Proper Shops Brings Flex Retail to Downtown Tucson
Proper Shops, a new flex retail space for local businesses, opens on Dec. 3 at the popular intersection of Congress Street and 5th Avenue. With room for over 20 small boutiques, Proper Shops gives emerging artists and online merchants the ability to sell in a brick-and-mortar setting without having to sign a costly, long-term commercial lease downtown.
The community-focused model also emphasizes providing a supportive and synergistic environment for businesses to grow and thrive together.
Krystal Popov, founder of The L Offices, a flexible office space, recognized the need for flex retail when numerous merchants and artists came into the offices hoping to find retail space. This need drove Popov to team up with Tracy Nicasio and create Proper Shops. Located at one of downtown’s busiest intersections, it has over 20 boutique spaces, a built-in bar, and multiple patio areas which will host live music, events, and more.
“There are many incredible restaurants and bars on Congress, but there aren’t very many retail spaces,” said Popov. “For many retailers, opening a shop by themselves downtown can seem nearly impossible. This concept lowers the risk for new businesses and merchants that want to expand downtown and allows them to focus instead on vital aspects of entrepreneurship like growing their brand and connecting with the community around them.”
The current list of local merchants and artists at Proper Shops includes:
- Willows Bazaar Boutique: A loveable shopping space, curated with trendy styles for every adventure and life’s most memorable moments.
- The Bra Spa: The place to go for all things undergarments including bras, panties, lingerie, and pajamas – both for function and fashion.
- Mineral Artisan, Stone and Steel: One-of-a-kind art and home decor using stones and steel.
- Volitional Health 365: A metaphysical crystal shop with a crystal-infused natural beauty line, wire-wrapped jewelry, and one-on-one intuitive crystal guidance sessions.
- Heart of Earth Collective: Collective creators bringing art from the heart of the earth and offering a variety of unique jewelry, rare gems, crystals, and original paintings.
- The Tucson Gallery: A small gallery supporting local artists Joe Pagac, Sean Parker, Jessica Gonzales, Ignacio Garcia, Julie Bonner, Jeff Brack, and Amy Lynn Bumpus.
- Cactus Jack Beverage Company: Offering a variety of espresso, specialty coffee drinks, boba teas, and craft lemonades.
- Flirte Beauty: Your perfect lip color is our “flirté” little secret! Clean, vegan, and cruelty-free products for your lips and locks.
- Desert Mariposa, The Boho West Boutique: A women’s apparel and handbag destination with the Southwestern flare of the Old Pueblo.
- Theguywhodancesoncongress(TGWDOC Shop): A brand started by theguywhodancesoncongress whose main focus is spreading positivity.
- Braided Chain Designs: A wide range of handmade jewelry using beautiful gemstones, crystals, and glass beads wrapped with non-tarnish metals and base metals.
- Reap & Sow : A green beauty, well-being apothecary and zero-waste eco-boutique of thoughtfully curated wellness products and planet-friendly goods with 350+ brands.
- Sport Class Customs: A lifetime woodworking hobby turned business.
“We were immediately on board as soon as we learned The Proper Shops were coming to Downtown Tucson,” said Tony Ray Baker of The Tucson Gallery. “This is the perfect retail, co-op type space to bring The Tucson Gallery and its vision to light. From here we will share the works of Tucson‘s local artists with the world!”
The grand opening weekend is Dec. 3-4 and will allow guests to discover and shop at the various boutiques inside. Local beers and wines will be served from the interior bar and an outdoor market will have a variety of smaller vendors along with food and drinks like specialty lemonades, boba tea, and coffees. Live music from local favorites Touch of Grey, Little House of Funk, and more will be playing on the back patio all weekend.
“Our goal is to create an energetic and fun environment where our retailers feel supported and our customers feel like family when they walk through the doors,” said Nicasio. “We plan to have a variety of exciting events, live music, weekend fairs, and more – as well as charity events for many of the incredible non-profits that we have right here in Tucson! We can’t wait to share all the fun things we have planned!”