You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.


  • ePAPER

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and bonus content- exclusively for subscribers. Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks


Welcome to

This subscriber-only site gives you exclusive access to breaking news, in-depth coverage, exclusive interactives and bonus content.

You can read free articles of your choice a month that are only available on

Downtown Dayton’s business ‘pop-up’ program bears fruit

The founder of Spice Paradise specialty foods and cooking shop at 8 Brown St. in Dayton’s Oregon District says her business got just the boost it needed in 2013 from a special initiative designed to fill vacant downtown Dayton storefronts.

“It gave us a great step up as far as finding a location and offering a lot of exposure at the start,” Spice Paradise owner Ulrike Massey said of the Activated Spaces Pop-Up project. “And it helped us avoid the most common pitfalls that start-up businesses face.”

The Pop-Up project matches prospective business owners with downtown property owners who have first-floor storefront space available for occupancy for temporary retail, service, and office businesses. The project is part of the Greater Downtown Dayton plan and is affiliated with or supported by several entities and groups, including the Downtown Dayton Partnership; the Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce’s Generation Dayton; UpDayton; the City of Dayton; the city’s Neighborhood Mini-Grant program; and by community volunteers.

Of the 16 businesses that have been launched through the pop-up program since its inception in 2011, 11 are still operating — and some of those businesses have moved to larger spaces or have added new locations.

“This has had a huge impact on the downtown,” said Sandy Gudorf, president of the Downtown Dayton Partnership. “These 60- or 90-day leases have turned into long-term businesses.” And they’ve added all-important activity to the first-floor storefronts that are the first things that visitors, residents and workers notice when walking downtown, Gudorf said.

Stephanie Precht, director of public policy and economic development for the Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce, said the Activated Space project “is changing the landscape of Downtown Dayton and providing the opportunity for new business owners and entrepreneurs to grow and thrive in our city.”

The initiative “has had a noticeable impact on the vibrancy of downtown,” Precht said.

Here’s how the program works: entrepreneurs apply to open a shop, and if accepted, they are hooked up with commercial property owners that have expressed interest in offering retail space to Pop-Up shop owners. Lease lengths range from three to six months, and lease rates vary, but the amount of rent will be below market value.

Volunteers in the program help make the space move-in ready, and also help promote the business.

Once a landlord-tenant match is made, business owners become eligible for a stipend for the first three months to help offset start-up costs. After the temporary lease period is complete, the business owners can negotiate lease extensions. Some have moved and/or expanded.

Brendan O’Brien — founder of another Activated Spaces “alumni” business, Vintage Barbershop at 110 W. Fifth St. — now has five barbers in addition to himself taking care of customers at the Dayton location he launched in May 2012. And now, he’s a couple of weeks away from opening a second location, Aviators Barbershop, at 17 Perry St. in Vandalia, where he has hired two additional barbers.

Utilizing the pop-up shop program “was definitely a great move for me,” O’Brien said. “It helps to have some time to establish yourself.”

O’Brien said he sought and benefited from advice from the founders of Beaute Box, a neighbor of his shop on West Fifth Street that was among the pilot pop-up businesses in November 2011. And he, in turn, helped a fellow barber, James Hicks, when Hicks opened Hicks’ Barber Shop at 16 Brown St. in September 2013.

“We’ve got a good little network,” O’Brien said.

In 2013, the International Downtown Association singled out the Activated Spaces Pop-Up Program as the top economic and business development project, giving it one of 12 “Pinnacle” awards awarded in North America.

Jen Cadieux, business development manager for the Downtown Dayton Partnership, said a free workshop on the pop-up shop project application and on starting or expanding a small business will be held from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Wednesday, March 4 in the Entrepreneurs Center at 714 E. Monument Ave., Dayton. Those attending should RSVP to Cadieux at

Interested retailers or office space seekers can download an application at, and email it to The application deadline is 5 p.m. March 13. Tenants will be selected the week of March 30, and retailers must be ready to open no later than the end of May.

Those interested in volunteering with Activated Spaces should e-mail

For more information, go to

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in Business

Snapchat introduces location-sharing with Snap Map
Snapchat introduces location-sharing with Snap Map

Snapchat is introducing a new way to locate your friends with the Snap Map.  The social media platform announced the news this week, revealing that the location-sharing feature will allow friends to find each other or anyone in the world using its map.  “We've built a whole new way to explore the world! See what's happening, find your...
Dayton businesswoman lands on national radio show
Dayton businesswoman lands on national radio show

A Dayton business woman was spotlighted Friday on a nationally syndicated radio show.  Shawon Brown-Gullette, the owner of Dayton Trichology Hair Loss Control Center and Infinitee Salon & Spa, appeared on the Tom Joyner Morning Show to talk about her involvement with Pantene Gold Series. Tom Joyner airs weekday mornings on 92.1 WROU...
Miami Twp. real estate firm buys $65M Denver complex
Miami Twp. real estate firm buys $65M Denver complex

The Connor Group, a Miami Twp. real estate investment firm, has expanded into the Denver area. The company has acquired for $65 million the upscale apartment complex Broadstone Gardens at Cherry Creek. Broadstone Gardens at Cherry Creek was built in 2014 in the Cherry Creek subdivision. The apartments offer nearby locations such as the Cherry Creek...
Dayton Air Show has Plan B if grassy lots turn muddy for motorists
Dayton Air Show has Plan B if grassy lots turn muddy for motorists

Record rainfall on Friday is forcing coordinators of the Vectren Dayton Air Show at the Dayton International Airport to direct people Saturday to alternative and paved parking sites. Two years ago, monsoon-like heavy rains pummeled the first day of the air show, causing many vehicles to become mired in muddy, grassy parking spots near the airport....
JOB ALERT: Kroger to hire for 800 open positions at all locations
JOB ALERT: Kroger to hire for 800 open positions at all locations

Cincinnati-headquartered Kroger is hiring for 800 open positions at all Kroger locations. The grocery retailer is looking for new employees during a hiring event on Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at all Kroger stores. Positions are open in the following departments: deli, bakery, meat and seafood, Starbucks, grocery and ClickList. Interested applicants...
More Stories