Governor Markell shops local

Delaware ‘Pop-Up’ businesses are reaping big benefits from shoppers this holiday season.

“This season has been absolutely wonderful,” Jason Aviles of Flyogi said.

 Aviles runs Flyogi, a yoga studio that opened under Project Pop-Up, which gives people a head-start at entrepreneurship. The program was developed by the Delaware Economic Development Office (DEDO).

“A lot of people are ready to make health changes seeing as though we are getting in the New Year, so we’re definitely seeing some growth in the health and wellness industry,” Aviles said.

On Friday, Gov. Jack Markell visited Flyogi and several other businesses on the 100 Block of 9th Street in Wilmington. Markell even shopped and walked away with a few holiday gifts.

“I love this program. For one, I love meeting new people who have so much energy. They’ve got optimism, they’re working hard and making it happen on their own and if we can fill up some of this retail space that would otherwise be empty and give folks a chance to try to prove out their business. It’s a pretty good combination,” Markell said.

Project Pop Up, a state-run program, provides three months of rent-free retail space to entrepreneurs in order to fill vacant properties in Delaware during the holiday season. After that period, the owners are encouraged to sign long-term leases to continue growing and expanding their brand.

Michael Hill of MIZ Inc., a clothing and image consulting firm for men, has seen enough success to open his store by March. Hill is currently operating his business in an incubator venue.

“I have two locations that I’m looking at. There’s one location on Market Street and there’s another location on 9th Street but I’m kind of in the air on exactly where I want to be. Market Street has more foot traffic, but 9th Street is really up and coming,” Hill said.

Theresa Holland of Tasty Couture and Andrienne Dolly of Dolly’s Sweet Cakes and Catering are currently located in the same incubator venue and have decided to merge their bakeries

“I’ve been in the business for a long, since 2000, and we can both chime off each other and we can build up from that. I can use my outlets and reach my different people and then that would make us very solid,” Dolly said.

Earlier this week, Markell visited pop-up businesses in Smyrna. To date, DEDO has helped 22 businesses open through Project Pop-Up, including Patty Cakes Bakery in Milford.

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