Pop ups setting the stage for Calgary business success

Thanks to improved and streamlined business support offered by The City of Calgary, Marion Smolinski says rushing to open her Halloween pop-up shop wasn’t so scary.

Timing is everything for Halloween Alley, a temporary retail holiday store which only opens its doors for seven weeks between mid-September to the first week of November.

In a bid to make it easier for business owners to open The City is eliminating lengthy approval processes and licensing restrictions by approving pop-up and interim businesses in all commercial areas.

“Everybody I worked with at The City was really great; they made this whole process really easy and they relieved a lot of stress for me, too. The window closes really quickly for this kind of business,” said Smolinski of her seasonal costume and prop store. “Everything moved fast and it was super stress free for us.”

Streamlining pop up shop approvals is just one way The City of Calgary’s new Business and Local Economy Program is already providing business support and reducing barriers to success. The new program is aimed at cutting red tape by streamlining processes, reducing the cost to do business and enhancing communication with businesses.

To encourage entrepreneurs, The City is also removing approvals and fees for businesses that "pop-up" in a building for four days or less, helping them test the waters for a future in business.

“We want our business community to see us not as regulators, but as facilitators,” said Program Lead for Business and Local Economy Sonya Sharp. “For pop up businesses, we made it easier by allowing those innovative businesses that are not yet lucrative to start something new. We want you to be successful so we came up with a very simple, innovative way to reduce the barriers to allow that to happen.”

The most important priority for business owners is saving time and money, and if The City can work towards achieving what matters for business owners that’s the best way we can help our local businesses,” said Sharp. “We hear you and we’re listening and we’re going to do the best we can to help existing and new businesses and those who are moving to grow and be successful.”

In his presentation to Council Oct. 7, City Manager David Duckworth outlined his plan for economic recovery. An important part of Calgary’s comeback is making it easier for businesses to do business in Calgary. Through continuous improvements, we’re committed to our economic recovery to make life better every day for citizens, customers, communities and businesses.

To learn more about how The City can help you with a pop up, visit our live chat at or call 5311.

For more information on what The City is doing to support businesses, visit