CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa - A new kind of business is popping up downtown. It's part of a pilot program being offered by the Economic Alliance. The effort is designed to fill empty storefronts and give hopeful shop owners the chance to try their hand at running their own store.
The Enchanted Gift is the first of these pop-up shops to open. The store, filled with women's accessories, officially opens for business Thursday.
Store owner, Sandra Rinderknecht has been making jewelry for 17 years. She already has an online website where customers can buy her handmade earrings and necklaces. She can also be found at every downtown farmer's market.
This store is the first time Rinderknecht has ever opened a store front. She admits she couldn't do it alone and says the business is a family effort.
"I have three children and a wonderful husband who help price jewelry, make jewelry. We put them to work," she said.
The pop up shop program offers retailers a two month lease at no cost. The hope is to develop these stores into long term lease prospects.
The Cedar Rapids Economic Alliance is still accepting applications from merchants. They are also in need of vacant retail spaces in the downtown, Czech Village and New Bohemia areas.