Start Your Business in Bessemer!

With the City of Bessemer Pop-Up Shop Program, there's no reason to not start your new business venture right here in Bessemer!  The City of Bessemer Downtown Development Authority is giving new businesses the opportunity to get their business off the ground with up to 3 months of free rental assistance (up to $500 per month) followed up with up to 6 months of 50% rental assistance on locations within most of the commercial areas in Bessemer.  Now is the perfect time to get your business off the ground! Contact Samantha at 906-663-4311 or samantha.dorr@cityofbessemer.org to get your business started!

Pop-Up Program Benefits

  • Up to 3-Months 100% Rent Reimbursement (up to $500/month) followed up by up to 6-months 50% Rent Reimbursement at a location in the Bessemer Downtown District
  • 1:1 matching funds for improvements to the building
  • Prime downtown locations
  • Connection with Small Business Development Center for business assistance
  • Connection with Michigan State University - Extension for business assistance pertaining to food products
  • Connection with other local efforts and funding
  • Continued assistance through regular checkins every three months during the program period
  • People purchasing a building and opening a business may also qualify for assistance


Contact the City

Wondering what to do?  The best way is to get in touch with us.  Give Samantha Dorr a call at 906-663-4311 or email samantha.dorr@cityofbessemer.org to get things started.  Even if you aren't quite sure yet and just want to know more, we'd love to talk.

Create a Business Plan

The Bessemer DDA will review your business plan to see what you're all about.  Don't worry, we're not going to nitpick every detail.  We do recommend working with the Michigan Small Business Development Center (https://sbdcmichigan.org/) to craft your business plan and get you off on the right foot.  They have templates and resources for new businesses and will walk you through the whole process!

Find a Location

To get the rental assistance, of course you need a place to rent.  You'll need to find a place in the Bessemer Downtown District.  We are happy to help suggest some open storefronts that work out and if there's a place you have been eyeing up, let us know and we can help you work with the owners.

Present the Plan to the DDA

You will be invited to attend a Downtown Development Authority meeting where you will have the opportunity to present your business idea and plan to the board.  Don't worry though, it's a pretty laid-back group, but we just want to know more about what you plan to do in the City of Bessemer.  The board will discuss your plan and vote on providing the funding.

Provide Your Receipts to the City

After you have been approved and are in your new location, just provide your rent receipts to the city and we will happily reimburse the agreed upon amounts.  The same goes for building improvement assistance.  We will provide up to $500 cash match for improvements.  That means you can invest $1000 into your place and we'll cover half.  Again, just provide the receipts and we'll reimburse you.

Build a Successful Business

We want to see you succeed in your business ventures.  We can only provide a certain amount of cash to get you going, but would love to continue to help your business grow and prosper in our city.  It's the small business owners like you that make a small city thrive and we look forward to having you become a part of our business community.

Past Pop-Up Shop Program Businesses

  • Platinum Dance Studio
  • Fluff & Go Pet Grooming
  • Into the Woods Thrift Store
  • Advocate Counseling
  • 906 Web Studios
  • Harju Repair
  • High River Wood Products
  • Yellow Umbrella/Remember These Antiques
  • Trout Lily Art & Design
  • Mel's Cuts

Frequently Asked Questions

Who is eligible to participate in the Pop-Up Shop Program?

Any business looking to start for the first time or a business that has been a home based business and is looking to grow beyond their home. Chains or other businesses looking to put a location in Bessemer do not qualify.

How much can I receive in assistance?

The City of Bessemer Downtown Development Authority will provide up to 6 moths of rental assistance at a maximum of $500 per month ($3000 total). $500 of assistance can be requested for building improvements on a 1 to 1 cash match.

What kind of businesses do you fund?

We fund commercial businesses that are new or are expanding from home-based businesses to a commercial site. We have funded automotive repair to pet groomers to dance studios to stores selling merchandise.

How do I find a location to rent? What areas of the city are eligible?

Most commercial areas within the City of Bessemer are eligible.  This includes South Sophie Street, adjacent blocks of Mary Street, and locations along Highway US2.  If you need help finding a location in these areas, let us know, we are glad to put you in touch with some building owners who are looking to rent space.  You can contact us for updated locations that may be available at 906-663-4311 or samantha.dorr@cityofbessemer.org

How do I get started making a business plan? What are the requirements?

We don't put strict guidelines on the business plans, we just want to know what you plan to do and how you plan to succeed.  We do recommend working with the Michigan Small Business Development Center (https://sbdcmichigan.org/) to get started.  They will walk you through the creation of a business plan, provide templates and resources, and will continue working with you as you grown your business.