GARDINER, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- Economic officials in Gardiner have started a new program to quickly fill vacant storefronts downtown, and provide a boost in business in time for the holiday season.
The "pop-up" business program started just a few weeks ago, and it allows stores to move in with free rent downtown for the next two months.
City officials and landlords came to an agreement to allow the stores to move without paying rent to create a buzz about downtown. Organizers say the goals of the program are to increase foot traffic downtown, and to bring more locally owned businesses to the area to bolster sales this holiday season.
"We think downtown can be a place for everyone. We've got a whole range of items, both for folks who may not be able to afford full retail price, as well as those who want to buy something nicer for themselves," Gardiner Main Street Director Patrick Wright said.
The businesses that are part of the program are locally owned, and sell everything from clothing and jewelry to consignment stores with used and hand-made goods.
Economic officials are hopeful the program will entice the pop-up businesses to stay long-term, even after the two months are over.