A decades-old building in downtown New Castle has been given new life by providing local entrepreneurs a temporary brick-and-mortar business space. The Popped pop-up shop is a collaboration involving New Castle Main Street, developer Rose City Partners, and Peony Poppy Designs, and utilizes a small, 500-square-foot building at the gateway to the city’s downtown that served as a gas station in the 1940s. Local businesses can set up shop in the Popped space for up to a week, and the building is already booked through the rest of the year.
Stephanie Tedder with Peony Poppy Designs tells Inside INdiana Business she knew there was a market for a pop-up space in New Castle.
“I know a lot of home-based businesses in working with Main Street in planning some of the events that we do because we have vendors at most of our events,” said Tedder. “I just saw an opportunity for people to have a space to be able to go in and set up for a brick-and-mortar that they didn’t have before, to be able to use that space as a resource to create brand awareness, to sell their product, just to draw attention to themselves in a positive way.”
Popped opened in late September with Midwest Girls Boutique, an online shop specializing in women’s clothing. Tedder says they are currently operating on a waiting list for future vendors for Popped.
“Within the first week of going live with Popped, I’ve got every weekend booked for the rest of the year,” she said. “So, we’ve had a lot of excitement.”
To be eligible to use the space, a business must be registered with a current retail license. The business must also have a social media presence that can be promoted on the Popped and New Castle Main Street social media pages.
The building is located at the corner of 11th Street and Broad Street, less than two blocks from the Henry County Courthouse.
After serving as a gas station, the building was used as an insurance office and bail bonds office, among other businesses. But Scott Frost with Rose City Partners says the building had been vacant for more than a decade.
“We could find old pictures of this when it was a filling station in the 40s, and to replicate that look but have a new tenant in it, a new purpose for it, was obviously a positive thing for that corner,” said Frost.
Rose City Partners has redeveloped multiple areas in downtown New Castle, and Mike Broyles with the company says they felt Popped was a great way to give back to the community.
“Scott and I got into the downtown buildings because we’re born and raised in New Castle, remembering how downtown was and trying to bring some of that back,” said Broyles. “In all of our buildings, we’ve tried to help people get started maybe in a business at a lower cost, so we’ve kept our lease rates down, and we’ve done well with the other businesses that we’ve had.”
Carrie Barrett with New Castle Main Street says Rose City Partners has leased the building for “next to nothing” to support the development of local businesses through Popped.
After having the short time at Popped, Barrett says there are further opportunities for entrepreneurs to grow their businesses through programs such as Business Builders.
“We partner with the ISBDC to host workshops to talk about what do you need for your business,” said Barrett. “We’re hoping that some of these businesses from Popped will come to Business Builders and flesh out their business if they need to, and at the end, you can participate in what’s called Launch Night and you get a grant for that. We are just all about entrepreneurship and Popped happens to be a beautiful showcase for that.”
Currently at Popped is Walden Acres, which sells baked goods and locally grown flowers.