In an effort to improve the local business climate, Kimco Realty has unveiled a new initiative. The company announced on March 19 that it has launched Pop It Up Here!, a new program to enable entrepreneurs to test the retail waters by taking short-term leases at locations among the properties owned by Kimco. Wilton is one of six markets where Kimco is rolling out the new venture. The others are Denver, Dallas, San Francisco, Phoenix, and Bellevue, Wash. There are four properties immediately available here, three in Wilton River Park \u2014 although one is currently occupied \u2014 and one in the Wilton Campus, both on River Road. Wilton River Park is the plaza that includes Stop & Shop. The Wilton Campus property was formerly occupied by Chou Chou. While pop-up stores are not new to Wilton \u2014 they are popular during the winter holidays at Wilton Historical Society, and a pop-up art gallery appeared in Cannondale Village in 2014 \u2014 they appear to be a growing trend in retail. A press release from Kimco references the National Retail Federation and Forrester\u2019s recent State of Retailing Online study, which shows that 24% of online and brick-and-mortar retailers are testing pop-up stores. \u201cMany retailers find the freedom of a shorter-term lease appealing,\u201d David Jamieson, chief operating officer of Kimco Realty, said in the release. \u201cPop-up shops have become a way for retailers to test market ideas, create a customer following, or transition from clicks to bricks without the liability of a long-term lease.\u201d Wilton opportunities Kimco thought Wilton would be an ideal location because the majority of its tenants are local business owners with one or a few outlets in Fairfield County, Amy Daniels, leasing representative for Wilton, told The Bulletin in a conference call on Monday. \u201cA lot of times when starting a new business, people are coming from home or have seen other [pop-up stores],\u201d she said. \u201cWe thought Wilton would benefit from the opportunity to do a test run pop-up shop at the center. \u2026 We thought it would be a good way to engage the community, a good way for someone to make use of a space while looking for a long-term solution.\u201d Christina McNelis, director of portfolio management and one of the program\u2019s creators at Kimco, was also in on the call. \u201cOne of the goals is to generate excitement for the shopping centers and the community,\u201d she said. \u201cIf we can lease some spaces to pop-ups, it might be for a weekend, and in a month another comes in \u2014 it adds more life to the center. There is no limit to how short a lease can be, McNelis said. \u201cYou can take a lease for just a day to promote a brand or sell a product. Every short-term lease is taken on a case-by-case basis \u2014 from a weekend to months.\u201d The units that are being marketed as available are move-in ready, McNelis said. If a potential tenant \u201ccalled us today and said we would like to have a pop-up store in one week, we wouldn\u2019t have to paint or change carpet,\u201d she said, adding that if someone were interested in an empty space that was not so designated, it would not be ruled out. For the larger space that\u2019s available, McNelis said, it can be sectioned off with dividers if a business didn\u2019t need the whole space. Daniels acknowledged the retail industry is changing. \u201cSome categories are having a tougher time than others, such as apparel and accessories,\u201d she said. \u201cThere\u2019s vacancy in the market. That\u2019s why we\u2019re starting these creative programs in Wilton.\u201d Kimco is investing more money in marketing, she said, and seeing positive results. \u201cWe\u2019re working on filling it up. We hope to keep the positive momentum going and grow the center.\u201d \u201cAnd promote local business growth as well,\u201d McNelis said. \u201cWe\u2019re hoping it will be beneficial for the community.\u201d Pop It Up Here! is a product of Kimco\u2019s LABS (Leaders Advancing Business Strategy) program, the company\u2019s entrepreneurial idea incubator and leadership development program, launched in 2015.