Small Business Storefront Activations

The COVID-19 pandemic has left significant increases in commercial corridor vacancy rates across the City. Brick and mortar businesses that rely on foot traffic to drive sales were particularly harmed as commercial corridors across the city saw major reductions in economic activity. Participants in 2023 Storefront Activation Program, known as “grantees”, will work with small business owners and landlords to provide rapid relief to small businesses by designing and implementing vacant storefront activations on commercial corridors.

Through this RFP, the City will identify community and economic development organizations that will be responsible for identifying vacant storefronts in commercial corridors, negotiating short-term leases with landlords, sourcing local small businesses for pop-up activations, managing preparation and operations for the space, and providing ongoing support to small businesses operating pop-up stores. These activations will strengthen and leverage the economic and social links between downtown and surrounding neighborhoods and will draw additional foot traffic to commercial corridors. 


To view this RFP, visit the City’s eProcurement website and search by RFP #9649.  All submissions must be completed by October 13, 2023. Those interested in learning more about this opportunity can register for the pre-submittal conference on October 3 at 11:00am. The pre-submittal conference is optional but highly encouraged.

Questions may be emailed to: 

2022 Small Business Storefront Activation Program previous grantees: 

  • 18th Street Development Corp 
  • Austin Chamber of Commerce 
  • Chicago Loop Alliance 
  • East Edgewater Chamber of Commerce 
  • Far South Community Development Corporation 
  • Greater Chatham Initiative 
  • Greater Englewood Chamber Foundation 
  • Greater Southwest Development Corp 
  • Lakeview Roscoe Village Chamber of Commerce 
  • Lincoln Park Chamber of Commerce 
  • Magnificent Mile Association 
  • North River Commission 
  • Northwest Side CDC 
  • Puerto Rican Cultural Center 
  • Rogers Park Business Alliance 
  • South Shore Chamber Community Development Corporation 
  • Southeast Chicago Chamber