By Craig Patterson
Toronto’s Church-Wellesley Village Business Improvement Area (BIA) is looking to fill some available spaces with pop-up stores, in an effort to fill area vacancies while adding to a sense of community. Several temporary retail spaces are available and businesses are being sought to market to the local community.
The goal is to add more vibrancy, excitement and a sense of community to the diverse area, eliminating empty storefronts that may lead to undesirable results such as vandalism.
It’s the first time that a Toronto BIA has taken on such a unique initiative in an effort to reduce area vacancies, if even just temporarily. The BIA is specifically looking to fill some of the spaces with affordable, non-permanent entrepreneurial or small business endeavours.
The BIA conducted a survey with the surrounding community, and 93% of respondents said that they take pride in supporting local businesses, restaurants and services at least twice a week. Respondents from the survey were also asked for ideas on what to fill the empty spaces with and some of the key findings were: bakeries, LGBTQ/women friendly spaces, clothing stores, independent retail and cafes/coffee shops.
In the Church-Wellesley Village, an unprecedented amount of residential development will see thousands of new residents added to the area that spans a few blocks around the intersection of Church Street and Wellesley Street. With all of the new residents, increased density will also lead to increased foot traffic for local businesses.
Pop-ups are a great way for retailers to test concepts, as well as build buzz. Pop-up retail is a significant trend amongst retailers in Canada, with many mainstream retailers now adopting the idea as part of their overall strategy.
Applications for the Church Street Pop-Up Initiatives are being accepted until June 1st, with the expectation that spaces be filled in the weeks to come. Interested parties are encouraged to act quickly — June is Pride Month in Toronto, with the 2018 Pride Parade taking place on June 24.[Apply here]