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Businesses get free summer space on Main Street in Buffalo

Five different businesses have been selected by a Buffalo agency to participate in the second round of the Queen City Pop-Up program to promote small businesses in the city.

The Buffalo Urban Development Corp., which runs the program, chose the local companies from among a dozen bids the agency received, after it announced early this year that it was seeking proposals for the second round of the successful program, said Brandye Merriweather, BUDC’s project coordinator for downtown development.

About 30 entrepreneurs in all had expressed interest, in response to the marketing campaign conducted in February and March through various government and nonprofit agencies, business groups, minority and community organizations and local media, she said.

The program, which will start May 1 and run through June 30, enables small startup businesses to get free retail space and public exposure for two months to jump start their locally based efforts. Businesses that participated in the first round reported a 50 percent increase in sales, and some cited an 80 percent increase in new customers.

“The first round was very successful in bringing in an exciting mix of business,” Buffalo Mayor Byron W. Brown said.

The first round was hosted by developer Nick Sinatra at the Market Arcade building in downtown Buffalo. The second round will be located at 653 Main Street, hosted by Plaza Group. Participating businesses will include event planner Life & Love Events, backpacking equipment purveyor Survival of the Gear, graphic art firm Ginametrical, and apparel and merchandise boutiques MMW Style Studio and Yar Mo’s Muse. “We’ve got a really unique mix of busineses,” Merriweather said.

The program will be formally kicked off on Thursday. “The business community is very excited, as are downtown shoppers,” Merriweather said. “We’re looking forward to the kickoff and getting more retail on Main Street.”