Project Pop-Up will return to Smyrna this year but rather than entrepreneurs having the potential to open up shop at one property, three Smyrna buildings are up for grabs this year.
Project Pop-Up is a program run through the Delaware Economic Development Office and is in its third year. Project Pop-Up 2014 includes 11 commercial properties in six town, including Smyrna.
Through Project Pop-Up business owners can open up a business and run it rent-free for three months. The three locations in Smyrna are 28 W. Commerce St., 244 Main St., and 100 S. Main St.
Ken Anderson, director of Entrepreneurial and Small Business Support for DEDO, said even though Smyrna isn’t certified as a Main Street Program, the town is a perfect fit for Project Pop-Up.
“One of our most successful Project Pop-Up businesses from last year as in Smyrna with Royal Treatments,” Anderson said. “We’re really excited about Smyrna this year.”
MOT-area resident Karen Gill had been operating her business out of her home for a decade before opening up Royal Treatments in Smyrna through the 2013 Project Pop-Up.
"Having three months to get started and knowing a business advisor would be there to assist gave me the courage to take my business out of my home and into a retail location. Our store in downtown Smyrna is everything we could have hoped for and more," Gill said. "If you have your own business and want to take it to the next level, Project Pop-Up is for you."
Anderson said with Smyrna, DEDO officials really wanted to look at properties that would have multiple opportunities for businesses to participate in. The location at 100 S. Main St. is the Smyrna Health & Wellness Center, which has multiple spaces available for medically-oriented businesses.
The location at 244 Main Street is the former Wally’s Barbeque building; most recently this building was a hair salon.
Smyrna Town Manager Dave Hugg said the former Wally’s location is a jewel.
“It’s just a great little building and entrance to the town. We need a good, viable business in there,” Hugg said.
He said the location at 28 W. Commerce St. was once a hair salon and more recently housed a business that sold medical equipment. He said the property is in good shape, and is a great retail space with a big first floor and a couple good sized windows.
Overall, Hugg thinks it’s great that Project Pop-Up has three locations in Smyrna this year.
“In this day and age, a lot of times it’s the little things of that nature sometimes that make the difference,” Hugg said. “There are a lot of people out there that have a business idea or are working out of their garage, but for a variety of reasons are hesitant to open up a business.”
Applications will be accepted from small business owners through Wednesday, Aug. 6. A panel of representatives from DEDO, Downtown Delaware, and participating communities will review applications to select the best qualified applicants for each space. Business owners will be notified by Aug. 28 with a goal of launching the businesses by Oct. 1.