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Pop-Up Program Encourages Entrepreneurs To Set Up Shop

Lauren Lovallo Staten Island Advance, N.Y.

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) The Empire Outlets' Pop-Up & Grow program affords small business owners, entrepreneurs, designers and artists the opportunity to expand their brands by occupying turn-key spaces including temporary built-out spaces, common area kiosks and pop-in spots, as well as weekend market-style opportunities.

Staten Island

Shanese Pettiway, 40, wanted to use her successful fitness journey to motivate others.

That's why the Mariners Harbor resident, who lost 60 pounds through good diet and exercise, opened Shanese Cares, an online store that stocks workout clothing and health and wellness products and also serves as an inspirational blog.

"I aim to serve people that struggle with fitness. It took me a while to get to this place in my fitness journey, because I was overweight for so long and I felt like I couldn't [do it] until I really put my mind to it and committed to losing the weight and getting healthy, and it's been an amazing journey.

"I aim to [show] people that they can [be successful, too]. Because there's a lot of people that, you know, go through the same thing. It feels like the weight is hard to get off. And I just felt like why not share my journey?"

As her online following grew, Pettiway began to search for a brick-and-mortar location; earlier this year, while shopping at Empire Outlets in St. George with her sister, she saw information on Empire Outlets' Pop-Up & Grow program, which affords small business owners, entrepreneurs, designers and artists the opportunity to expand their brands by occupying turn-key spaces including temporary built-out spaces, common area kiosks and pop-in spots, as well as weekend market-style opportunities. Pettiway applied, was accepted, and opened her Shanese Cares kiosk on July 6.

It has proven to be the right move, according to Pettiway.

"I was like one of the first ones out here. It has been amazing. ... You have so many different people and cultures and nationalities that walk through here, and [Shanese Cares] has been received well," said Pettiway, who also works full time as a Department of Corrections officer. "Management here is amazing. The security team here is amazing. And I feel welcomed by them. It's just a great experience, it's very welcoming here."

WHY 'SHANESE CARES'? Naming her business Shanese Cares was a no-brainer for Pettiway, who described herself as a people-person.

"I do care about people. I'm a very giving person, that's pretty much just my personality. I always take care of people, family, friends, people at work. 'Shanese Cares' is not just a name for me, I really do care."

GROWING POP-UP & GROW Empire Outlets' Pop-Up & Grow program was initially concocted to offer a lifeline to the community and small businesses during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, according to Wes Rebisz, general manager of Empire Outlets.

What began as an initiative for retail-centric enterprises has since blossomed to included spaces for food and beverage businesses.

"Because of the success that we had with the retail portion of Pop-Up & Grow, we thought, 'Hey, why don't we open the program up to food and beverage?' There may be a small restaurant that either closed or someone that's looking to open a restaurant, but they're not exactly in a position to open their own 5,000-square-foot space."

Cue MRKTPL, a 15,000-square-foot space with individual booths ranging from 700 to 1,000 square feet, which Rebisz said will lend itself to people that are just looking to get started, or want to expand their already established business.

Proprietors in all sectors of business are welcome to apply to the Pop-Up & Grow program, said Rebisz. "It's important for the Outlets to be part of the community ... we'll always be looking to partner with local businesses and entrepreneurs to see if we can bring their ideas to [life]."

The Shanese Cares kiosk is open from noon to 7 p.m. at Empire Outlets through Oct. 31, after which Pettiway will be teaming up with another Pop-up and Grow business, Badass Boot Camp, to open an indoor space.

To learn more about Shanese Cares, visit Pettiway's website shanesecaresllc.com or follow her on Instagram (@shanesecaresllc).

To learn more about the Pop-Up and Grow initiative at Empire Outlets, visit the Empire Outlets website. Empire Outlets is located at 55 Richmond Terr. in St. George, between the St. George Ferry Terminal and the new Fast Ferry terminal. ___ Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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