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Pop-up businesses open for the holidays in Delaware

Annie Ropeik/Delaware Public Media
Owner Serena Pelletier-Stachecki stands in the partially-painted party room at her new Project Pop-Up-sponsored Artsy Fartsy location in downtown Dover.

The holidays mean another round of small businesses are popping up in various Delaware downtowns. They're part of a state program that chooses new start-ups to receive free rent in vacant properties each year.

Since 2011, the state Economic Development Office says Project Pop-Up has helped 18 businesses open during the holidays. They say the fact that new vacant properties are becoming harder to find shows the program is working -- all but one of their pop-ups went on to sign a long-term lease.

That's what Serena Pelletier-Stachecki, who owns the arts & crafts studio Artsy Fartsy in downtown Dover, plans to do. Project Pop-Up helped her move her year-old business into a space twice its original size, and in just two weeks, she says it's helped her do more business:

"We would get, like, a large group, and then they would have to find another location where we could do the event," she says of their old location. "And we had a lot of complaints with the parents [that] it was just too close, so they wanted more space."

Now, she says she can do at least five birthday parties and other events a week, which she says will only increase as the weather gets colder.


"I think it's a pretty great program," she says. "It gives you kind of that -- okay, the rent is a little bit more, and it kind of gives you that three months to build up for it, you know, to get ahead."


She's working on setting up a second crafts studio in the back of her new property, and a coffee nook for waiting parents. And she says having a kitchen could help her start a nonprofit summer camp next year.


This year's other pop-ups include a bakery in Milford, a physical therapy clinic in Laurel and a yoga studio in Delaware City.

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