Small business owners, entrepreneurs, and local organizations, this post is for you! It’s been a heck of a year for small businesses, with constant changes, pivots, and inevitably a lot of stress. (I’m right there with you! This year has been a lot.)
I’m currently working with the Burr Ridge Village Center to spread the word about their Pop Local program, and while our partnership only covers Instagram, this is such an incredible opportunity that I wanted to make sure all of the details had a place to live that wouldn’t get buried in the feed! (You know I’m long-winded AF. 🙃)
Long story short… They’re offering retail and event space (both indoor and outdoor) RENT AND EXPENSE FREE for up to three months! This is truly a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to test a new market or try your products or services in a traditional brick and mortar environment without the risk of long-term commercial leases and all of the costs associated. Not only is the rent free, but they’ll also be providing resources for space build outs, as well helping with marketing and PR!
There are multiple storefronts, a few of which are H-U-G-E and would be so, so perfect for a holiday shopping collective. If you have a small brand, reach out to a few like-minded businesses and apply together.
The outdoor lawn (the Village Green) is also quite large and would be such a great space for outdoor workout classes, food pop-ups, distanced entertainment, etc. Plus, it’s surrounded by 300 residential units so there’s a built-in audience!
On the community front, there are so many events that there could be space for… Blood drives, race packet pickups, donation drop-offs, animal adoptions, you name it.
If you haven’t been out to Burr Ridge, it’s such a nice area and not too far from the city! We made it out there from downtown in less than 30 minutes. And talk about great neighbors… Also in the Village Center is Hampton Social, Kohler Waters Spa, Sephora, Starbucks, and more. There’s loads of free parking, too! (Definitely something that’s sparse in the city.)
The really cool thing about this Pop Local program is that there can be multiple finalists and participants! The opportunities are truly endless, it will just depend on who applies and where they would be a fit. Not only does this reality company have multiple properties across the Chicagoland area, but they’re totally flexible and open to most all ideas. At the very least, it’s worth a shot to apply because you never know what doors may open down the road!
Applications will be accepted until August 10th! Final round interviews will happen in late August, and we’ll know the winners in September.
Email me if you have any questions, I’d love to try and help if I can! (hello @ bowsandsequins . com)
If you’ve been following for the long haul, you may remember that my first big project for my last ‘corporate’ job was to open a holiday pop-up for the brand in NYC! (Lots of throwback memories here!) I started that job in August of 2013 and my out-of-town boss wanted to have a stand-alone holiday pop-up store in the city… Meaning, I had ~2 months to find a space that would do a short-term lease, clean it, figure out a minimal build out, decorate it, merchandise it, staff it, market it, and try to get people in the door! Did I mention I was the only employee that lived in New York? And I was, like, 24 years old? It was a wild time, to say the least. 😂 My mom actually ended up flying to NYC for a week to help me set up the store… Pretty sure she knew I was on the verge of a meltdown, haha. (JK, that’s a lie. There were many meltdowns!)
The point of this story, though… I know first-hand how hard finding short-term retail space is. I also how expensive it is! This Pop Local program would have been SUCH a dream for me and the company that I worked for… Definitely would have saved me some sleepless nights* and probably a few grey hairs, too! (*Not only were there anxiety-ridden sleepless nights with wanting to do well at my new job, but I just remembered there was one night that I actually walked home from the store at sunrise after re-merchandising it all night before our kickoff party, haha. Good times!)