Pop-up businesses set to open in Baraboo rent-free

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BARABOO, Wis. - Three pop-up businesses will soon open, rent-free, in two vacant storefronts, thanks to a program offered by Downtown Baraboo Inc.

The pop-up program was created to give online businesses an opportunity to have a brick-and-mortar presence, with the opportunity to thrive and retain the location through a lease.

"I think having new fresh businesses, like our pop-up shops, positively impacts our entire community," said Lacy Steffes, president of Downtown Baraboo Inc.

Urban Woods Studio, a custom furniture and wood product company, and Lodge Coffee Roasters will share one storefront. Both companies already have an online presence.

A third company, From My Porch, will open in a second vacant storefront.

“It is an incubator. It gets people started. The pop-up program takes a novice like me and gives me firsthand experience at what it is like to run a shop,” said Wolfgang Calnin, owner of Urban Woods Studio.

Having rent-free access to a storefront for three months helps get businesses past the hurdle of paying for a lease.

“What’s great about this particular program is it takes startups, which would not necessarily have the lease money to get into a space of their own, and it gives them rent-free space for three months,” said Ryan Ramnarace, co-owner of Lodge Coffee Roasters.

In addition to rent free space, the pop-ups will get advice on business plans, accounting and legal matters.

"The hope is, we're really hoping, is that at the end of the three months, we're going to be able to take over the lease and then have a permanent presence downtown," Ramnarace said.

The three pop-up businesses will open their doors on Oct. 7, with the start of Fall Fair on the Square, and remain open through Dec. 31.

If they are successful, the pop-up businesses will help draw additional customers to an already thriving area.