The City of Ontario Announces the Downtown Ontario Retail Pop-up Program

By: Sharjeel Sohaib


Nov 21, 2022


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Key Points

  • The City of Ontario has officially revealed the Downtown Ontario Retail Pop-up Program. Two qualifying small companies that want to expand into brick-and-mortar locations will get help from the program. 
  • A short-term rental of City-owned commercial tenant space will be made available to qualified candidates for $1 per month for six months.

What’s Downtown Ontario Retail Pop-up Program?

The City of Ontario (City) offers a pilot retail pop-up program, looking for suitable shops to participate. Short-term leases for commercial tenant space in Downtown Ontario controlled by the City will be available to qualified applicants. 

For up to six months, selected firms will not be required to pay rent. To support the City’s Downtown Ontario Activation Strategy, the City is searching for shops to introduce innovative and unique enterprises to the area.

Applying for the Retail Pop-up Program

Beginning on November 14, 2022, the first round of applications will be accepted until December 9, 2022. The following criteria will be used to choose applicants: 

  • Availability of requested space;
  • Responsiveness of the proposal;
  • Demonstrated ability to adhere to the guidelines and requirements outlined in this document; and,
  • Ability to advance the goals of the City’s Downtown Ontario
  • Activation Strategy.

Who is this program for?

The Downtown Ontario Retail Pop-Up Program will assist small companies who want to open a brick-and-mortar location in the next one to two years.

The City is looking for various innovative and creative companies eager to test out new ideas and products. Following are some examples of the sorts of retail enterprises that the City is focusing on:

  • Uses for artisanal products include retail or specialty food, such as cheese stores, olive oil, soap, jewelry, or clothes.
  • Businesses like nightclubs, banquet halls, salons/barber shops, liquor stores, etc., are not eligible.

The Downtown Ontario Retail Pop-Up Program is searching for innovative companies and company owners who want to test their goods or services with the eventual objective of creating a brick-and-mortar location. 

Selected companies will be asked to display their goods and services at a storefront where they will have a brief window of time to test the local market and make sales.

Please send Peter Pallesen your application by December 9, 2022, if you want to participate in the initial round of the Downtown Ontario Retail Pop-Up Program.

Assessment of companies’ proposals:

A selection committee will use the following criteria made up of members of the Economic Development team to assess and score the proposals:

  • Previous experience running retail pop-ups, events, or service businesses;
  • Unique and skillfully made goods, items, or services that support the City’s downtown activation strategy; 
  • A thoughtful marketing and business plan.

Concluding the News!

The Downtown Ontario Retail Pop-up Program has been made public by the City of Ontario. The initiative will assist two small enterprises that meet the requirements and desire to open brick-and-mortar shops. 

Qualified applicants will have the opportunity to rent City-owned commercial tenant space in Downtown Ontario for a brief period for just $1 per month for a total of six months. 

Small businesses that plan to create a brick-and-mortar shop in the next one to two years will get assistance from the Downtown Ontario Retail Pop-up Program. Nightclubs, banquet facilities, barbershops, liquor stores, etc., are not permitted.


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