Downtown Denver Partnership Launches Popup Retail Program

The Downtown Denver Partnership is teaming up with Denver Economic Development & Opportunity (DEDO) to reimagine downtown, one storefront at a time, with the launch of the Popup Denver retail activation program.

In its pilot phase, five vacant storefronts in Upper Downtown (representing 30% of available spaces) will be competitively matched with entrepreneurs who will receive $20,000 in interior design, set-up, and merchandising support. The seven-person selection committee is made up of 16th Street Mall business owners and leadership from the Partnership and DEDO.

Selected businesses will pay no base rent for the tenure of their popup (only operating expenses) for a minimum of three months. Special consideration will be given to businesses that are owned locally and/or will enhance the diversity of the 16th Street Mall, among other selection criteria. This program aims to provide an on-ramp for entrepreneurs to have permanent space on the 16th Street Mall after having the opportunity to pilot vacant retail spaces. It is expected that these activations will also provide a more accurate representation of Denver’s business community to those visiting the 16th Street Mall.

Businesses are invited to team up with a joint application if they wish to operate a shared space.

“It is with this type of business innovation and inclusivity that we’ve navigated the pandemic in Denver,” said Denver Mayor Michael B. Hancock. “We are excited to support such a meaningful program that not only nurtures our incredible entrepreneurs but has the potential to be a tipping point to a 16th Street Mall that looks and feels more like the Denver we all know and love.”

The Popup Denver retail activation program continues to demonstrate the Partnership’s commitment to building a diverse and vibrant downtown Denver, with programming designed to empower a variety of businesses that ultimately contribute to the economic vitality of the center city.

“Programs like Popup Denver are crucial in the Partnership’s mission to foster a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship that drives economic opportunity for all,” said Kourtny Garrett, president & CEO, Downtown Denver Partnership. “We’re excited to see a diverse base of local businesses get the opportunity to transform 16th Street Mall storefronts and offer unique experiences, flavors, and so much more to downtown visitors and residents. These vendors represent the brand and culture of Denver and continue to create a place where people want to be.”

Applications are now open and local entrepreneurs are welcome to apply. The deadline is 5 p.m. on Friday, March 4, 2022. Questions can be directed to the Partnership’s Senior Manager of Economic Development, Sarah Wiebenson:

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