Mayor Emanuel Launches First Of Its Kind Pop-Up License

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‘The Woodlawn’ In Avalon Park Will Become The First Chicago Business To Utilize New Pop Up Program, Will Host A Rotating Cast Of Pop Up Chefs Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Business Affairs and Consumer Protection (BACP) Commissioner Rosa Escareño today announced that the new Pop Up License is now available for entrepreneurs and property owners. The innovative and business-friendly new license type supports citywide efforts to fill vacant stores and invigorate neighborhoods with new businesses. “Chicago is full of the most innovative and hard-working business owners in the world,” said Mayor Emanuel. “This initiative adds to the options for people looking to find success and contribute to Chicago’s thriving business community.”

Entrepreneurs looking to operate as a pop-up can now obtain an affordable, easy-to-get, pop-up user license. Users will have the option of receiving a 5-, 30-, 90-, 180-, or 365-day license, depending on their business activity for $25 to $150 depending on length of activity and without on-site inspection. User licenses are not tied to a location, so the holder can “pop-up” in different venues during the length of the license and operate all around the city.

“This Pop-Up User license gives entrepreneurs the flexibility to test drive their product or concept in different city neighborhoods for short-term periods of time,” said BACP Commissioner Escareño, “Business owners have been asking for this license and we listened! Thank you to our partners for their help in getting the good news out to the community.”

“The Woodlawn is a space designed to give chefs, cooks, restaurateurs and caterers the opportunity to “pop-up” and operate a brick and mortar retail restaurant as their very own, without the overhead and expenses of a permanent location,” said Donnell Digby, owner of The Woodlawn which has hosted artists and non-traditional businesses since last summer. “Entrepreneurs will
have the unique opportunity to further their initiatives by providing the community with a variety of cuisines and dining experiences.”

In this Wednesday, June 1, 2016 photo, customers eat at pop-up restaurant Saved by the Max in Chicago. A vacant restaurant space in Chicago’s Wicker Park neighborhood has become a replica of The Max, the fictitious hangout from the TV sitcom “Saved by the Bell.” (AP Photo/Terry Tang) ORG XMIT: NYLS204

Building owners and new entrepreneurs have the opportunity to create a business devoted specifically to hosting pop-ups through an easy to acquire pop-up host license. This new license will bring vibrancy to our neighborhoods by filling vacant storefronts and providing more and varied retail options to all Chicagoans. Hosts also have the option of receiving a 5-, 30-, 90-, 180-, or 365- day license, depending on their business activity for $150 to $330 depending on length of activity and without on-site inspection.

“The pop-up license provides budding entrepreneurs an opportunity to test their business model while also affording established business owners the opportunity to try the South Shore community as a location,” said Tonya Trice, Executive Director of the South Shore Chamber of Commerce. “I am thrilled Business Affairs and Consumer Protection has expanded the framework to allow for this innovative and creative business model in the city of Chicago.”

BACP has partnered with Quad Communities Development Corporation and Greater Southwest Development Corporation to present a series of trainings for hundreds of property owners and entrepreneurs throughout the city on the new pop-up license The next training is scheduled for December 4th at Truman College from 9:00 am – 11:00 am.

This Pop Up License is part of slate of small business initiatives that Mayor Emanuel announced at the end of April to lift the regulatory burden on Chicago’s entrepreneurs, simplify the licensing process and reduce the burden of inspections. In June, the Mayor created a start-up license fee, allowing all new Limited Business Licensees to obtain a 2-year license for a 1-year price. Since this program rolled out on July 1st, the license issuance rate has increased by 13%! Additionally, starting this winter, Sidewalk Café permit holders will be able to operate year-round at no additional cost.

To learn more about the Sidewalk Café 365 program visit our website at: [Link Forthcoming] These new initiatives are part of the Mayor’s ongoing commitment to make small business growth and community development a priority of his administration, highlighted by the following

• Numerous license fees have been reduced, benefitting 10,000 business owners.
• License Reform has cut the total number of business licenses from 117 to 40.
• Inspection Streamlining has reduced the number of inspections for more than 2,000
businesses and helped businesses open an average of 30 days faster.
• The Restaurant Startup Program has more than doubled health inspection passage rates
and helped participating restaurants open an average of 45 days earlier.
• Today more than 70 delegate agencies bring indispensable business support to the
• More than $11 million has been invested in 108 South and West Side businesses through
the Neighborhood Opportunity Fund and Retail Thrive Zones programs.

In addition to the recently announced small business initiatives, the City is also planning to continue to invest millions of dollars directly into hundreds of businesses on the South and West Sides through the Neighborhood Opportunity Fund and Retail Thrive Zones Initiative. For more details on the Pop-Up business licenses, check out the BACP website.