WoodGreen’s Pop-up Shop Project represents a strong community partnership with the Danforth East Community Association. The project aimed to improve the walkability of one neighbourhood’s commercial area, while providing support to new retailers for up to six month periods, and sharing this with other places.
Focussed along the area of Danforth East which was facing decline, property owners were approached to make their otherwise empty space available to business owners for a small period of time. The result was a win-win. The pop-up tenant got the opportunity to test their new business in the community, and the landlord got their space cleaned, painted and staged for the potential lessees to consider it for future use. The community benefited by fostering small business enterprises, having a formerly empty space filled by a provider of goods or services, which creates foot traffic and a busier, more vital and thriving neighbourhood.
Since the project started in 2012, the project has hosted 25 Pop-up Shops, including the Hub for Syrian Refugees. Pop-up shop entrepreneurs gained valuable experience running and operating their own business and six of these shops became permanent fixtures in the neighbourhood. 15 properties are not filled with permanent tenants and the commercial vacancy rate has dropped from 17% to a healthy 6%.
Final Project Phase
In 2016-2017, the project enters its final phase, with a focus on
• eliminating the 30% tax rebate given to landlords with vacant commercial space. WoodGreen is working with partners, the City government and the province to bring about this change.
• building a knowledge hub on our learnings through the project. This is being done in partnership with the School of Retail Management at Ryerson University with funding from the McConnell Foundation.
Landlords hold the key:
Tax rebate for vacant commercial property
Pop-up Shop Toolkit (PDF)