Nearly four months ago MOT-area resident Karen Gill opened up her boutique Royal Treatments in downtown Smyrna. Gill was able to do so thanks to the Delaware Economic Development Office's Project Pop-Up program. Thus far, business is going fairly well for Gill.
Project Pop-Up is a second-year program from DEDO that offers business owners a limited risk opportunity to open up a commercial space rent-free for three months. At the present time, DEDO Strategic Communications Manager Peter Bothum said DEDO has yet to make a decision on doing Project Pop-Up again in 2014 and that the program's availability will be based on funding and resources.
Royal Treatments opened in October and even though the three months of free rent is up, Gill is still open with plans to continue the business. At her shop, Gill makes custom window treatments and sells home décor.
"It's been pretty good. I think that we've met our goals for the first three months and I think that it's been very well received. We've gotten a lot of repeat customers so that's good," Gill said. "We just wanted to be seen, for people to find out who we are, where we are, and what we have to offer."
Gill said exposure from newspaper articles, advertising, and news spots have been helpful for bringing in business. Some people still don't realize the shop is located in downtown Smyrna, which hasn't been helped by the delay in Gill receiving her exterior sign. With that said, Gill said she's still had some pretty good foot traffic in the store.
Since she opened, Gill said the customers have been extremely welcoming and are happy to have a new store in downtown. A lot of items were sold out by Christmas and Gill is now in the process of stocking up for the spring holidays like Valentine's Day and Mother's Day. The most popular items so far have been the vintage products such as bookends and Route 66 themed items.
"I like it, I really do. There are a number of people who live here in town and in the historic district that have been exceptionally welcoming. We feel like part of the community right here," Gill said. "I'm very pleased with the outcome of opening a business in historic downtown Smyrna and I would encourage anyone thinking of opening a small business to take a look at Smyrna."