Downtown Pop-Up Shops Report Favorable Sales, 4 Continue Retail Operations in Philtower
TULSA, OKLA. (Feb. 16, 2023) — Four local entrepreneurs are continuing their operations in the Philtower, 427 S. Boston Ave., after launching Pop-Up Shops as part of Downtown Tulsa Partnership’s holiday campaign.
Mi Tea Lounge and Tropical Origin, as well as Bounceless and The Stylish Agency (now operating together as 5th & Fab), are leasing their original pop-up locations in the Philtower on a month-to-month-basis after a successful pop-up program that ran from Nov. 25-Jan. 15.
“We’re ecstatic about the success of the pop-up program and even more so now that Downtown Tulsa is home to three new and diverse businesses,” said Brian Kurtz, President and CEO of Downtown Tulsa Partnership. “These four entrepreneurs have found a natural customer base in our workers, residents, and visitors who have incredible options forapparel, body care and wellness products, and tea in Downtown Tulsa in what were previously vacant storefronts.”
The Pop-Up Shop Program was part of Downtown Days of Wonder, a collaborative effort to attract Tulsans and visitors to Downtown Tulsa during the 2022-23 winter holiday season. Working with Downtown property owners, DTP matched nine of 25 program applicants with available ground-floor retail spaces in the Deco District and Tulsa Arts District.
In some cases, DTP provided financial support to reduce barriers to program participation, including microgrants to cover applicants’ rent or the purchase of shelving, displays and other materials. Supporters of the program included Downtown property owners Price Family Properties, Sharp Development, Philtower LLC and PartnerTulsa, as well as TEDC Creative Capital, who helped spread application information to graduates of its entrepreneurial programs.
For seven of the program’s entrepreneurs (64%), this was their first time hosting their products in a brick-and-mortar setting of their own. In testing the Downtown Tulsa retail market for their concepts, survey respondents reported gaining valuable experience and understanding about running a brick-and-mortar concept, and that their pop-up experience increased their desire and capacity to operate a brick-and-mortar. Pop-Up Shop participants reported more than $27,000 in combined revenues during the 45-day program, supporting the expansion and growth of their businesses overall.
“This program was vital in breathing life back into my brand,” said Balisa Campbell, owner of The Stylish Agency. “Now that we completed the program, our attention has increased and we were able to birth a new business model (5th & Fab). I am so grateful for Downtown Tulsa Partnership’s dedication to seeing Downtown Tulsa thrive!”
Elyjah Monks, owner of By.Everyone in Oklahoma City, curated a new concept to test the Tulsa retail market with shop partner Ryan Fitzgibbon, a Tulsa Artist Fellow and local publisher. Monks said the program was “an incredible opportunity and experience to meet with new Tulsans, test drive the market for new concepts and build community.”
Other participants shared that their experience allowed them to broaden their customer base and introduce their brand to the Tulsa community. Fallon Dickson, owner of Tropical Origin, said, “The community was so supportive and contributed to my success. The experience and exposure were invaluable.” DuEwa Gordon of iScents Candles said participating exposed her business to “a whole new group of customers I may not have had a chance to meet.”
Other program wins include:
- Nine of the 11 pop-up entrepreneurs (82%) are BIPOC entrepreneurs.
- Nine (82%) are female entrepreneurs.
- Six entrepreneurs (55%) are mothers with dependent children in the home, representing a small but growing body nationally of mom entrepreneurs.
“DTP's outreach and applicant prioritization process were intentional, working toward our inclusive economic development goals outlined in our organization's strategic plan, which explicitly defines a need to support Black-owned businesses throughout Downtown,” said Emily Scott, Director of Planning & Vitality for Downtown Tulsa Partnership. “Supporting the greatest diversity of visible local business owners in Downtown includes working to unlock access to the commercial market in new and creative ways that can build inclusive economic development. We learned a lot during our pilot year, and we are looking forward to welcoming more entrepreneurs while addressing Downtown vacancy next year.”
For more on Downtown Tulsa programs and initiatives, visit DowntownTulsa.com.