Knowledge Center

Open on Main

The Main Street Mall in downtown Memphis is one of the largest remaining pedestrian malls in America. It is situated in a geographically-significant location in our downtown core and is a daily passageway for employees, restaurant-goers and visitors. However, there are still many empty ground-floor storefronts in this key corridor and the Downtown Memphis Commission (DMC) saw an opportunity for an intervention.

Open on Main offers no-cost retail space in the heart of the downtown core to potential pop-up shop owners to test their retail concepts. The DMC negotiates with building owners to lease the space (below market rate) and then subleases to the shop owners at no cost in exchange for access to data on the effectiveness of their retail strategy, customer acquisition and sales.

The purpose of the Open on Main pop-up retail initiative is three-fold:
1) Increase activation/animation on Main Street.
2) Encourage more permanent occupation of empty/underutilized spaces in the downtown core.
3) Allow shop owners to test retail concepts and strategies in downtown Memphis.

Beyond the challenge of attracting the right shop owners, artists and entrepreneurs into our open spaces, the program requires that we negotiate with multiple owners/landlords to secure the desired spaces and multiple potential tenants with conflicting needs and obligations. Each partner has their own agenda, needs and goals for the individual spaces. In order to keep our available spaces/tenants pipeline open, we juggle a very healthy mix of both.

Project Details

Open on Main

Downtown Memphis Commission


Economic Development
$4000001 - $5000000
$ 50,000