GPCC is One of Fifteen Neighborhood Groups to Get City Grants to Launch Pop-Ups in Empty Storefronts

Vacant storefronts on Madison Street in the Garfield Park community on Jan. 10, 2023. Credit: Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago

CHICAGO – Mayor Brandon Johnson’s administration is giving out tens of thousands of dollars to help community organizations bring pop-up stores to struggling commercial spaces, city officials announced this week.

Fifteen community and economic development organizations received grants of $50,000-$300,000 through the Small Business Storefront Activation Program, officials announced Wednesday.

Recipients will use the money to negotiate leases with landlords, then prepare and operate the storefronts as pop-up shops. The groups will also identify small businesses as tenants and support the businesses during their tenures, according to a city press release.

The recipients:

The grant “will allow us to provide an affordable space for new and current business owners to test out their ideas without the overhead and expense of opening a solo brick-and-mortar location,” Florence Hardy, of the Far South Community Development Corporation, said in a statement.

The storefront activation program is part of the city’s Chicago Recovery Plan, a project to help the city’s economy recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. The grants aim to “boost local spending and draw additional foot traffic to commercial corridors,” officials said.

“The Small Business Storefront Activation Program will bring to life storefronts across the city and much-needed economic stimulus to business corridors in historically disinvested communities,” Johnson said in a statement.

For more information about the storefront activation program, click here. For information about the city’s Recovery Plan, click here.

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