Activated Spaces, an initiative to fill downtown storefronts, is accepting applications for short-term retail and service businesses to open downtown this fall as part of the eleventh phase of its Pop-Up Shop Project. Building off the success of the first floor activation program, the team now offers Pop-Up Office.
In addition to accepting first-floor applicants, office users also may apply for space on an upper floor of a downtown building. “We’ve seen tremendous growth in the number of retail and service start-ups occupying downtown Dayton’s first-floor spaces,” said Activated Spaces program chair Melanie Wagner. “Pop-Up Office is in response to the growing number of entrepreneurs who are still looking for that boost to get started but don’t necessarily need a first-floor location. The new phase also addresses a need to fill more vacant office spaces downtown. It’s a good complement to our core users, and our volunteer team is excited to launch more retail, service and office users this fall!”
Since 2010, more than 90 start-ups have launched in the downtown core and the number of small businesses is steadily growing. The Pop-Up Office Project seeks to build on this momentum. Both Pop-Up projects match business owners and entrepreneurs with downtown property owners who have first-floor storefront or upper floor office space available for occupancy. Both programs assist new businesses with short-term leases offered at below-market rates.
Interested entrepreneurs should fill out an application, which can be downloaded at www.activatedspaces.org, and email it to Jen Cadieux at email@example.com. The application deadline is 5 pm Friday, August 19. Tenants will be selected the week of August 29, and retailers must be ready to open by the beginning of October.
Lease lengths will range from three to six months. The spaces will have varying lease rates, but will be leased below market rate. Activated Spaces’ volunteers will connect selected tenants with commercial property owners, help make the space move-in ready, and promote the business during such events as First Friday and the Holiday Festival. Selected businesses will negotiate leasing terms directly with the selected property owner, but flexibility for the tenant is a priority. There will be a free workshop at 6 pm Wednesday, August 10 at The Entrepreneur Center (714 E. Monument Ave.) for those interested in learning more about applying for a Pop Up and starting/expanding a small business. Please RSVP to Jen Cadieux at Cadieux@downtowndayton.org.
Activated Spaces volunteers hope to build on the success of the Pop-Up Project’s previous phases. Many of the businesses that have opened as part of the Pop-Up Project are still open: Beaute Box, 116 W. Fifth St.; Vintage Barbershop, 110 W. Fifth St.; Green Baby, 2nd Street Market; Spice Paradise, 16 Brown St.; Hicks’ Barber Shop, 16 Brown St.; Twist Cupcakery, 25 S. St. Clair St.; Fronana, 27 W. 1st St; Mitosis, 14 W. 1st St. Suite 302; Baker Salvage Co, 31 S. St. Clair St.; Kneaded Bodies Massage, 29 W. 1st St; and Soccer Shots, 39 S. St. Clair St. Since the inception of the project in 2011, more than 20,000 square feet of vacant space has been occupied and 39 new jobs have been created.
Commercial property owners interested in offering space to Pop-Up owners should contact Jen Cadieux at 937-224-1518. Once a match is made, a small stipend is available to be distributed at the discretion of the Activated Spaces team to each of the businesses each month for the first three months to assist in off-setting startup costs.
The Pop-Up Project is driven by volunteers from the young professional organizations UpDayton and Generation Dayton with support from the Downtown Dayton Partnership, the City of Dayton, the City of Dayton Neighborhood Mini-Grant program, and community volunteers. Activated Spaces is part of the Greater Downtown Dayton Plan, a strategic blueprint for the future of downtown.