Downtown PdC seeks Pop-Up Shop applicants for rent-free business opportunity

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Couleecap and Prairie du Chien Main Street are offering a great, low-risk opportunity for small business owners and entrepreneurs across the region to make their vision a reality and test their ideas in a retail market setting. Using grant funds awarded by the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, Couleecap has partnered with several other organizations throughout southwest Wisconsin to bring Pop-Up Shop opportunities to entrepreneurs in Prairie du Chien and surrounding areas. Couleecap and the Crawford County Extension are working to build on their 2019 success that allowed The Sweet Tooth to get its start in downtown Prairie du Chien. 

Pop-Up Shops can be a great opportunity for a new business to get started or for an existing small business to test a new market for expansion without making any long-term commitments right away. Entrepreneurs will have the opportunity to operate their business in a store front located in a central commercial district for two to three months, rent free. If retailers wish to remain in the space after the pop up period ends, they must assume full responsibility and costs of the lease. The goals of this program are two fold: create businesses and fill vacant commercial spaces. Retailers get to enjoy the benefits of a store front in a commercially viable area; landlords will see increased foot traffic in their previously empty space and a greatly increased chance at finding a long-term tenant; and the existing businesses in the area will benefit from new activity and excitement. 

Pop Up Shops can also provide great opportunities for building owners with vacant commercial space. Building owners who provide discounted rent will be making a tax deductible donation to Couleecap Inc. Hosting a pop up tenant also brings renewed vibrancy and excitement to a previously empty space. 

Applicants will be expected to have regular store hours, maintain the interior and exterior of the building, and proactively market their business. However, through this process, they will also have the opportunity for consultation with other small businesses, and economic development professionals, who can provide other resources to help them succeed. 

Applications can be found on the PdC Main Street Page on Facebook. For more details, interested entrepreneurs can also contact Aaron Reimler, business and income developer for Couleecap Inc., (608) 797-5746 or aaron.reimler@couleecap.org; or Jessica Jane Spayde, Crawford County community development Extension educator, 326-0223 or spayde@wisc.edu.

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