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Pop-Up Shops

FAQs for Potential Business Owners

What is a pop-up?

A temporary store or shop, open for no more than six months, which sells merchandise or food. Pop-ups create short-term stores and/or restaurants that utilize vacant property or serve a temporary need/use.

Why pop-ups?

Pop-up stores are a way for business owners to launch a new product, test a business idea or market, gauge interest in their product, and vet a business idea or location before investing in a permanent space.

What are the benefits of having pop-ups in Norfolk?

  1. To provide a visible presence in Norfolk for local and regional retail establishments
  2. To highlight available vacant properties and create opportunity for potential long-term leases
  3. Reduce start-up costs for entrepreneurs by leasing temporary space
  4. To provide an opportunity for retail incubators or micro-business development

How do I start a pop-up shop?

  1. Identify a potential location.
  2. Contact the property owner for permission to utilize the space for a pop-up shop.
  3. Obtain written approval from the property owner. Develop an agreement regarding rentalcosts, utilities, hours of operation and any other terms of the short-term use of space.
  4. Comply with insurance requirements as stipulated by the building owner and/or Virginia State Law.
  5. Complete a 1-page zoning permit application and submit to the City of Norfolk Planning Department in person at 810 Union Street (City Hall) in downtown (5th floor),or by phone at (757) 664-4752. Planning will review all applications and contact applicant with any questions. Application must include a conceptual floor plan, a list of all participating businesses and details of parking (see application for more details).
  6. Pop-up shops that serve food will be required to obtain permits from the City of Norfolk Health Department and the Norfolk Fire Marshall’s Office. All applicants are subject to the regulations and final approval of these offices. Please allow 4-6 weeks for final approval from all respective departments.
  7. Upon closing, business owners must notify Commissioner of Revenue’s office.

The City of Norfolk is excited about the opportunities provided by pop-up shops in the city. We look forward to hearing your ideas and business plans. While the City will serve strictly as the permitting agency, we hope you will enjoy your experience and decide to become a permanent business owner in the City of Norfolk. For questions or assistance, please contact the City of Norfolk Planning Department at (757)664-4752.

Norfolk Department of Economic Development Mission

Generate wealth for the City of Norfolk through business expansion, enhancement, and new business development complementary to our neighborhoods.

Contact Info

(757) 664-4338
999 Waterside Drive
Suite 2430
Norfolk, VA 23510

Staff Details

Jared Chalk
Interim Economic Development Director 

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