Shop Inland Empire Pop-Up Market

On July 29, Small Business Majority partnered with the Inland Empire Regional Chamber of Commerce to co-host the Shop Inland Empire Pop-Up Market in San Bernardino, Calif. Pop-up markets are a unique and emerging venue for hopeful entrepreneurs to launch their small business dreams. As commercial rent costs continue to rise and workforce shortages pose challenges to small businesses, pop-up spaces and marketplaces offer a low-cost entry point for small business owners to test their products and market their business to community members. 

The Shop Inland Empire Pop-Up Market was the culmination of a two-month-long cohort program focusing on visual merchandising led by Small Business Majority’s Southern California Outreach Manager/Minority Entrepreneurship Programs Manager Jessica Anguiano. Visual merchandising is an energizing sales strategy that every entrepreneur should embrace. Small businesses have unique stories, and these tales should come alive through their shop setups. The visual merchandising series encompassed education not only on creating visually pleasing displays, but also on purposefully showcasing products based on consumer behavior, target markets and a comprehensive understanding of addressing pain points. Additionally, the series covered the concepts of symmetry and incorporating sensory driven displays.

The participating entrepreneurs had an opportunity to put their new knowledge to use by showcasing tables at the event and competing for a cash prize. Using their new visual merchandising skills gained through the cohort program, one entrepreneur was able to transform their bread baking side hustle into a legal business that launched at the event. The event was attended by California Assembly Majority Leader Eloise Gómez Reyes, who handed out certificates of participation to all small business owners to celebrate their success. Additionally, two business owners were selected to receive a grant sponsored by Chase for Business and AmPac Business Capital. 

The Jimenez Sisters Ranch, run by Michele Jimenez and her three daughters, won first prize for their display. They sell handcrafted goat milk soaps, lotions and creams produced with Nigerian Dwarf goat milk. The second prize winner was Arte Mar97, run by artist Dulce Perez whose hand-painted pieces are inspired by Día de los Muertos. Additional participants include:

With the success of this Pop-Up Market, Jessica plans to continue her work to empower diverse small business owners through additional cohort programs. She says, "Every small business owner has a unique story, and it has become my passion to continue creating educational opportunities that teach our independent entrepreneurs lifelong skills.”

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