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Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Why was the Popup Denver program created?
Denver Economic Development & Opportunity and the Downtown Denver Partnership (DDP) jointly developed the Popup Denver program to address three challenges: the changing nature of retail; the economic impact of COVID-19; and potential impacts of the 16th Street Mall construction project. After a pilot round in 2022, the second round was enhanced with “wraparound services” to provide the selected entrepreneurs with business planning and financial literacy support. This modification transitioned the program from a short-term storefront activation initiative to a business development initiative that supports DDP’s larger goals as an Entrepreneurial Support Organization (ESO).
Q: How will participation in Popup Denver benefit my business?
Round two of Popup Denver has two tracks for local retail entrepreneurs: Maker Track (designers and producers of retail goods) and Explorer Track (experienced storefront business operators).
Selected Maker applicants will be given an opportunity to feature their products and their company in a professionally managed retail collective at Republic Plaza (303 16th Street Mall) presented by Wells Fargo. The Makers will be invited to participate in monthly workshops with Wells Fargo on business planning; capitalizing growth; and other topics to help develop their business model.
Selected Explorer applicants will be given an opportunity to open a storefront on the 16th Street Mall, supported by a $20,000 package of tenant improvement funding and vendor services, including: architectural/engineering; interior design and permitting; digital marketing; safety/security; and peer mentoring. The Popup Denver storefront operators are provided with a space for a minimum of six months and will not be required to pay base rent, just operating expenses (e.g. utilities, common area maintenance fees, trash fees).
Q: What kinds of businesses are likely to be selected for the Popup Denver program?
The Popup Denver selection committee is seeking applicants that help to achieve the program goal of “reimagining downtown, one storefront at a time.” Retail products that reflect the growing diversity and globalism and/or the cultural heritage of Denver will score highly, as will storefront concepts that provide a “third place” for community members to gather and enjoy an experience they can’t find elsewhere. Maker track applicants will be asked to provide links and/or images to their products and Explorer track applicants will be asked to provide more information on their business operating experience.
Q: May I choose in which Popup Denver space my business is placed?
In the application form, Explorer track applicants may select a preferred space from among the three available. One space (918 16th Street) is reserved for a bakery/café operator, while the other two (303 16th Street garden level and 1600 California) are reserved for retail operators. Maker track applicants will be placed within the retail collective operated on the groundfloor of 303 16th Street (Republic Plaza). The Selection Committee will consult with the finalists prior to making a final decision so that no selected businesses will be placed in spaces that were not their preference without their consent.