Business owners of color grow together with city-led Pop-Up Shop Initiative on State Street

MADISON, Wis. — Small business owners of color are hoping to take their businesses to the next level with the help of a city-led program.

The downtown Pop-Up Shop Initiative began in early August with the first round of participants moving into what used to be two empty shops on state street three weeks ago.

DK’s Boutique owner Daiana Massin heard about the program through the Latino chamber of commerce and decided to apply. 

RELATED: City led program to bring more BIPOC owned businesses to State Street

“It was a lot because I didn’t ever think that I was gonna get to a point where I was gonna have my business on state street especially knowing that it’s expensive around here,” she said.

Massin shares a retail space on the 400 block with two other business owners of color with space for two more to be added.

Next door five more are sharing a storefront which business owner and program participant Isatou Sanneh said has been fun.

“They’re helping me a lot actually,” Sanneh said. “I like them so much, they are so helpful. They help with so many business ideas in the set up’s–anything I’m trying to do they’re always there to help.”

The city led program allows POC business owners a short term spot on state street at a discounted rate to try it out.

“Some are buying, some are just trying to see what we have to offer and they are really appreciating what they’re seeing,” Sanneh said.

The program is set to have an official grand opening ceremony this Friday at the Madison night Market Festivities.

Sanneh and her fellow entrepreneurs are hoping the event and prime location will give them the exposure they need to keep building.

“We are all young entrepreneurs who want to do big and we have really great aims and ambitions,” she said. “We would like people to really come out in their numbers to support us.”