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The Chicago Sun Times reports that the city’s mayor, Rahm Emanuel, is implementing what is described as “an innovative plan to allow aspiring chefs and new retailers to test their concepts in vacant restaurants and storefronts.”

The concept is called Pop-Up Permitting, and it hinges on “an ordinance that will allow restaurants and retailers now required to purchase a two-year license to, instead, choose a license as short as five days. City Hall will also offer pop-up licenses for 30, 90, 180 or 365 days.

“The price will be a bargain, compared to the cost of a two-year license. No on-site inspection will be required. The user license won’t even be tied to a location. That means the license holder can ‘roam’ during the length of the license and operate all around the city.”

In supporting the concept, Illinois Restaurant Association President Sam Toia says that “young chefs are coming to Chicago because it’s still more cost-effective than to go to San Francisco, New York or even New Orleans. They want to see will their cuisine take off here … Say I’m a young chef who doesn’t really have the capital. If I do a pop-up, then I might get investors because they’ll say, `Wow, this is gonna work’.”
KC's View:
I have to say that I love this notion … and it seems to me that it could end up being a way to fertilize a lot of retail and food-oriented innovation. Good for Chicago. Other cities should take note, and do their best to provide a n nurturing environment for small and innovative entrepreneurs.