The first two Pop-Up Shops have emerged on the scene in Downtown Oshawa. Visual Feast Studio & Gallery opened their doors earlier this week at 16 King Street East, while Events to Go opened at 40 King Street West late January.
The Pop-Up Shop Program was created through partnership between the Downtown Oshawa Business Improvement Area (B.I.A.) and the City of Oshawa Economic Development Services. Pop-up shops are temporary stores that “pop into” empty storefronts at very low rental rates. Both the landlord and tenant benefit from the relationship as the arrangement is short-term and low risk. The goal of the Pop-Up Shop Program is to help reactivate underutilized space in the downtown, create opportunities for retailers to test the market, draw more shoppers downtown and potentially generate long-term lease agreements on formerly vacant spaces.
“This is a tremendous opportunity to make our downtown a livelier place to visit, live and do business,” said Councillor John Aker, Chair of the Development Services Committee. “Under the Urban Growth Centre targets set by the Province we are to have 200 people working and living per hectare in our downtown. This tremendous program is one of the tools that will help us achieve these targets.”
Visual Feast Studio & Gallery will feature art sales and exhibition, a photo studio (makeup and body paint available on-site), artist workshops and custom commissions. The gallery is sponsored by local businessperson Denis O’Connell and enabled by property owner Diana Lovell. “It is a versatile, creative resource and source for whatever grabs you by the eyelashes and forces you to look, contemplate and feel,” said Sara Ward, the owner, curator and creative designer of Visual Feast Studio & Gallery.
At 40 King West, or the PHI Centre, Events to Go is a family owned business (Fred, Colleen and Megan Schofield, and Amy Booker). They specialize in party supplies and event planning. “We all wonder where did the day go? Between work and family, we all feel that there are not enough hours in the day. Trying to fit a family party, business meeting and sports event into an already busy schedule can sometimes be too much,” said Colleen Schofield. “No matter what you are planning we can help make it stress free,” added Amy Booker. The owners of Events to Go have been planning to open a business closer to their home in western Durham, but were lured instead by the Downtown Oshawa Pop-Up Shop Program.
“The City of Oshawa is thrilled with the opening Visual Feast Studio & Gallery and Events to Go. This is a wonderful opportunity for our downtown and provides a unique experience for entrepreneurs,” said Councillor Doug Sanders, Council Representative, Downtown Oshawa Board of Management. “I encourage small businesses to take advantage of this new innovative project and together we will continue to grow our downtown.”
For more information about the Pop-up Shop Program, contact the Downtown Oshawa B.I.A. at 905-576-7606 or through email, or contact the City Economic Development Services at 905-436-5617 or by email.