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Small businesses test out downtown Sheboygan with pop-up shops

Posted at 4:06 PM, Sep 23, 2019

SHEBOYGAN — Three small businesses were chosen to temporarily fill a vacant space downtown Sheboygan as part of the city's effort to drive more people downtown.

Nest: Adorn, Cultivate Taste and Hometown Barkery are the finalists for the new Pop-Up Shop Program. They started moving into a building at 514 S. 8th Street in preparation for the opening day on Oct. 1.

"There’s not a lot of clothing stores in Sheboygan, so we thought we could offer something new and different," said Pamela Butler Channel, owner of Nest: Adorn.

Butler Channel has owned the home goods store Nest just up the street from the pop-up shops for nearly 20 years.

"We’ve thought about even moving the store to this end of the street, so we thought, "Oh, it’s a great way to test this end of the street,'" Butler Channel said.

The pop-up shops offer business owners a free space to operate in for three months. Sheboygan has modeled their effort after a program in Viroqua, Wis. where leaders reported 11 businesses went from being pop-ups to permanent fixtures.

"The less empty space we can have, the better it is for everyone," said John Motiska, executive director for the Harbor Centre Business Improvement District.

He hopes the program gives businesses and the downtown area a shot in the arm.

According to the Sheboygan County Economic Development Corporation, the vacancy rate in downtown Sheboygan is 14%. In the county, that vacancy rate is at 2.3%.

Motiska said measuring the pop-up shops' impact will come down to if the businesses stay in the area and if the surrounding businesses see an increase in foot traffic and revenue.

"I felt like it was a perfect fit for my business to grow to the next level," said Robyn Schneider, owner of Hometown Barkery.

Schneider started her business online. She began offering baked gourmet cakes and treats for dogs. Since then, she started offering specialty gifts for dogs and dog lovers.

"I’m just excited to see how the next 90 days go and where the most interest is and how I can grow either in brick and mortar or just within a presence here in Sheboygan," Schneider said.