So Many Questions (And As Many Answers!)

Why Are We Doing This? Twofold- to encourage businesses to expand to a real brick-and mortar location by providing an opportunity to set up shop and test out business concepts. All the better if that permanent location happens to be downtown!

When Will This Fun Happen? We plan to offer two opportunities in 2014, once in May and once during the fall. We also plan to host a short Pop UP for the Thanksgiving/Christmas holiday season in Shreveport Common. If it goes as we hope, this year of Pop UP will be just the beginning.

How Will Pop Ups Be Chosen? It will be a competitive selection process. We will send out a Request for Proposals (RFP) via local media, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, our Downtown Blogs, our website and others. We might even hire a plane to skywrite it. (Or maybe not.) After giving a reasonable period of time to respond, a committee comprised of members of the Downtown Shreveport Development Corporation, Downtown Development Authority, Citizens National Bank and other downtown partners will choose our Pop UP winners!

What If My Business is Not Chosen? There are going to be many reasons why one business is chosen over another: space needs, type of projects, synergy with the location and the other businesses and so forth. Not being chosen does NOT mean your business idea is not valid and it certainly doesn’t mean your heart isn’t in the right place…it just may not be right for this time and space. If you wish to tell people you have applied, by all means do so, but we will announce only those chosen to participate. It is never our intention to cause any embarrassment. Who knows? What doesn’t work for the first Pop UP may be a huge success for the second!

What Type of Businesses Can Apply? All sorts. Fashion, bakeries, jewelry, robots, smoothies, tech gadgets, flying cars, flying monkeys, monkey cars…if entrepreneurs can dream it, we’ll probably allow it (with some exceptions, obviously. Nothing risqué or embarrassing to the property owner, sponsors or downtown). We have a long list of great ideas for these shops and we know that you do, too.

Where Will These Pop Ups Be? We have identified three locations downtown ripe for a cluster of Pop UPs- the Red River District, Central Business District and Shreveport Common. In May, the Pop UPs will be in the Red River District under the Texas Street Bridge in downtown Shreveport, a shaded, attractive space between historic Commerce Street and the Clyde Fant Parkway. There are several available high-profile, very visible storefront spaces in the RRD. We will choose the space that is best for you but will want your input on the square footage and amenities that you will need in your space. All spaces will be equipped with electricity, climate control and nearby bathroom access.

What Will the Business Owner Need to Provide? You will need to staff your Pop UP and have it open during the dates and times specified. You will be responsible for setting your store up, acquiring the shelving and stands needed to show off your products in the best possible light and having products available for sale or viewing. You will be responsible for helping us market you and your products or ideas by working with us with the media, inviting your friends to come downtown to shop at your store and participating in events we will be hosting to show off our Pop UPs.  We feel like it’s very true that the more you care and put into your Pop UP, the more successful it will be.

What Will DSDC/Citizen’s National Bank Provide?  We will provide the location for your Pop UP rent free, marketing for your Pop UP and business, help with lending, business and banking advice, provide signage for your Pop UP and the insurance needed for you Pop UP. We will make it as logistically simple for you to be as successful as possible. If you win, so do we!

Why Pop UP? 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 things a little differently but one thing is universal—the Pop Up Projects create excitement, buzz and opportunities. 

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!


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