New pop-up shop highlights women-owned businesses

A new pop-up shop featuring four women owned businesses will open at 631 Main Street this June and will run through August.

Downtown Cincinnati Inc.(DCI) and the City of Cincinnati’s Department of Community and Economic Development have chosen four small businesses out of twenty one applicants for the spring pop shop program. The fifth pop-up shop program facilitated by DCI connects entrepreneurs, artists, makers, and small businesses with local property owners to fill vacant spaces and spark business downtown.

Participants include Carling Andrews of Supernova Soaks, makers of herbal tea bombs designed to moisturize, detox, and relax; Lily Turner of Urban Blooms, specializing in Living Wall installation, design, and maintenance; Marcie Hon of Down to Mars Vintage who participates in Cincy Chic fashion events, the Eco-Chic Fashion show, and City Flea; and Joi Sears’s The Green Store, which features sustainable fashion and lifestyle products for environmentally minded shoppers.

The program resulted from the Retail Action Plan for Central Business District in 2016. The intention is to revitalize the retail market downtown.

Andrew Naab, retail specialist for DCI explains the idea is to “Remove barriers” for those businesses while allowing property owners to fill empty spaces. Rent on retail property can be costly to new and small businesses. Their main goal is to “Provide low cost access to market, small businesses, women, and minorities.”

DCI has previously hosted two summer pop shops and two winter pop shops. Naab emphasizes the objective to “Increase retail and fill vacant store fronts.” The entrepreneurs pay an affordable rent for 2-4 months. The goal is that by the end of the pop-up, a full-time tenant will be found for the space.

816 Main held their holiday pop-up which, upon ending, found a renter in the form of a previous pop shop participant: Slim Furniture, providers of modern, modular urban living furniture.

To earn this space, applicants submitted business plans and DCI considered the strength of the business, the market need, experience, and how they would be using the space. “All four matched up well,” Naab says.

The space is not just set up for retail, but also for hosting events such as yoga sessions, networking meetings and workshops.

Lily Turner of Urban Blooms explains their goal for the pop shop is to create a “Living showroom to host networking events with intent to strengthen relationships with the design build community and to educate community members by way of workshops and lectures.”

In preparation, the space is undergoing renovation; an interior designer was matched up with the entrepreneurs to develop the space. In the meantime, the women are receiving specialized preparation in the form of customer based training, point of sale training, and budget training.

After the event, DCI will ask for feedback from the entrepreneurs and will keep in contact. 

Naab reiterates, it “Has all the right ingredients, just needed the push.”

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Emily Dillingham is a Cincinnati native and University of Cincinnati graduate with degrees in English and Geology. She writes full-time for a local material science company and lives in Brighton with her husband and pack of dogs. Follow her on Instagram @keeperoftheplants