An exciting new retail space will open on High Street this summer thanks to a cooperative effort among the Gay Street Collaborative, Capital Crossroads SID, Thirty Four Corporation and The Columbus Foundation. POP Columbus is a pop-up shop that will act as retail incubator space, offering small independent businesses the chance to try out the downtown market without the commitment of a long-term lease.
“Retail operators who are interested in Downtown tend to be small, independent and start-up retailers. They can’t afford to improve space and sign long-term leases. POP Columbus provides ready-to-occupy space and short-term leases that allow operators who can’t get financing to get a start,” said Cleve Ricksecker, executive director of Capital Crossroads SID.
To bring this to fruition, a developer willing to take a risk was needed. Enter Thirty Four Corporation and Lauren Tonti, who owns and manages the space at 44 North High Street that was formerly a convenience store. “We are excited about the opportunity to participate in a program that will be a catalyst for Downtown retail at a time when the neighborhood is undergoing so much revitalization,” said Tonti.
The project also needed a Downtown champion to manage all the current and future details. Walker Evans, President of the Gay Street Collaborative, a non-profit business association located Downtown, serves this role and is committed to make sure the program grows over time. “The long-term goal is to find a pop-up business that wants to convert to a full-time traditional retailer in the space, allowing the program to move on to focus on another nearby empty storefront.”
In addition to providing a white-boxed physical space for retail operations, POP Columbus is providing retailers with marketing and social media support. The retail spaces are conveniently located on a busy Downtown block in close proximity to many office towers and new residential development, as well as special events throughout the year including the Pearl Market, Moonlight Market and Sunlight Market, which collectively draw tens of thousands of shoppers to the area.
While the Gay Street Collaborative will administer the POP Columbus program, funding comes from The Columbus Foundation’s Fund for Financial Innovation, as well as support from Capital Crossroads SID.
Visit the POP Columbus website here