NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — Norfolk has opened the doors for its first ever “retail incubator.”
The Selden Market opened Wednesday morning following a ceremony at the Selden Arcade.
The market will feature 12 start-up tenants, alongside seven pop-up businesses. The shops sell coffee, clothing, toys, and gifts — among other things.
Officials say the idea of the market is to create a spot for new or emerging businesses to test out their products in a low-risk environment.
Derek Shaw of Werther Leather Goods had been selling his merchandise online before moving in to one of the storefronts.
Photos: Selden Market opens its doors
“We’re really excited, having all the people here, being connected to The Main and then the Slover,” he said, referring to the new hotel and library. “It’s a great spot downtown. It’s really exciting.”
Rakiyt Zakari, who opened Food Clothing & Shelter in one of the storefronts, will be offering handmade goods and snacks from around the world.
“It’s a tactile place where you can touch people and you can really explain to them the product, and they give us a lot of education on building our business. It’s a great place for startups. It’s a great place to just really cut your teeth in retail,” she said.
An electrical fire and explosion heavily damaged the Selden Arcade in 2015. After the explosion, Phillip Decker’s restaurant, D’Egg Diner, suffered as foot traffic came to a halt.
“You cannot sugarcoat this. It’s been the roughest experience of my adult life, and the light literally is at the end of the tunnel. You can kind of see it,” Decker said.
Like his new neighbors, he’s optimistic.
“We’re in position A, in between two conference centers. It doesn’t really get much better than this, you know, so welcome to Norfolk,” he said.
A grand opening celebration set for Saturday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.