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Duluth's new pop-up shops include an 'escape room' and hockey store

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Downtown Duluth will have six new stores this holiday season, including boutiques, a hockey-themed store, a photography shop and an "escape room."

The Greater Downtown Council’s pop-up shop program is back for a third year in its effort to fill vacant storefronts during the busy holiday shopping season.

Here's a look at the shops:

  • UMD Stores: University of Minnesota Duluth will bring its merchandise store back for the third year. The UMD Store will feature Bulldog-themed apparel and gifts at 207 West Superior St.
  • Ryan Tischer Photography: The pop-up gallery at 5 West Superior St. will feature never-before-exhibited images and an end-of-year sale. Tischer has been a professional landscape photographer since 2008.
  • SolveEnt: This "live action entertainment" business at 408 W. Superior St. will be the first "escape room" in Duluth, where participants must work together to solve puzzles within a set timeframe in order to escape the room and win the game.
  • Pichardo Boutique: A boutique in the skywalk of the Holiday Center will sell trendy, vintage and contemporary apparel that's new or pre-owned. The store will feature clothing for women between the ages of 19-45.
  • Integral Hockey Twin Ports: The hockey-themed store in the skywalk of the Holiday Center repairs composite hockey sticks and re-sells them for less They also use sticks that can't be repaired to make things like picture frames, bottle openers and grill tools. It'll also sell other hockey-related items.
  • Whimsy: A boutique at 136 West First St. will sell children's clothing, gifts and decor items from smaller designers. It will also feature a resale area for new and gently used clothes.

The council debuted the pop-up program in 2013 when there were 13 vacant shops lining Superior Street. After what was deemed a successful stint, the program returned last year with four shops.

This year, 10 applicants applied for the open storefronts, the Duluth News Tribune says, which are being offered rent-free for two or three months, plus utilities, with interested businesses required to open in the space for Small Business Saturday on Nov. 28 and remain open until at least Jan. 9, 2016.

This program gives retailers the chance to test the market in the downtown area. The Greater Downtown Council hopes the pop-up shops will have enough holiday success that they’ll open up a store downtown year-round.

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