News / Calgary

International Avenue BRZ offers popup retail space

Shipping container goes from transporting goods to displaying them

Carla Da Costa and Rebecca Gould, both with the International Avenue BRZ, stand outside the Emerge Market popup retail space on 17 Avenue SE. The container gives aspiring retailers a chance to test the waters.

Brodie Thomas / Metro

Carla Da Costa and Rebecca Gould, both with the International Avenue BRZ, stand outside the Emerge Market popup retail space on 17 Avenue SE. The container gives aspiring retailers a chance to test the waters.

It’s like a starter home for businesses.
 
The International Avenue BRZ is using a refurbished shipping container on the corner of 17 Avenue and 42 Street SE to give aspiring retailers a taste of owning a business.
 
Carla Da Costa, Emerge Market project manager, said the BRZ started with a shipping container, which they divided in half and fitted with windows and doors.
 
The container was then set up beside artBOX on 17E.
 
Momentum, Co-operators, and the Calgary Immigration Education Society all helped with the project as well, according to Da Costa.
 
She said the city has also been a big help, giving them a secure place to store the shipping container until the permit was ready.
 
Jennifer Jensen is one of the two retailers set up in the container. Her store Calgary Thrift is selling used clothing, with most items going for just $1.
 
“For me, it was the perfect place and time to do this,” she said.
 
Jensen already runs a consignment shop, but she sees this as an opportunity to test the market in another part of the city.
 
Next door, Charmain Trofin is testing the waters for her business idea: LOL Café and Bookstore.
 
She’s selling books and artwork, since she can’t sell food from the container, but hopes to open the full vision of her business in another location based on what she’s learned.
 
The BRZ hopes to place the container in a new location next summer, and rent it out to a new entrepreneur each month.
 
“We want to give as many people the opportunity as possible,” said Da Costa

“I’m certain the more the name gets out there, the more people are going to be interested in it.”
 
In addition to the container, more vendors are turning out at artBOX every second weekend. Check out emergemarket.ca for dates and times.

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