Retail incubator program offers prime storefront opportunity for Oklahoma independent shopkeepers

Published Thursday, October 29, 2020
by Staff Reports

Citizens Bank of Edmond and the Independent Shopkeepers Association (ISA) have announced an exciting new pop-up shop opportunity for Oklahoma entrepreneurs to explore their brick-and-mortar retail potential in downtown Edmond.

Citizens RISE, a Retail Incubator for the Shopkeeper Experience, will select one to two Oklahoma businesses to open for the duration of the holiday season a temporary storefront as part of the bank’s building on Broadway. Applications are now open until Oct. 30 at isaok.org/rise.

“With RISE, we are offering a low-risk, low-cost environment for Oklahoma’s entrepreneurs and shopkeepers to explore ways to take their retail experience to the next level,” said Jill Castilla, CEO and President of Citizens Bank of Edmond. “Whether you are a shopkeeper considering a brick-and-mortar future, or an Oklahoma business looking to test the Edmond market, Citizens is here for you. We are eager to get the first pop-up shops in place before the holidays and are excited for this ongoing partnership with the Independent Shopkeepers Association to grow our retail incubator program in 2021.” 

Citizens Bank of Edmond collaborated with ISA to create this program to support the independent shop community and connect aspiring entrepreneurs with a low-cost, ready-to-lease retail opportunity. For a low program fee of $50 a month, the selected shopkeepers will operate a temporary retail space on Broadway Street as well as have a dedicated desk at Vault 405, downtown Edmond’s first co-working space.

A jury will review all eligible applications to select one to two shopkeepers to participate in the program. The pop-up shop will be open to the public from mid-November to New Year’s Eve. Eligible applicants must be Oklahoma based and can either be a new concept or an established local retailer wanting to open a secondary location.

Citizens RISE will provide a steppingstone for a new small business to emerge or for an established shop in another city in Oklahoma to join the Edmond retail scene.

“Participating in holiday pop-up shops in other cities have accounted for a large segment of our holiday sales for the past several years,” said Terry Mudge, owner of STEMcell Science Shop in Tulsa. Mudge has traveled down to Oklahoma City to set up in the Holiday Pop-Ups in Midtown for the past three years. “It truly is a win-win. The return on investment is great and the shoppers are always excited to have a new place to find unique gifts.”

In addition to the low-rent pop-up space, the winner will receive a free annual membership to ISA to take advantage of the association’s resources and assistance provided to its existing 70 members across the state.

“We’re extremely fortunate to have community leaders like Citizens Bank of Edmond,” said Cléo Rajon, Executive Director of ISA. “Finding and financing a space is one of the biggest challenges when considering opening up shop. This is an amazing opportunity for a new or existing shopkeeper to take the leap and join the local shop community.”

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