Innovation That Matters

Short-term mall space for startups and minipreneurs


We’ve already written about several retail spots around the globe that offer shelf space to minipreneurs, and recently we learned of a like-minded effort that gives budding entrepreneurs a short-term way to try out their concepts in a traditional retail setting. Last fall Urban Retail’s Oakland Mall in Troy, Mich., began offering small startups and minipreneurs special leasing rates that make it easier for them to test the waters among shoppers at the mall without entering into a long-term contract. Specifically, 12 kiosks have been placed throughout the mall and can be leased for as little as USD 300 for a two-day weekend special. The flexible leasing terms are part of an ongoing program that aims to help entrepreneurs with seasonal offerings or who want to test out a new product or trend, according to Deborah Beattie, the mall’s specialty leasing representative. “Our program will continue to offer the flexible terms to attract everyone from the local ‘Mom & Pop’ operations just starting out in business, to the national tenants who want to test-market a product or capture seasonal sales,” she explains. Five of the mall’s 72-foot kiosks—which include display cases, counters and shelves—had been leased by early February, according to a report in the Detroit News. The Oakland Mall clearly stands to benefit from such an effort by attracting new businesses and shoppers even as the economy struggles, but it’s also a sort of silver lining for startups and minipreneurs. As the big boys struggle, conditions are beginning to favour the little guys—in some ways, it’s never been a better time to be an entrepreneur! 😉 (Related: Retail space helps brands collaborate.) Spotted by: Judy McRae



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