Contact: Liz Swaine, Executive Director
Downtown Shreveport Development Corp
Thursday, January 29, 2015
Committee of One Hundred Announces Winner of Pop UP Project Rental Assistance
In 2014, the Downtown Shreveport Development Corporation with help from a number of partners including the City of Shreveport, Tipitina’s Foundation, Shreveport Regional Arts Council and Downtown Development Authority, hosted three Pop Up events and a holiday marketplace lagniappe event.
The Board of Directors of the Committee of One Hundred, a private organization made up of the highest-ranking local executives of businesses and professional enterprises in Northwest Louisiana, voted to make the project even more special. They approved twelve months of free rent for a single winning Pop UP Business, to be determined after the year of Pop UP was over.
“Small businesses are incredibly valuable to our regional economy,” says Patrick Harrison, Committee of One Hundred 2015 President and a business owner himself. “This is a way for our group to give a really important break to a new small business or to help an existing business expand and hire additional employees. It’s good for the business, good for downtown, and good for the economy.”
34 different businesses participated in the Year of Pop UP events. They ranged from current brick-and-mortar stores and restaurants that wanted to try a downtown location to small companies that operate out of homes to newly-created start-ups.
Many were well-run, but the one chosen for the 12 months of rental assistance is Appli-K’s, a business owned by Katy Rhodes of Shreveport. Katy’s business is a great American success story. Katy and her mother, Kay Johnson, opened an at-home sewing business in 2009. They first attended local craft fairs but became hugely popular when Katy started offering custom, on-site monogramming to go along with her mother’s popular one-off bags, scarves, and themed items. In 2013, Katy’s business became too big for her home when she landed a contract with Dillard’s to provide custom monogramming of UGG boots and other wearables. As Katy’s business exploded, it became clear that her home no longer provided the space and visibility that she needed and she had begun to consider a storefront option.
Rhodes was chosen for the Holiday Pop UP in the Red River District and her business was an immediate hit because of her upbeat attitude and versatility in creating costumes, casual outfits; even wedding dresses. Katy says if you can dream it, her mother can create it and she can monogram it! Her new brick-and- mortar location, suite 900 in the Red River District next to Hippie Baby, is a new chapter in her life story. Work has begun to move Katy into the space by February, just in time for a big March contract she has landed.
“We are just over the moon with Katy and her business,” says Red River District Property Manager Debra Camus. “Katy is wonderful to work with and brings a lot of great products to her retail space. In addition, there is just so much synergy between Hippie Baby and Appli-K’s. I can see new moms purchasing rompers in Hippie Baby and walking five feet for custom monogramming at Appli-K’s. It will be a fun retail space.”
“A lot of thought went into choosing the winner,” says DDA/DSDC executive director Liz Swaine. “A short list of businesses that we believed would be successful on their own was scrutinized in a number of ways including public response, how well the business worked with other businesses, whether the free space they were given for Pop UP space was taken care of, and whether there was appropriate downtown space for their type of business. The great thing about Katy’s business is that her business isn’t completely dependent on walk-up traffic, so rain or parking woes won’t negatively affect her like it would other businesses. We are really excited about having Katy downtown.”
“We had other Pop UP businesses that were interested in locating downtown and we will work closely with them to find them space,” says Swaine. “The publicity from Pop UP helped a lot of these businesses find a new and eager audience and we are hopeful to welcome them downtown permanently.”
About the Committee of One Hundred-
The Committee of One Hundred has been in existence since 1961. It is currently composed of 125 active, voting members and 60 additional advisory members who have served as active members for 10 years or more. For more information about the Committee of One Hundred, go to:www.committeeofonehundred.org