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Akron's Northside Market Offers Space for Small Startups

Mark Arehart

A new shopping space in downtown Akron set to open next month is betting big on small businesses.

How much space does a new business need? A few hundred square feet, maybe more? In the soon-to-open Northside Marketplace, startups who don’t need an entire storefront can go really, really small.

“One of the tenants is Not Yo’ Daddy’s Salsa, which is an awesome local salsa company which will be leasing a shelf in the Marketplace," The Knight Foundation's Kyle Kutuchief said. 

Northside Marketplace is a collaboration between the Knight Foundation, Downtown Akron Partnership, and developer Testa Companies.

Startups can lease as little as a single shelf, save on overhead and focus on getting things off the ground. In fact Kutuchief said most of the 35 startups in the Marketplace will share the same point of sale system. So you could grab some hot sauce from one company and maybe some honey from another and pay for it all in a single transaction.

The space offers a mix of larger, more traditional storefronts, too, with Rubber City Clothing and Dirty River Bicycle Works already open.

The concept of low-cost shared retail is a new one for the area and the Downtown Akron Partnership hopes it will turn the Northside Marketplace into a major shopping destination.

Mark Arehart joined the award-winning WKSU news team as its arts/culture reporter in 2017. Before coming to Northeast Ohio, Arehart hosted Morning Edition and covered the arts scene for Delaware Public Media. He previously worked for KNKX in Seattle, Kansas Public Radio, and KYUK in Bethel, Alaska.