It’s hard to believe, but it’s only been about a year or so since the first pop-up shops opened in the DECA ‘hood. Since then, all sorts of cool new things that have happened, including an important change we’ve just made to our application process (cool thing #3). Gay Stephenson (cool thing #1), shares 5 things you might not know about the project.
Then we’re turning it over to YOU. Please tell us what kind of businesses you’d like to see in the ‘hood (captain of Team Fishmonger over here…or is that Team Wine Store?). Fill out the survey and shout your ideas from the rooftops on our Facebook page or tweet it using #DreamPopup.
We also want to take this opportunity to send a huge thank you to each and everyone of you. Whether you read this blog for local news, join us for special events, shop locally or lend a hand as a volunteer, THANK YOU – without you, the wonderful things going on in the ‘hood couldn’t happen.
5 COOL THINGS…
1. We now have two Community Economic Development Coordinators
Working in partnership with DECA’s board, these two share a full-time job at WoodGreen, funded by a grant from the Metcalf Foundation. Tina Scherz and Gay Stephenson, two keen DECA pop-up volunteers were hired in July 2013. Here are some of their goals: filling the empty storefronts, promoting the value of shopping locally and spreading the pop-up shop project to other neighbourhoods.
Congratulations to In This Closet and their landlords Klaas and Mark! This local favourite is now a permanent fixture on the Danforth.
2. Results by numbers
1 pop-up shop applicant skipped becoming a pop-up completely and secured a permanent store of her own. Congratulations to Isabelle of Ankh Yoga at 2017 Danforth.
In the last six months, 8 new shops have popped up along Danforth East, bringing the grand total participating to 23, since the first launch in October 2012.
Nearly 100 volunteers have contributed their talent, labour, expertise, and hundreds of hours to this project.
3. We are changing the way we do things…
Beginning this month, new pop-up tenants can apply at anytime! We’re switching things up a bit so as to have an ongoing intake for tenant applications. The tenant recruitment committee will review applications as they are received. All pop-up shop applicants complete detailed applications, submit business plans and are interviewed by a team which includes local retailers. Find out how to apply for a pop-up shop here.
We are very grateful to all the landlords who participate! We couldn’t operate without you. Building owners receive a minimum of $700 per month in rent to help defray their costs (property taxes, heat, hydro, maintenance and insurance). Tenants also pay a fee of $50 per month to DECA which helps to fund pop-up shop promotions and defray some of the costs. Property owners can find out how to participate here.
4. We’re keeping track
Did you know that pop-up shops keep track of how many people visit each day? They also track their daily sales. This data helps shed light on what’s working well, and what’s not. What have we learned? Shops with beautiful window displays tend to get more foot traffic. When our expert volunteers help pop-ups to beautify their windows, they see immediate results! Saturdays are often the busiest day of the week, and Sundays can be so slow that it’s a good day to close. The south side of Danforth is now attracting far more people than when we first got started.
Eyob outside Cheap Thrills, photo credit Bruce Reeve
4. Fewer vacant storefronts
Have you noticed how many new businesses are moving into the hood? Some recent additions include a beautiful lighting store bella lite, a new yoga studio Ankh Yoga. This week, the Shoe Clearance store opened in their new location at 2000 Danforth, just west of Woodbine. A recent study, conducted by UofT’s graduate Urban Planning students, shows that the percentage vacant stores on Danforth East (within DECA’s borders) has declined from 17% in 2012 to 9% in the fall of 2013. While the number of vacant shops does fluctuate over time, it’s wonderful to see so many new businesses in the hood.
5. A work in progress
Pop up shop are still a relatively new phenomenon, so we keep experimenting, hoping to find out what works best. Some shops come for a month or two, like over the holidays when we hosted Zilberschmuck Jewellery and Asiri’s Treasures (specializing in alpaca wool fashion from Peru). Other businesses come for six months, hoping to become permanent fixtures in the hood – six month tenancies give these small businesses a better chance to get established than shorter terms.
Are you interested in getting more involved with the pop-up shop project? Click here to join our email list. We’ll send you updates and opportunities to get involved.
Volunteers make this project tick. From expert window dressers, communications professionals, marketing, graphic design, painters, project leaders, handy people, tenant recruiters, landlord recruiters, interviewers, researchers and so much more. We’re learning together and we welcome your involvement.
We’d also like to give a warm welcome to Veritus Pictures at 1801 Danforth Avenue, our newest pop-up shop. Owner James Buffin, a documentary film maker, specializes in “how to” workshops, and documentary and corporate video production. In January, he’s offering a 50% discount on workshops through Groupon and he also has a store launch special on until the 31st: 10% off everything and 50% off a workshop when you sign up with a friend.
Please stop in and say hello. James is open Tues. & Wed. 1:00-5:30 pm, Thurs. 2:30-6:30 pm, and Fri. & Sat. 1:00-5:30pm.
6. What do you think our neighbourhood is missing?
Now it’s your turn… What do YOU think our neighbourhood is missing? Tell us your wish list and we promise to try and bring those businesses to Danforth East! Don’t be shy, the more responses we receive, the stronger our case for convincing those businesses to come.
Get the conversation going by commenting here on the blog, on Facebook or on Twitter (#DreamPopup)- wherever you like to chat. And please fill out this tiny survey.