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Six pop-up stores coming to downtown Duluth

Downtown Duluth is getting six pop-up stores this holiday shopping season, including two boutiques, a hockey-themed store and a venue billed as "live action entertainment."...

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Downtown Duluth is getting six pop-up stores this holiday shopping season, including two boutiques, a hockey-themed store and a venue billed as "live action entertainment."

The Greater Downtown Council has again spearheaded the effort in partnership with downtown property owners who offered up their spaces rent-free for two months or more.

The program began in 2013 as a way to fill vacant storefronts and get aspiring shop owners an opportunity to try out the downtown market and hopefully want to stay.

A call for candidates for this year's pop-ups went out a month ago with about 10 applicants responding. That was fewer than each of the first two years, but those who apply now are generally better equipped to set up a store, said Kristi Stokes, the Downtown Council's president.

"Our first year, we had an onslaught of applications, upwards of 40, because it was such a new idea," she said. "Some just said they had this great idea. Now people are being more thorough. They have products and know what they're doing."

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The temporary stores must be operational by Nov. 28 - which is Small Business Saturday - and continue operating until Jan 9. While the rent is free, the operators of the pop-ups must pay for their own utilities.

Here's the lineup of temporary stores:

UMD Stores

207 W. Superior St. University of Minnesota Duluth will be back for its second year in the former Explorations Toy Store space, selling its UMD Bulldog imprinted apparel and gift items. It's UMD's third year as a downtown pop-up as it strives to increase its community presence.

Ryan Tischer Photography

5 W. Superior St., formerly Great Lakes Gifts & Gallery. Tischer, a landscape photographer who has sold his work at art shows, festivals and online, will have a gallery featuring never-before-exhibited images and an end-of-the-year sale of many of his favorites.

SolveEnt

408 W. Superior St., formerly Occasions. Billed as "live action entertainment," it will offer the first-of-its-kind Escape Room in the area. Part game, part theater and part teambuilding, audience members work together to solve hidden puzzles to escape a room and win the game.

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Pichardo Boutique

207 W. Superior St., Holiday Center skywalk. This store will offer a mix of trendy, vintage and contemporary clothes and accessories for women ages 19 to 45. With previous pop-ups in Tennessee, it entered the Duluth market selling out of a renovated 24-foot school bus.

Integral Hockey Twin Ports

207 W. Superior St., Holiday Center skywalk. Former college hockey player Sand Jokela is behind this store selling hockey apparel, tape and repaired composite hockey sticks. Unfixable sticks are made into picture frames, ice scrapers, pizza cutters, bottle openers and grill tools.

Whimsy

136 W. First St. A true startup, this boutique in the former Plaid Pantry on First space, will offer unique yet practical clothing for boys and girls, plus gift and decor items, mostly from small-scale designers. It will include an upscale resale area for new and gently used fashions.

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