breaking news

Trump intends to declare NKorea a state sponsor of terror

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 cadieux@downtowndayton.org.

Interested retailers or office space seekers can download an application at www.activatedspaces.org, and email it to cadieux@downtowndayton.org. 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 updayton@gmail.com.

For more information, go to activatedspaces.org.



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Business

STEM is where the jobs are
STEM is where the jobs are

STEM is and will be where the jobs are, according to a government assessment. The good news in the Dayton area is that educators are producing students ready for STEM fields, with steady growth in undergraduate STEM degrees in the past few years. The U.S. had nearly 8.6 million science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) jobs in 2015; and from...
Holiday spending to increase in Ohio, region
Holiday spending to increase in Ohio, region

Holiday spending in Ohio is expected to grow 2 percent this year compared to 2016, bringing in an estimated $24.1 billion statewide — and people in the Dayton region are expected to spend more than last year. The Ohio Council of Retail Merchants and the University of Cincinnati Economics Center found the state is likely to see a 9 percent increase...
What will Thanksgiving dinner cost you? Less than last year
What will Thanksgiving dinner cost you? Less than last year

Thanksgiving hosts can buy that extra pumpkin pie for their party this year. The average cost of Thanksgiving meal will be the lowest it’s been in five years, according the American Farm Bureau Federation’s annual price survey. The survey found the average cost of a dinner for 10 people is $49.12, a 75-cent decrease from last year&rsquo...
FOOD DEAL: How to score FREE food from Piada this week
FOOD DEAL: How to score FREE food from Piada this week

Thank the food gods, because there’s a deal you can’t pass up.  Piada Italian Street Food, which has several locations in the Miami Valley region, is offering a special BOGO deal.  Here’s how it works: follow Piada on Instagram. Show the Piada cashier you follow them on Instagram, and you’ll score a buy one, get one...
Honda recalls 800,000 mini-vans
Honda recalls 800,000 mini-vans

Honda said Saturday it’s recalling some 800,000 Honda Odyssey mini-vans because of an issue with seat latches that can tip the seats forward if they’re not correctly latched. The automaker, which has some 13,000 workers in Ohio, has offered recent instructions to Odyssey owners on making sure the affected second-row seats are...
More Stories