Project Pop-Up supports Delaware small business dreams and revitalizes downtowns

Apply by Aug. 11 for chance at rent-free commercial space
July 29, 2013

During its inaugural run last year, Project Pop-Up turned the dreams of entrepreneurs into reality and brought life to vacant buildings in otherwise bustling downtowns throughout Delaware.

Looking to build on that overwhelming success, Downtown Delaware and the Delaware Economic Development Office have launched the second Project Pop-Up, which will offer commercial space rent-free for three months to select entrepreneurs during the 2013 holiday season.

The goal is to offer these business owners a limited-risk opportunity while also stimulating economic activity at several locations in participating communities statewide including Wilmington, Middletown, Dover, Smyrna, Milton and Milford.

“Whether you’re a home-based entrepreneur looking to move your business into a brick and mortar location, or an existing business owner considering expanding to a new space, we believe Project Pop-Up is for you,” said Diane Laird, DEDO state coordinator for Downtown Delaware. “Owners of businesses that took root during last year’s Project Pop-Up were highly encouraged by the community support they received, and we anticipate the same kind of camaraderie and collaborations in the communities chosen for this year’s program.”

Two success stories that emerged from last year’s Project Pop-Up were First & Little, a baby boutique in Middletown owned by Amber Shader; and Little Posies Photography, a Milford-based business owned by Jenn White.

“I really thought that my goal for my brick and mortar store was about two years down the pike. Project Pop-Up helped me achieve that goal much sooner,” Shader said. “If you’re a business that’s ready to take the next step, jump at the opportunity. It's a great way to dip your toe into the water and test it out and see how it goes.”

White said the business owners in downtown Milford have been extremely helpful since she opened Little Posies at 131 N.W. Front St.

Shader and White signed long-term leases to continue doing business at their respective locations.

Applications will be accepted from small business owners through Sunday, Aug. 11. A panel of representatives from DEDO, Downtown Delaware and participating Main Street towns will review applications to select the best-qualified applicant for each space.

One qualified business owner will be selected for each participating property and will be notified by Monday, Aug. 26. In preparation for opening the business, winners will participate in a one‐on‐one consultation with a business coach between Sept. 9 and 13 to ensure the likelihood of a successful launch of the business by Oct. 1, and then continued running of the business.

For more details and application information, go to

Downtown Delaware, a program of the Delaware Economic Development Office, provides Delaware's historic downtowns, communities and small businesses with tools to revitalize their commercial districts, increase entrepreneurial opportunity and enhance quality of place. To learn more about the Main Street program, visit


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