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Pop-Up Shops at Martin Street

An award-winning pop-up retail space in Downtown Raleigh presented by Lenovo

For Minority- and Women-owned businesses, this effort by Downtown Raleigh Alliance, Wake Tech Entrepreneurship & Small Business CenterLM Restaurants and Lenovo will increase the presence, inclusion, and equity of business ownership in Downtown Raleigh.

Complete the interest form to be notified of upcoming application cycles.

Interest Forms may still be submitted on a rolling basis. 



(Above) Exterior façade of Pop-Up Shops at Martin Street - 17 E Martin Street

Current retail tenants:

Previous retail tenants:

Program overview:

Pop-Up Shops at Martin Street is a pop-up retail store program in Downtown Raleigh at 17 E Martin Street. This storefront location is available for pop-up retail tenants looking to share an affordable retail space with other up-and-coming retailers, participate in business counseling, and experience the Downtown Raleigh market.

(Above) Overview video about the Pop-Up Shops at Martin Street program. Produced by Angela Hollowell, Rootful Media.

The goals of the program are to:

  • Provide affordable retail space in a desirable location within Downtown Raleigh to Minority- and Women-owned businesses
  • Provide counseling opportunities for tenants to grow their business through Wake Tech Entrepreneurship & Small Business Center
  • Give tenants the opportunity for retail success in a storefront location, further boosting their confidence to sign a long-term lease within Downtown Raleigh

This is an ideal business opportunity if:

  • You have a retail business that you want to expand to a storefront location in Downtown Raleigh
  • You only need a small area to operate
  • You do not currently have a physical storefront location in Raleigh but have been considering opening one
  • You are welcoming, customer-service-oriented, and willing to share space with other businesses
  • You are motivated and driven to grow your business through the counseling opportunities provided by Wake Tech Entrepreneurship & Small Business Center (SBC)
  • You are motivated and driven to market and advertise your pop-up to generate sales and foot traffic
  • You are prepared to submit a business plan (including a marketing plan and financial plan)
  • You are prepared to represent your business in a formal interview


17 E Martin Street is positioned on a high foot traffic street within the center of Downtown Raleigh. The retail space is 1,230 square feet and boasts floor-to-ceiling windows for high visibility. It is surrounded by many popular restaurants, residential units, offices, and other nearby retailers.

Pop-Up Shops Interior Images

(Above) Interior images of Pop-Up Shops at Martin Street

Division of space:

The 1,230 square feet of retail space will be subdivided to accommodate two-to-four retail tenants at one time. Tenant floorplans will range from 300 to 600 square feet. Each tenant will sign a lease committing to a specific floor plan and square footage within the space.

Eligible businesses:

  • Minority- and Women-owned, retail businesses

Ineligible businesses:

  • Food or beverage businesses
  • Franchises
  • Businesses that already have a storefront location in Raleigh

Hours of operation:

Program tenants are required to staff the shop and be open during set regular hours of operation:

  • Wed - Sat (11am - 7pm)
  • Sun (11am - 5pm)

*Special, one-off circumstances, emergencies, and certain holidays not withstanding. It may also be permissible, if mutually acceptable, for co-tenants to make joint coverage arrangements for increased flexibility. However, DRA and program partners reserve the right to terminate the lease and program agreements in the event of repeated violation of this hours-of-operation requirement.

Lease term:

The standard lease is a 12-month lease term. There may be the option to exit the program earlier if exit requirements are met. We are unable to offer lease terms of more than 12 months.

The next tenant opening will be in October 2024 unless otherwise noted. 


Tenant floor plans range from 300 to 600 square feet with tenant rent set at $10 per square foot per year (paid monthly) with an additional monthly CAM (common area maintenance) fee to cover common utilities. Rent and CAM fee combined will be approximately $400 - $800 per month, depending on the tenant’s square footage within the space. Rent and CAM fee include:

  • Basic utilities (water, sewer, electricity, trash pick-up)
  • Internet & Wifi
  • Monitored security system and always-on, remote-access camera
  • Weekly cleaning service

Security deposit:

A two (2) month security deposit is required at the time the lease is signed.

Criteria to apply:

  • A business tax ID
  • The business use must be retail
  • Applicants must complete the application and submit a business plan (including marketing plan and financial plan) by the application deadline
  • Applicants must complete an interview with DRA and Wake Tech SBC staff 

If accepted, tenants are required to do the following:

  • Commit to a 12-month lease term
  • Work full-time in their business
  • Staff the shop and be open during the hours of operation: Wed - Sat (11am - 7pm); Sun (11am - 5pm)
  • Provide a POS system and be able to process transactions (can be as simple as a mobile-device Square Reader)
  • Provide retail display infrastructure
  • Obtain basic business liability and property insurance for the use of the pop-up space
  • Share a pop-up location with other retail tenants and adhere to the tenant code of conduct agreement
  • Attend an orientation with Downtown Raleigh Alliance and Wake Tech Entrepreneurship & Small Business Center
  • Schedule and attend one (1) business counseling session per month through Wake Tech Entrepreneurship & Small Business Center for the duration of the lease term. Counseling is free and confidential.
  • Report monthly transaction numbers and sales numbers to Downtown Raleigh Alliance. This information will remain confidential.

2023 IDA Downtown Achievement Award of Excellence

The Downtown Raleigh Alliance is proud to be awarded the 2023 Downtown Achievement Award of Excellence in Economic Development by The International Downtown Association (IDA) for its resourceful approach to equitable economic development and retail activation. This peer-reviewed award acknowledges an excellent response to an urban place management challenge many downtowns face. 

To read more about IDA and the Downtown Achievement Award, please visit the webpage


While we have made every attempt to ensure that the information contained herein is accurate, Downtown Raleigh Alliance (DRA), Wake Tech Entrepreneurship & Small Business Center (SBC) and LM Restaurants are not responsible for any errors or omissions, or for the results obtained from the use of this information. All information provided herein is provided with no guarantee of completeness, accuracy, or timeliness, and without warranty of any kind, express or implied, including, but not limited to warranties of performance, merchantability, and fitness for a particular purpose. We strongly recommend you and/or your advisory team perform a thorough review of the included property to determine its compatibility with your real estate goals and specifications. In no event will Downtown Raleigh Alliance (DRA), Wake Tech Entrepreneurship & Small Business Center (SBC), or LM Restaurants, their partners, agents, or employees be liable to you or anyone else for any decision made or action taken in reliance on the information herein.

Presenting Sponsor

Community Builder

UNC Health

Economic Development Program Sponsors


TradeMark Properties