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 June 2, 2012 at 1:00 am

Pop-up stores boom along Woodward Avenue

Short-term leases for space mean less risk, lower costs for business owners

Jon Hughes, owner of Downtown Ferndale Bike Shop, plans to open a store in the Compuware Building in downtown Detroit. He said if the store does well, he could renew the lease for a year. If it doesn’t, he only loses two months’ rent. (Max Ortiz / The Detroit News)

Jon Hughes sees a lane of opportunity in Detroit. As the owner of Downtown Ferndale Bike Shop, he would like to sign a two-month lease in Detroit for space where he can test the urban trails and side streets for interest by city residents and workers in a full-service, cycling aficionados store.

"Everything depends on the size of the store downtown," said Hughes, 29, who is negotiating a lease on one of two spaces in the Compuware Building and could move into the smaller space as early as July 1. If the store catches on, he said he could renew the lease for a year or more. If the venture goes flat, he only loses two month's rent money and sweat equity.

"How can I lose?" he asks.

Hughes is trying to cycle into a retailing trend called "pop-ups" that has gained momentum in Metro Detroit and nationwide.

The Downtown Detroit Partnership recently hired Heather Kazmierak as retail program manager to entice suburban retailers in Wayne, Oakland, Macomb and Washtenaw counties to sign short-term leases in vacant stores along Woodward Avenue.

"A lot of retailers are enthusiastic about a retail comeback because they remember downtown shopping at Winkleman's, Kresge and Hudson's department store when they were young," Kazmierak said. "They are curious about the big players who are igniting this retail movement downtown.

The newest addition to downtown is D:Hive Detroit, a multipurpose facility on Woodward Avenue. Margarita Barry, owner of, opened the first short-term boutique last week and seeks to recruit other entrepreneurs with limited start-up capital.

Read the rest of the story @ The Detroit News: 

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