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Downtown Raleigh Alliance and Pop-Up Shops at Martin Street Partners Celebrate Successful Year

May 11, 2022

Media Contact – 
Will Gaskins
VP of Economic Development and Planning 

Downtown Raleigh Alliance and Pop-Up Shops at Martin Street Partners 
Celebrate Successful Year

The program welcomes a new pop-up tenant and Lenovo as presenting sponsor as founding tenant graduates to permanent location downtown

RALEIGH, N.C. – As a founding retail business moves out of the Pop-Up Shops at Martin Street and into its own storefront space nearby, Downtown Raleigh Alliance (DRA) and program partners StartUp at Wake Tech and LM Restaurants celebrate the success of their ongoing joint effort to grow the presence of Minority and Women-owned businesses downtown. The program, which opened its brick and mortar location at 17 E. Martin Street in 2021, supports the development of a more diverse, equitable and inclusive business community in Downtown Raleigh through high-visibility retail space and small business resources.

As an underline to the program’s success, Lenovo will officially join forces with DRA and the Pop-Up Shops as the program’s first presenting sponsor.

“Raleigh is a hub for talented and creative entrepreneurs, and we’re invested in giving every business the opportunity to thrive. And in turn, continue to make Downtown Raleigh one of the most sought out destinations for small businesses and visitors alike,” said Gerald Youngblood, Chief Marketing Officer, North America

“Small businesses are the heart of our local communities. They are there to feed us, connect us and bring us joy, yet many have been significantly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Youngblood.

In 2021, Lenovo launched the Evolve Small Initiative to provide aid, mentorship, and community support for minority and woman-owned small businesses. As part of the program, Lenovo funded $1,000,000 worth of small business grants and development for women and minority-owned businesses across North America. In the Triangle, Lenovo awarded $10,000 grants to 12 women and minority-owned businesses as part of the campaign.  

"We know when small businesses thrive, we all thrive," said Youngblood. 

Sir Chance’s Vintage & Second Hand, owned by entrepreneur Julian Jacobs, was one of the first two businesses to join the Pop-Up Shops program. Chance’s, as it's known to its regulars, will be moving into its own retail space nearby at 206 Wilmington Street this summer. 

“The Pop-up Shops program was extremely helpful in my journey of opening up my own vintage clothing boutique,” said Jacobs. “Raleigh needed a small business incubator, and the Pop-Up Shops at Martin Street knocked it out of the park. Working with Downtown Raleigh Alliance and StartUp at Wake Tech was an amazing experience, and anyone looking to grow their business or spread their reach should apply.” 

The Bath Place, a retailer providing artisan soaps, skin care and candles, will be the newest small business to join the Pop-Up Shops. Founded by Kimberly Clayton Thigpen in 2012 in Rocky Mount, N.C, this will be the second location for the store and the first Raleigh location. Clayton Thigpen worked as a Business Performance Analyst in the banking industry for 11 years prior to becoming a full-time entrepreneur.

Said Clayton Thigpen, “The Pop-Up Shops at Martin Street has afforded me the opportunity to reach my long-held goal of having a location in Downtown Raleigh. The Pop-Up Shops allows me to grow my customer base, increase brand awareness and determine how to best serve this new market prior to making a commitment to an individual space with much higher overhead. We're putting down roots here and I am excited about what's to come.”

Bill King, President and CEO of Downtown Raleigh Alliance, is enthusiastic about the program’s immediate success. Said King, “Recruitment of and support for independently-owned retail businesses, especially Minority and Women-owned businesses, is a key strategic focus for us, and we’re thrilled that the Pop-Up Shops initiative has gotten traction so quickly — we’re very grateful for Lenovo’s support. 

DRA is currently accepting interest from potential tenants for fall placement in the Pop-Up Shops program. Fall leases begin in October 2022 and offer a minimum six-month lease through March 2023. 

To learn more about the program and how to apply, visit 

About Pop-Up Shops at Martin Street

Pop-Up Shops at Martin Street presented by Lenovo is a pop-up retail incubator program in Downtown Raleigh at 17 E. Martin Street. For Minority-and-Women-owned businesses, this effort by local program partners, Downtown Raleigh Alliance, StartUp at Wake Tech, and LM Restaurants is designed to increase the presence, inclusion, and equity of business ownership in Downtown Raleigh. 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.

About Lenovo

Lenovo (HKSE: 992) (ADR: LNVGY) is a US$50 billion Fortune Global 500 company, with 63,000 employees and operating in 180 markets around the world.  Focused on a bold vision to deliver smarter technology for all, we are developing world-changing technologies that create a more inclusive, trustworthy and sustainable digital society. By designing, engineering and building the world’s most complete portfolio of smart devices and infrastructure, we are also leading an Intelligent Transformation – to create better experiences and opportunities for millions of customers around the world. To find out more visit, follow us on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, Weibo and read about the latest news via our StoryHub.

About Downtown Raleigh Alliance

DRA’s mission is advancing the vitality of Downtown Raleigh for everyone. DRA facilitates this mission through five goals: 1) Building a culture of authentic engagement and inclusion with downtown’s diverse community; 2) Fostering a thriving and diverse storefront economy; 3) Facilitating strategic partnerships to produce positive, balanced activations across downtown; 4) Improving physical connectivity and accessibility within and around downtown; 5) Positioning DRA as reliable, responsive, representative, and mission-directed.

About StartUp at Wake Tech

We help people start and grow businesses. Serving any resident or small business in Wake County. Home of the Wake Tech Small Business Center. Our services are FREE and funded by your tax dollars.