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The Pop-Up Shops at Martin Street is a partnership between StartUp at Wake Tech, LM Restaurants and the Downtown Raleigh Alliance. The program, which began in October, gives short-term leases to local retailers and entrepreneurs at 17 E. Martin St. Lenovo, a Chinese technology company with its U.S. headquarters in the Triangle, has been brought on as the program’s presenting sponsor.

“There’s just a tremendous amount of alignment, both of these programs are specifically targeted toward supporting minority and women-owned businesses,” said Will Gaskins, vice president of economic development and planning for Downtown Raleigh Alliance. “We’re looking forward to seeing the ways that that evolves and grows into something extremely meaningful downtown.”

The 1,230-square-foot space was split between two tenants – clothing store Sir Chance’s Vintage & Second Hand and beauty supply shop TresLife.

In its place, The Bath Place will be selling artisan soaps, skin care products and candles. The brand, founded by Kimberly Clayton Thigpen in Rocky Mount in 2012, will make downtown Raleigh its second location. TresLife, owned by LaTanya Lodge, has signed on for an additional six months in the space, Gaskins said.

The Downtown Raleigh Alliance works with LM Restaurants, the landlord of the Martin Street location, to give retail tenants affordable lease rates at shorter terms to make the venture feasible for small-business owners.

“The overall goal is to increase the presence, inclusion and equity of business ownership downtown”, Gaskins said, and LM is helping with exactly that!

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