The Eclectic CO pop-up shop is extending its lease downtown, and founder Peri Bolts credits the “kind reception” from the community and makers in Colorado Springs.
“There was a niche in the community that needed to be filled — a spot where shoppers and makers can come together beautifully,” Bolts said via email. “We are so grateful to fill that niche.”
The boutique-style maker’s market was part of this year’s Downtown Partnership of Colorado Springs‘ Holiday Pop-up Shop program.
It is located on Tejon Street across from Acacia Park and is a collective of more than 40 vendors and local artisans.
“The pop-up program through the Downtown Partnership was pivotal in allowing us to open this holiday season,” Bolts said. “The support and access to retail space downtown allowed us to test the concept and get started in the community with decreased risk. We got a lot of publicity from being associated with the Partnership and loved being in the downtown Holiday Coupon book.”
Those interested in participating in the program apply for a pop-up shop each year. A committee then determines which concepts will become operational businesses that holiday season.
Once selected, the Downtown Partnership helps the applicant find a space to lease. The landlord then agrees to take 50 percent of the rent from the applicant and the remainder is covered through the Downtown Development Authority as a grant.
The leases are for two months, November and December, but the goal of the program is to have participants extend their leases beyond that, said Alexander Armani-Munn, economic vitality coordinator for the Downtown Partnership.
“As a mixed market with multiple vendors helping to cover the cost of a lease, Eclectic CO goes even further to lower the barriers to entry and to support the growth of multiple small businesses and entrepreneurs,” he said via email. “A vendor who is successful at Eclectic CO may eventually have the potential to grow into its own space and fill another vacant storefront downtown.
“So not only are we pleased to have a new business filling a long-vacant storefront in a key location adjacent to Acacia Park, but we are also excited to see what the impact can be of having what is essentially an incubator for small retailers downtown.”
Bolts said the lease for Eclectic CO was extended through June, but the collective intends to stay past the summer.
“The holiday shopping season was great for us,” she said. “We provided a space for all of the community’s gifting needs and were very pleased with the results — we need support from shoppers beyond the holidays in order to continue to be here. We are continuing to add makers and vendors and have lots of events coming up to keep the community interested in us and what we are creating here.”
The shop has the following featured artists and “donation-based” workshops planned: Herbs for Winter Welness 11 a.m.-1 p.m., Jan. 13; Herbs for Respiratory Health 6-8 p.m. Jan. 31; and then a singer-songwriter and poetry showcase at 7 p.m. on Valentines Day.
Additional upcoming events can be found at shopeclecticco.com.
“I would just like to emphasize that while the holiday season was wonderful, it can sometimes be a false indicator of retail success year round,” she said. We have found the post-holiday season to be promising so far, but we need continued support in order to keep supporting local artisans and micro-businesses.”
Meanwhile, Armani-Munn said the Downtown Partnership plans to continue the Holiday Pop-up Shop Program in the future, adding that the structure and scale changes yearly depending on the market.
“The program tends to look a little different year to year based on the vacant spaces that are available and the volume and nature of the retailers that apply,” he said.
There also have been discussions of using the program’s model year-round, Armani-Munn said.
“While this is not a formalized program, it is a strategy that the Downtown Partnership could leverage based on market demands throughout the year,” he said.
When the Holiday Pop-Up Shop program launched in 2014, there was more than 60,000 square feet of vacant street-level retail space in the downtown core, Armani-Munn said.
In October, data indicated a 3.9 percent vacancy rate in downtown, which was lower than the city’s 5.2 percent, according to the Downtown Partnership.
“As a hub of commercial activity, downtown plays a critical role in generating sales tax revenue that benefits the whole city,” Armani-Munn said. “When retail vacancy is that high, those collections suffer, and it hurts the city as a whole.”
“Beyond the financial implications, such high vacancy rates take away from the vibrancy and appeal of downtown,” he said. “More active storefronts bring more people to downtown and create a more enjoyable experience for visitors and consumers.”
Go to downtowncs.com/popup for more information about the Holiday Pop-up Shop Program.
Note: This story originally misspelled Peri Bolts’ name. We regret the error.