6 Mil­wau­kee busi­nesses open pop-up shops

Each of 18 busi­nesses to par­tic­i­pate for month

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel - - Business - Stephanie Morse

Six lo­cal busi­nesses re­cently opened tem­po­rary stores along three com­mer­cial cor­ri­dors near down­town Mil­wau­kee as a part of the Pop-Up MKE pro­gram.

The three shops are lo­cated in the Ce­sar Chavez, North King Drive and Mar­ket­place Busi­ness Im­prove­ment Dis­tricts. Two busi­nesses oc­cupy each store.

The first six com­pa­nies will be in those stores un­til the be­gin­ning of July, when the next round of busi­nesses will set up shop. In to­tal, 18 busi­nesses will oc­cupy one of the three pop-up stores for about a month each.

The ma­jor­ity of the busi­nesses sell cloth­ing, ac­ces­sories and beauty prod­ucts. Oth­ers sell hand­made soaps, es­sen­tial oil blends or paint­ing lessons.

The pro­gram, co­or­di­nated by the Lo­cal Ini­tia­tives Sup­port Corp., hopes to fos­ter eco­nomic devel­op­ment in the neigh­bor­hoods while help­ing lo­cal en­trepreneurs grow their busi­nesses.

“These neigh­bor­hoods are growing be­cause down­town is growing,” said Beth Haskovec, com­mer­cial re­vi­tal­iza­tion of­fi­cer for LISC. “We want to make sure folks, busi­ness own­ers, res­i­dents are growing with the neigh­bor­hood and not be­ing dis­placed from the neigh­bor­hood.”

Of­fi­cials from the city and the North King Drive BID said they hoped in­creas­ing com­mer­cial ac­tiv­ity in the neigh­bor­hoods would en­cour­age more peo­ple to spend their money lo­cally.

“The more we spend our money in our neigh­bor­hoods, the stronger our neigh­bor­hoods be­come,” Mil­wau­kee Mayor Tom Bar­rett said at the rib­bon cut­ting cer­e­mony Wed­nes­day.

For the busi­ness own­ers, the pro­gram pro­vides train­ing, men­tor­ship and pro­mo­tion, in ad­di­tion to a tem­po­rary store. They also re­ceive mini grants up to $2,500 to cover start-up ex­penses. The hope is that the train­ing and stores will help the busi­nesses grow and even­tu­ally have the op­por­tu­nity to open their own brick and mor­tar lo­ca­tions.

“Be­ing a part of the Pop-Up MKE has re­ally given me a plat­form to share my prod­ucts with peo­ple that look like me,” said Trenise Wat­son, founder of Asili Nat­u­rals. “I hope that one day this will turn into a brick and mor­tar store where I can share my prod­ucts with the com­mu­nity.”

Asili Nat­u­rals sells all-nat­u­ral, cru­elty-free skin and body care prod­ucts. It is one of the first six busi­nesses to be fea­tured in the pop-up shops.

Haskovec said the pop-up shop has al­ready brought more peo­ple and ex­cite­ment to the North King Drive area.

“Within the cor­ri­dors this has al­ready had an im­pact,” Haskovec said. “This space has been va­cant for over a year. Fri­day night there were hun­dreds of peo­ple here. Peo­ple were walk­ing by and ex­cited some­thing was hap­pen­ing here.”

The pop-up shops will be oc­cu­py­ing the three lo­ca­tions through Septem­ber. LISC hopes to con­tinue the pro­gram past Septem­ber in the same spa­ces or by find­ing other lo­ca­tions.

MICHAEL SEARS / MIL­WAU­KEE JOUR­NAL SEN­TINEL

Trenise Wat­son of Asili Nat­u­rals sells skin and body care prod­ucts in her space in the for­mer Out­post Foods build­ing at 1617 W. North Ave., in the Mar­ket­place Busi­ness Im­prove­ment District.

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