Queen City Pop Up, Buffalo’s first pop up retail program, kicked off its eighth installment by announcing a new class of retailers at a press conference Nov. 14 at the Market Arcade.
Spearheaded by the Buffalo Urban Development Corp., Queen City Pop Up invites small businesses into vacant storefronts to encourage entrepreneurship and stimulate economic growth in Buffalo’s Theatre District.
This year’s retailers are sisters Danielle and Melissa Blount of Lily and Grey Gifting Company, 12-year-old entrepreneur Sheldon Gibbs of Classic Knot, Lafondra Martin of Things N Time, and Alysia Welch-Chester of Urban Soul Closet.
Participants in the program will have the opportunity to grow their own brick-and-mortar storefronts rent-free for a two-month period while learning how to successfully operate their own businesses.
“This program started in 2014. It is hard to imagine that. And since Queen City Pop Up began, 33 small businesses have graduated from the program, with nine actually starting their own brick-and-mortar businesses which are open now, and is really fantastic,” said Mayor Byron Brown during the press conference.
As part of Small Business Saturday on Nov. 24, the selected retailers will offer a unique mix of holiday products such as modern and vintage clothing, bow ties, home goods, and made-to-order designs within the Market Arcade.
“For those of you who have been here since the very beginning, you know that this is actually where we launched our very first pilot of Queen City Pop Up, and we’re just so excited to see all of the great development and all of the retailers that are located here. It’s really kind of a mini mall effect and we love it,” said Brandye Merriweather, vice president of downtown development for the Buffalo Urban Development Corp.
The holiday pop up cycle will run until Christmas Eve, and hours will be Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday noon to 4 p.m.
Editor’s Note: Be sure to look for the next issue of Upstart NY, where we will feature Queen City Pop Up and several of its entrepreneurs, both veteran and new.