ Pop-Up Project, which helped fill 5,730 square feet of retail space during its first two phases, is led by volunteers from the young professional organizations Generation Dayton and updayton. 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.
“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.”
“The Pop-Up Project provides a low-risk, low-cost, flexible way to showcase local businesses while adding vibrancy to downtown,” said Shanon Potts, a past chair of Generation Dayton and Activated Spaces volunteer. “The long-term goal of the project is to convert temporary leases into traditional leases, while establishing downtown as a regional destination for shopping for one-of-a-kind items and retail services.”
“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 to spur a more permanent retail environment in our downtown ― the next step in downtown revitalization.”