Today, Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway is announcing The Madison Pop-Up Shop Initiative, a new City of Madison initiative to support small-scale, less resourced businesses and fill vacant storefronts as we recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. The first Pop-Up Shops are a collaboration between the City of Madison, JD McCormick Properties, and local business organizations that support BIPOC entrepreneurs.

The Pop-Up Initiative will offer support for entrepreneurs from historically marginalized communities, particularly BIPOC business owners. It will provide them with space in which to start and grow their businesses. Currently, JD McCormick Properties has two storefront spaces available on State Street that will offer a great opportunity for entrepreneurs looking for retail presence in downtown Madison.

“This is ideal for new or smaller businesses because of the lower cost and risk, which can help open doors for historically marginalized entrepreneurs,” said Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway, “Pop-up shops bring in new foot traffic and can help current brick and mortar retail in the area as well.”

Pop-up retail has been trending across the country and has gathered favorable reviews as businesses look for more affordable ways to test product ideas without incurring high rental costs and long term lease commitments. The concept supports and fosters collaboration between businesses and property owners. It is one strategy to address the increased store front vacancies due to the COVID-19 pandemic.   

 “Exposure is key for businesses, and these lower cost short term leases make it easier for them to establish a presence without the long term obligations that traditional 3-5 year lease agreements require,” said Saran Ouk, Office of Business Resources Manager for the City, “It’s a model that benefits the business, the landlord and the community.”

This initiative is one of several the City is undertaking to support small businesses as they recover from the pandemic. These efforts include:

  • Distributing $1,879,789 in grants to small and local businesses, with more planned
  • Launching the successful and popular Streatery program, which we hope to expand to retail as well
  • Waiving license fees, which saved businesses $460,000 over the last year, and rebating a portion of PHMDC fees
  • Increasing funding  of the Madison Black Chamber of Commerce and the Latino Chamber of Commerce of Dane County
  • Preparing for a new Downtown Tax Increment Finance District
  • Supporting the return of events like Farmers Markets and live music to downtown to help attract customers
  • Investing in micro-lending to local businesses via Kiva Madison
  • Supporting the development of co-operative businesses

The Pop-Up Shop Initiative will be introduced at Common Council on May 18, and is scheduled to be voted on June 1st. If you are interested in this opportunity on State Street, please contact: Saran Ouk

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Category: Equity