Downtown Shreveport is not ‘reinventing the wheel’ with this Pop Up event. Cities as diverse as Dayton, Ohio, Birmingham, Ala., Pittsburgh, Penn., New York, NY to tiny Gardiner, Maine, have hosted the concept.
Each city does it a little differently- Pop Ups run from one week in some cities (Birmingham) to one year in others (Pittsburgh). Some cities offer $10,000 grants to each winner (Pittsburgh), some simply provide the space for them to offer their goods (Gardiner).
One thing is universal—the Pop Up Projects create excitement, buzz and opportunities. In Dayton, two stores that were part of the pop up program converted their temporary leases to long term ones, in Dover, Del., a pop up computer business located downtown permanently, in Birmingham, Ala., of the 31 pop up participants to date, seven have become permanent tenants.
Additionally, the projects helped showcase commercial property, offered small businesses and entrepreneurs the opportunity to have a brick and mortar location, and created retail sales.
In January, we ran a column in The Forum about our pop up plan. This email from Megan Fornier, a former Shreveporter who now lives in Maine, is typical of the response we got.
“The more we discover, the more we want to be there! Not just to be close to family, but to also be a part of this new cultural renaissance that’s gaining traction in the downtown area.
In my weekly run-through of various Shreveport articles and posts over the weekend, your article about pop up projects caught my eye. Here in Maine my husband and I have been involved with three different communities that have been in various stages of downtown revitalization efforts. From temporary art installations to retail setups to impromptu music venues, the pop up concept has worked well in all three. It’s a concept that I love for the exact reasons that you stated – it creates a sense of vibrancy that can help potential investors and audiences envision an area’s potential.”
Ultimately, our goal is to positively impact Downtown Shreveport with additional life and excitement, but in doing so if we bring creative young people back home, all the better!