MOUNT VERNON — The Mount Vernon Downtown Association knows launching a business can be challenging.

To give emerging entrepreneurs a leg up, the association has partnered with the city to offer “The Pop-Up” — a dedicated downtown space for entrepreneurs to test out their business concepts before signing long-term leases elsewhere in the community.

The space, at 325 W. Kincaid St. between the Skagit Running Company and the Christian Science Reading Room, is owned by the city.

It is approximately 500 square feet and features two display windows, a loft and connections to the city’s fiber network.

Prospective business owners can lease the property for 30 to 120 days starting April 1.

While rent and other charges are still being worked out, association Executive Director Ellen Gamson said she expects final costs to be about half of what the going market price is for a comparable space.

Prospective business owners can apply for the space next week at

Gamson said the momentum for the program began in September when she received an email from the city stating the property — formerly leased by Farmers Insurance — would be coming available.

“Within a couple days, I thought, ‘We should take it,’” she said.

In December and January, the space underwent renovations to transform it into a neutral canvas poised to meet the needs of its future businesses.

On top of offering an affordable space to test and refine business concepts, Gamson said the downtown association can help entrepreneurs in other ways.

“You might be a great baker, but might not know how to build a work plan or market your product,” she said. “We can pair business with resources.”

Although the application period hasn’t officially opened, Gamson said she has received calls from five people who are interested in the space, including three artists and someone looking to open a sports equipment store.

— Reporter Leah Allen: 360-416-2149,, Twitter: @Leah_SVH

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