The WoodGreen-DECA Pop-up Shop project got a lift at City Hall last month. Cllr McMahon amended a motion, as part of a report to the Economic Development Committee, to include the feasibility of expanding the Danforth East Pop-up Shop model to other parts of the city. The motion (made by Cllr Palacio) requests “…Economic Development and Culture [city staff] examine policies and programs to promote economic revitalization in significantly distressed retail areas…” was passed by city council on Feb 10th.
This represents a significant contribution to our goal of expanding the Pop-up Shop project to other areas in the city. WoodGreen’s Community Economic Development Coordinators have already been meeting with city staff to explore ways for BIAs to initiate Pop-up Shops, modeled after the Danforth East Pop-up Project.
Through these initial meetings, we are beginning a process to identify other areas of the city that would be a good fit, and have been in contact with a number of areas who have expressed interest in using the Pop-up Shop project model in their own neighbourhoods.
The Pop-up Shop project, funded by the Metcalf Foundation, aims to activate empty storefronts by filling them with small businesses on a short-term basis. The project is win-win: local communities benefit by seeing their struggling commercial areas infused with new energy, property owners benefit from having their spaces occupied, and Pop-up retailers get the opportunity to test their business plan in a low-risk way. It is exciting to see this model being recognized at the city level, with possible support to expand to other areas in the city.
Before and After: This shop sat empty for over 5 years before being filled with a beautiful lighting store. The transformation of commercial space significantly improves the pedestrian experience along Danforth Ave.
Tina Scherz is a Community Economic Development Co-ordinator.