M&T Bank Pop-Up Shop Highlights Small Businesses
Leisha’s Bakeria has called Bijou Square in downtown Bridgeport home for the past eight years, offering customers who walk through the door a selection of sandwiches, pot pies, and baked goods.
Thanks to a new initiative by M&T Bank, owner Leisha Young is bringing in a new wave of customers.
As part of Connecticut’s first M&T spotlight shop, the bank gave Leisha’s Bakeria temporary real estate in a 240-square foot space within Bridgeport’s Captain’s Cove.
The concept allows businesses to use a pop-up space in a popular area of their community for two-week segments.
“The Spotlight Shop is a symbol of our unwavering support of small business owners,” M&T’s Bridgeport regional president Frank Micalizzi said.
“As one of the leading SBA lenders in Connecticut, we are committed to helping small businesses grow, create jobs and uplift our community.”
M&T Bank launched the pop-up shop concept in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor in 2019.
While the pandemic forced the program to go virtual, the bank has brought the program back to Connecticut.
The shop will move from Captain’s Cove to other high-traffic locations in the state for other businesses to use in the coming months.
“The spotlight shop is a unique way to showcase small businesses in Connecticut and help them grow,” CBIA president and CEO Chris DiPentima said.
“CBIA is pleased to see M&T Bank facilitating this program to give local businesses more exposure.”
In its first day in the space, Young said the bakery sold out of its offerings. By the second day, there was another line of people purchasing baked goods.
“For it to be such a big bank, I think it’s a great opportunity for them to think about the small people,” Young said.
She hopes customers who discovered her in Captain’s Cove will choose to go to her location in Bridgeport in the future when they want sweets or a quick lunch.
El Coquito, a family-owned Puerto Rican restaurant, is slated to be the next business to occupy the space.
From there, the spotlight shop will move to another community in Connecticut.
“It’s really important to our community to lift up these small businesses and give them an opportunity,” state Sen. Marilyn Moore (D-Bridgeport) said.
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