Much like the small pop-up shops in Muskegon, Michigan (our 2018 Strongest Town winner), Berwyn effectively lowers the bar to entry for business owners and is a more cost-effective investment for the community. One lesson we learned from Muskegon is you know you’re doing something right when the community responds. Since the beginning of this project, Berwyn has involved the community and the community has responded and taken the initiative to engage and support the efforts in creating a people-centered place.
Before the official opening weekend, the community wanted to be involved in building up the shops. About 80 individuals assisted in painting the small buildings before the area was open to the public. They met the vendors and the whispers of what was being constructed on Roosevelt Road quickly turned into excitement for the community as a whole.
“It’s wild how many people ended up being out there on Friday and this weekend,” Shaw said in reference to the shop’s first opening on June 3, 2022, which lasted through Sunday. Until mid-December when they close to make space for new vendors, Berwyn shops will continue to open on the weekends.
Shaw spoke about how the shops were non-stop busy the first day, and two vendors completely sold out of all products by the end of the weekend rush.
“People were ready to come out, they’d heard about it and wanted to be involved as much as they could,” said Shaw.