Project PopUp prepares to launch

Project PopUp prepares to launch

July 18th, 2012 by Rachel Sauls in Local Regional News

The space has been secured, the retailers selected and the marketing is in place. Now it's up to Chattanoogans to make or break the five retailers selected to participate in Project PopUp.

A program sponsored by the River City Company, Project PopUp will give five independent local retailers the opportunity to operate their small business downtown rent-free for six months. Each of the retailers will operate out of contiguous retail space located at the 800 block of Chestnut Street, also known as Citipark. It is currently owned by local realty and asset company Berry & Hunt.

"We noticed places like the Small Business Incubator that help office-based business and the Co.Lab that is for technology companies, but we realized that there was no one focusing solely on retail," said River City Company program manager Tiffanie Robinson. "During the six months we will be doing as much as we can to help support them grow and expand through business development seminars, marketing and creating animation on the street."

After reviewing approximately 25 applications and conducting several rounds of interviews and discussions, Iron Labs, Go Bagel, Sewn to the Sky, O.C. Buckels & Co. and Tasty Daylight Donuts have been selected to fill the retail spaces. Robinson said all of the Project PopUp businesses will open at the same time with a special event. That timeline has not yet been set, but she said she hopes to see them open by the end of August.

With the five retailers ranging from lunch and breakfast providers to an interactive gaming lab and handcrafted goods providers, the participants were selected with a purpose in mind.

"Typically people leave downtown after five, and we're looking to reverse that," said River City Company retail recruiter Blair Waddell. "With these retailers we really tried to create an experience. We've got the breakfast tenant that brings people to the area in the afternoon and then the other retailers and restaurant that will keep people there from noon to night."

Project PopUp is one way River City Company is working to activate downtown and make it a more vibrant place to live work and play, said Robinson.

"I'm excited to see the city center become more animated and the potential of seeing more feet on the street," she said of Project PopUp's potential impact. "It's going to be an opportunity for people to discover an area they never should have been missing out on."

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