The Delaware Economic Development Office (DEDO) announced that a Milford site will be available as part of the statewide Project Pop-Up program. The site, located at 127 NW Front Street, is part of the historic Tharp-Jewell House on the corner of NW Front and Church Streets in downtown Milford.
The goal of Project Pop-up is to offer business owners a limited-risk opportunity in an effort to stimulate economic activity in the town. The project brings together the town contact, the property owner and a potential tenant in an effort to turn vacant buildings into thriving businesses, according to Diane Laird, DEDO State Coordinator for Downtown Delaware.
“Project Pop-Up allows a qualified tenant to use space that was vacant,” Ms. Laird said. “A vacant building is not only an eyesore, but a missed opportunity in small towns. The location in Milford offers lots of light, and is a unique location, since it is located in a historic building. The space has several rooms, and although there is not a lot of foot traffic, it would be perfect for almost any type of client.” Ms. Laird said that although they prefer retail facilities in downtown areas, any type of business, including non-profits, are eligible to apply for the program. Lee Nelson, Executive Director of Downtown Milford, Inc., agreed with Ms. Laird’s sentiments.
“Project Pop-up addresses the economic development needs we have here in Milford by bringing new businesses to town,” Mr. Nelson said. “The major focus of DMI is to bring new businesses to downtown Milford and this program allows us to offer additional incentives for businesses to come here. The recipients use the building rent-free for the first three months, and last year’s recipient, Jenn White of Little Posie’s Photography, has, or will soon, sign a long-term lease for her business.” Ms. White said that the downtown merchants have been helpful since she opened her studio, which is located in the same historical building as the location available this year.
“A lot of times, those that apply for Project Pop-up are businesses that currently operate from someone’s home, and they want to move to a more traditional brick-and-mortar business,” Ms. Laird explained. “In some cases, they want to expand because there are limits on the types of businesses permitted in residences.”
Applications for the program are available through Sunday, August 11, 2013, as the application can be found online at www.dedo.delaware.gov/popup/PopUp-2013-Application.pdf. One qualified recipient will be chosen for each of the available locations. Additional locations are available in Milton, Wilmington, Middletown, Dover, and Smyrna. A panel of representatives from DEDO, Downtown Delaware, and participating Main Street towns will review the applications, select a qualified applicant and notify them by August 26. Winners must participate in a one-on-one consultation with a business coach between September 9 and 13, and a successful launch must occur by October 1. The coach will assist the recipient in the continued running of the business.