Partnership between Needham, Newton and State provides opportunity to activate vacant commercial properties and support small entrepreneurs
NEEDHAM – Thursday, April 22, 2021 – The Town of Needham announced today it has launched an exciting new pilot program in partnership with the City of Newton and the Commonwealth that will fill vacant storefronts with small retailers, restaurants and artists, and provide opportunities for economic growth as the Town begins to emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Project: Pop-Up will allow small retailers to access 1-3 storefronts in Needham and 4-5 storefronts in Newton at a significantly reduced cost to businesses. The retailers, many of whom are currently operating primarily online, will have access to the commercial space for 2-3 months to introduce their businesses to a wider audience, and will have access to a wide range of support services to help ensure their success.
“We’re very excited about this project that both allows the Town to support small entrepreneurs while also keeping our main streets vibrant,” said Select Board member Marianne Cooley. “COVID-19 has presented real challenges for our small businesses and for commercial real estate. This is the kind of pilot program, that if successful, can help Needham not only emerge from the pandemic strong, but can make Needham a model of innovation.”
With grant funding provided by the Massachusetts Office of Business Development, Needham and Newton have contracted with UpNext, a Newton-based, woman-owned business that plays matchmaker between emerging brands and available spaces. UpNext is working with local real estate companies to identify vacant spaces and helping select the small businesses that will occupy those spaces this summer.
Crosspoint Associates has already signed on to participate and is offerings its space on Needham Street, formerly occupied by Qdoba.
“Crosspoint Associates is excited to participate in Project: Pop-Up at Newton Nexus,” said Kerry McCormack, Director of Development for Crosspoint Associates. “The past year has been trying on everyone, in particular for retail and restaurants. We look forward to partnering with the City of Newton, Town of Needham and the MassEOHED on this innovative project and being to turn the page and build a brighter future.”
Brands, too, are already getting on board.
"The minute I caught wind of Project: Pop-Up, I dropped what I was doing and immediately applied,” said Jessica Brand, co-founder of TastefulSkin.com. “Our business sells mainly through our website, wholesalers, and at local events, so the idea of testing the waters with a brick and mortar space, connecting with customers face-to-face, and gathering feedback for our products is an incredible opportunity for Tasteful Skin.”
“When I heard about Project: Pop-Up I immediately jumped at the amazing opportunity,” said Cristina Garcia, jewelry designer and owner of GarciaCristina. “It’s just the perfect way to build up my small business and get my brand out there.”
UpNext and Needham and Newton are seeking additional retailers, artists, food purveyors and other innovators who are interested in participating in the program. Minority and women-owned businesses are especially encouraged to apply.
The deadline for applications is May 3rd. It is anticipated that spaces will be activated beginning in June and will last through the summer.
You can follow Project: Pop-Up on Social Media platforms: Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.