BeltLine MarketPlace Pilot Announces Lease Extension for Six Local Small Businesses and Passport Program for Shoppers

Pilot incubator program, launched by Atlanta BeltLine, Inc. and Village Market, tackles equity and commercial affordability through the support of entrepreneurs in first-of-its-kind storefronts on the BeltLine loop

ATLANTA (PRWEB) December 05, 2022

The six local businesses chosen to be a part of Atlanta BeltLine, Inc.'s (ABI) inaugural - and much-anticipated - BeltLine MarketPlace incubator have signed lease extensions through the summer of 2023.

To help people explore each business, incubator partner The Village Market (TVM) and the BeltLine have launched the Passport program, in which shoppers can earn free merchandise and gift cards for shopping at the MarketPlace locations on the Eastside and the Westside Trails. Review the passport and rules here.

Each of the Minority Business Enterprises (MBEs), whose owners include small, local, legacy and family-run businesses, will participate in the promotion, which will run through Martin Luther King Jr. Day, on Jan. 16, 2023.

People can pick up the passports at each of the BeltLine MarketPlace businesses.

"We urge people to come try all of us out," said Cassandra Ingram, owner of Urban Grind on the Westside. "We're thrilled to be part of this program and hope people will put us on their itineraries as they shop and eat around Atlanta."

BeltLine MarketPlace Addresses Commercial Affordability for Local Entrepreneurs

The MarketPlace incubator has been one of the economic development hallmarks of the BeltLine's 2022 year.

Announced in April with The Village Market, the MarketPlace is a catalyst to provide new, affordable commercial opportunities along the multi-use trail.

The businesses are located in two commercial nodes on the Eastside and Westside Trails, housed in custom-made containers designed and fabricated for this purpose.

From a vegan burger eatery to a Grady Baby brand apparel store, the selection of local businesses represents the heart and soul of Atlanta entrepreneurialism, with some aspiring to a first brick-and-mortar location and others aiming to become national brands. Four are food companies and two are soft-goods companies.

"One of the many reasons why Atlanta rises above the rest is that this is a city of possibilities—and the BeltLine MarketPlace pilot program encapsulates that reputation," said Mayor Andre Dickens. "Building a small business is hard work, and I am pleased the City and our partners are able to provide this kind of support for the entrepreneurs who are truly the heart of Atlanta's economy."

Supported by a $750,000 grant from the Kendeda Fund, in collaboration with the Atlanta BeltLine Partnership, the pilot program reinforces the BeltLine's work around developing and advancing commercial affordability strategies aimed at stabilizing, preserving and creating affordable spaces for legacy, small, local and Minority Business Enterprises.

"One of the greatest barriers for new business entrepreneurs is access to commercially affordable space. This is especially true for Minority Business Enterprises and entrepreneurs, who face disproportionate challenges when starting and sustaining businesses," says Clyde Higgs, President and CEO of Atlanta BeltLine, Inc. "The BeltLine MarketPlace's custom-made containers are removing that barrier and upholding our commitment to communities while ensuring more equitable access to opportunities along the BeltLine, starting with six Minority Business Enterprises in this first year. We're thrilled that we've renewed their leases through summer of 2023."

The program received overwhelming interest from the local community, with 217 applications from local businesses received over two weeks. Ultimately, six were selected for the pilot year, which will run from through the summer of 2023.

The pilot participants each have their own artistic, architecturally-designed shipping container developed by Black-owned architectural design firm Atelier 7. The commercial spaces give the entrepreneurs direct access to the Atlanta BeltLine's roughly two million annual visitors.

The selected businesses and their locations are below - a media kit with bios and headshots can be found here.

EASTSIDE TRAIL BELTLINE MARKETPLACE
Located under the Freedom Parkway Bridge at 830 Willoughby Way NE, Atlanta, GA 30312

Cococakes by Coco
Kina Morgan wants everyone on the BeltLine to grab one of her custom cake slices, on the go. In business for six years, she will use the BeltLine MarketPlace location to "test our new concept of ‘build a chunk,' which will allow a customer to select cake and a variety of toppings for a unique dessert experience." The shop also sells whole cakes and has soft drinks, water, milk and coffee. She currently has one location.
On social @cococakesbycoco

Good As Burgers
Cornoy Watkins' is the CEO and creative genius behind Good As Burgers (GAB'S). His vision is to build a worldwide chain like McDonald's – for vegans as a cook to order restaurant. "We create a fun and tasty way to make the plant-based lifestyle mainstream, saving the lives of hundreds of animals and reducing damage to our environment, one Good As Burger at a time." In business for two years, the eatery offers all plant-based delicious menu including burgers, sloppy joe sliders, plus sides and desserts. GAB'S currently has one location and a food truck in Atlanta. He accredits much of his success thus far to his partners Talia Jones, Jevon Kinloch, Tionne "T-Boz" Watkins, and his incredible team. Cornoy wants everyone passing through on the Beltline to stop by and remember "Be Better, EAT GAB'S."
On social @goodasburgers

Grady Baby Company & Apparel
Online apparel company founder Alexander Albritton says Grady Babies have changed the world, secured civil rights for all and achieved educational success. ("Grady baby" is a term for people born at Atlanta's Grady Hospital.) From music moguls and superstars to world class athletes – many started as Grady Babies. "It's our mission to spotlight and celebrate that greatness. The Grady Baby Brand represents the soul of Atlanta, the heartbeat of a culture, and you don't have to be born at Grady to wear it," he says. Known for the classic "We Full - Atlanta" t-shirt, the brand sells tees, hoodies, shorts, jogging suit sets and accessories and aims to become a national brand.
On social @gradybabyco

WESTSIDE TRAIL BELTLINE MARKETPLACE
Located at 1089 Allene Avenue SW, Atlanta, GA. 30310

Not As Famous Cookie Company order
Founded by Ashley Carlton seven years ago, the cookie company now has one location and 12 employees. "We're a gourmet cookie shop that specializes in scratch made cookies, artisan cookie sandwiches, handcrafted shakes and deep dish cookie skillets. We make a better cookie!" He hopes to grow the company into a national brand.
On social @notasfamous

PinkPothos
Lakeisha Jones wants to add visual interest to people's space, one plant at a time. "I sell custom-made fabric plant pots." She's looking to expand into her first retail location selling plants and accessories. Currently only on the web, this will be her first physical location.
On Instagram @pinkpothosatl

Urban Grind Coffeehouse
Urban Grind's founder Cassandra Ingram has run her successful coffee shop concept in Atlanta's West Midtown since 2007, embodying her company's motto of "building community one cup at a time." She's now excited to expand and bring her "cozy" coffeehouse culture to BeltLine Marketplace. Urban Grind features a selection of specialty coffees and teas, sandwiches, cakes and pastries that Cassandra believes fuels her patrons daily to #keepgrinding. She also takes pride in Urban Grind's reputation as a neighborhood gathering space that "cultivates conversation, creativity and a stronger, more inclusive community."
On social @urbangrindatl

For more information on the Atlanta BeltLine MarketPlace, please visit http://www.beltline.org/marketplace.

Media Kit with background and pictures for all the BeltLine MarketPlace businesses here.

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About Atlanta BeltLine, Inc.
Atlanta BeltLine, Inc.'s vision is to be the catalyst for making Atlanta a global beacon for equitable, inclusive, and sustainable city life. As one of the largest, most wide-ranging urban redevelopment programs in the United States, the Atlanta BeltLine is building a more socially and economically resilient Atlanta with our partner organizations and host communities through job creation, inclusive transportation systems, affordable housing, and public spaces for all. For more information on the Atlanta BeltLine, please visit http://www.BeltLine.org.

About The Village Market
A community-driven economic vehicle, The Village Market, founded in 2016, steers a direct pipeline for Black-owned businesses' economic growth and placement. With the opening of Village Retail – sub-company located at Ponce City Market – The Village Market has made a 6.3-million-dollar impact in the city of Atlanta through seasonal marketplaces, retail and campaigns. From theory to practice, The Village Market ensures that Black business owners are positioned for unmatched access and economic equality. For more information, please visit https://thevillagemarket.com/.

About BeltLine MarketPlace
BeltLine MarketPlace is a program that provides more equitable access to affordable commercial space for local small businesses, with a focus on Minority Business Enterprises in the pilot year. Participating businesses lease commercially affordable BeltLine-facing storefronts with direct access to the Atlanta BeltLine's roughly two million annual visitors while also receiving business service support and coaching. A joint initiative of Atlanta BeltLine, Inc. and The Village Market, it is organized in alliance with Atlanta BeltLine Partnership and Atelier 7 Architects and made possible with the generous support of the Kendeda Fund. Learn more at beltline.org/marketplace.

For the original version on PRWeb visit: https://www.prweb.com/releases/beltline_marketplace_pilot_announces_lease_extension_for_six_local_small_businesses_and_passport_program_for_shoppers/prweb19054440.htm

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