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Thoroughfare providing new opportunities for small businesses in West Palm Beach

Outdoor pop-up shops provide safe shopping environment
Thoroughfare elevation.
Posted at 10:28 AM, Dec 17, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-18 11:28:56-05

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — If you're concerned about shopping inside a store during the pandemic, then a new open-air market may be just what you're looking for.

It's called Thoroughfare, a community offering a safe space for shoppers and an opportunity for small business owners.

"We are popping up on a porch," said Sherryl Muriente, manager of urban placemaking for the West Palm Beach Downtown Development Authority.

Pop-up shops in downtown West Palm Beach giving small businesses opportunities they haven't had before.

"Thoroughfare is a really creative, adapted way to reuse a very large space on our main street," said Raphael Clemente, executive director of the DDA.

Vendors like Robert Bodwell, who works for Oceana Coffee, get a piece of their own brick-and-mortar shops on Clematis Street.

"Things like Thoroughfare is a great way to attract those dollars to local businesses in shopping small," said Bodwell.

There are lot of different types of businesses, like Grow, which makes living walls for home offices.

"And we like to convert black thumbs into green thumbs," said CEO and founder Amy Simion.

There's also a fitness business targeting people who aren't comfortable going inside gyms because of the coronavirus.

"So having a physical location like thoroughfare has here, allows me to at least have credibility with all the people walking by," said Dionel Sylvester, CEO and founder of Hopper Fit.

Thoroughfare was in the works before the pandemic but now the timing is just right.

"A lot of people that come visit us and they don't feel uncomfortable because it is out in the open," said Jessica Cummings, owner of Odd Fellows West Palm Beach.

"It's kinda like having a storefront but without the glass," said Muriente.

"We are a collection of small businesses that [are] going to eventually open up shop in the space behind us," said Simion.

Eventually, Thoroughfare will take up the old Woolworth Five and Dime store built in the 1910s.

But, for now, vendors want you to know "We're Open South Florida" Thursday through Sunday.