The first sign for the city’s iConnect project went up on Trumbull Street today, near the XL Center. The vacant storefront is expected to be filled with a pop-up studio, where WNPR will sometimes broadcast its “Where We Live” and “The Colin McEnroe Show” programs.
If you haven’t heard of iConnect, it’s a program that seeks to establish businesses for an eight-month trial period in hopes that they will be successful enough to remain open permanently.
In April, after reviewing more than 40 applications, the city selected as its winners Hartford Prints, a family-run paper goods store and studio; National Exhibitions and Archives, a pop-up museum and print-on-demand gallery; Farm Shop, an urban farm hub that will sell organic food and supplies; and Natural Dogs and Cats, a pet store selling dog and cat food.
Additionally, WNPR was chosen to occupy the storefront on Trumbull Street. It will share the location with a co-work space designed to attract entrepreneurs and people from the business community who could benefit from a group setting.
The city is also working to bring a pop-up marketplace to Trumbull Street, called Handmade Hartford, which will sell items made by local artists.
iConnect is partly funded by a $100,000 grant from a state program working to draw more people into cities and towns through arts and cultural activities. The city is contributing $65,000 toward the effort as part of its federal grant matching program.
The shop owners will qualify for free or reduced rent, plus a subsidy for utility bills.