By J.D. Capelouto, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
April 1, 2022
A new pilot program will offer pop-up storefront space for local, Black-owned businesses in refurbished shipping containers along the Atlanta Beltline, officials announced Friday.
The “BeltLine MarketPlace” will feature up to six businesses given commercial space at affordable rates in two locations along the Westside and Eastside trails, according to an announcement from the Beltline and The Village Market, an organization that promotes Black businesses and is partnering with the agency on the program.
The vendors, which could include retail, food or art, will be located in “architecturally-designed, artistic shipping containers” or food trucks. They’ll be given services to support their business, the Beltline said. They will be open starting this year, running from late spring or early summer until November. It could expand in the future depending on the pilot program.
Credit: Steve Schaefer
The Beltline sees the venture as a way of helping close the wealth gap between minority- and white-owned businesses. According to a Prosperity Now report, Atlanta’s Black businesses are valued at an average of about $58,000, compared to Latinx businesses at $458,000 and white businesses at roughly $658,00.
“It’s imperative that local, Black-owned businesses can stay in the communities where they have always been — sharing in economic prosperity,” Dr. Lakeysha Hallmon, founder and CEO of The Village Market, said in a statement.
Interested businesses can apply now at www.beltline.org/marketplace until April 15. The project is supported by a $750,000 grant from the Kendeda Fund, a local foundation.
“Providing access to the well-traveled Beltline corridor is one avenue to connect businesses with new economic opportunities,” Beltline President and CEO Clyde Higgs said.