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Popup Denver: Reactivating the 16th Street Mall

This week, Denver Mayor, Michael Hancock announced the first 5 entrepreneurs taking part in the Popup Denver Program. The Popup Denver program is the result of a partnership with the Economic Development & Opportunity office and the Downtown Denver Partnership. When chosen for the program, budding business owners receive $20,000 in merchandising, interior design, and setup assistance and at least 3 free months of retail space. The project aims to launch these entrepreneurs’ new ventures successfully and sustainably.

The secondary goal of the program is reinvigorating Denver’s Upper Downtown area including 16th Street Mall. This area was hit particularly hard by COVID. At the recent press conference, the executive director of Visit Denver, Kourtny Garrett, cited that 40% of the workforce is back at peak times, traffic is at near pre-pandemic levels, and the city is in the top five in the nation for the return of restaurant reservations. The entrepreneurs chosen for the program will occupy currently vacant spaces in the 16th Street Mall.

The first 5 business owners include the following:

Guerilla Garden, a street-art studio founded by Jolt, a Denver native and graffiti artist.

Museum for Black Girls, a pop-up devoted to immersive experiences showcasing the history and essence of Black women.

Tea With Tae, a woman-owned tea shop that currently has a location in Lakewood.

Travel Posters, which sells posters of Colorado.

IEM Designs the art-production arm of the Dance 2B Studio, which caters to adults interested in dance.

During the launch event, Jolt of Guerilla Garden shared, “As a north Denver native, somebody that grew up with the culture of the 16th Street Mall, I remember coming down here to Woolworth’s to get a pizza with my grandma. This was a hub for culture and community, which it still is, and for me to carry on with that and bring my art down here…we aspire now to have a flagship here in downtown Denver and to share that art.”

Continue following the project and the entrepreneurs on the Popup Denver Project website. It will be exciting to see the impressive impact of these business owners.

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