Small business, good business

Published 9:09 pm Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Breaking into business can be the hardest part for new, independent retailers with good ideas but limited experience or resources to bring those ideas to the public.

Finding a place to exhibit one’s wares or demonstrate services can be a daunting challenge, one that requires a surprising amount of startup cash and an even larger helping of faith. But entrepreneurs without a storefront, even in the days of Internet marketing, miss an important market.

Overcoming that Catch-22 is one of the goals of a fresh new idea being touted by the Retail Alliance and Suffolk Economic Development. The two organizations are teaming up to offer a “pop-up shop” for entrepreneurs in Suffolk on Nov. 14 and 15.

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The initiative will give merchants a chance to test a new market, reach new customers and generally work out some of the kinks of a retail startup without all the costs of the actual startup.

“ReStored” will be held in the vacant first floor of the Professional Building, which means merchants who choose to participate will get a weekend of exposure in a building located right at the very heart of the downtown shopping district. And the timing of the event means that exposure will increase due to the ever-popular Restaurant Week that is expected to bring even more potential customers to Washington and Main streets, along with other parts of downtown.

Economic Development Director Kevin Hughes said the program has many positives, including the opportunity to drive traffic to other businesses already in the downtown area. “It really has positive potential on multiple fronts,” he said.

Retail spaces will be very basic, with shops separated by wooden pallets, he said. But that doesn’t seem to have reduced the interest in the initiative. Officials say they’ve already signed up several businesses, including a cat groomer, a knitting and yarn specialty store and another shop that specializes in Celtic merchandise.

Businesses interested in participating can contact Katherine Seibt at or 965-3000, or Deanna Holt at or 514-4049.

It’s exciting to see such an unusual idea being put into action toward the improvement of economic development in Suffolk. We wish everyone involved the very best of business.