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Italian food and frames among seven businesses to pop up in Shreveport

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Seven new businesses open today in downtown Shreveport as part of the second Pop UP Project, organized by Shreveport’s Downtown Development Authority to spark interest in downtown retail development. The emerging businesses receive free rent for two weeks as way for them to try out their venture in a brick and mortar storefront.

Christa Free grew up in Italy and has dreamed of opening an Italian market all her life. The 43-year-old recently moved to Benton, La., to care for her mother after many years running a hospital business office in Dallas. She says the Pop UP could give her a glimpse of her future with her new company, Baked.

“When I lived in Italy, if we wanted fish I went to the fish markets that morning. Or, I went down and dug clams out of the sand myself. I went to the bread store every day. I’m really into fresh and natural food and the health benefits that go along with that,” Free said.

Mooringsport, La., resident Shelley Hoppaugh stumbled upon her cottage industry a decade ago when she was trying to find the best place in her house to display a framed picture of her baby. She wished the frame could glow.

“We live under quite a few trees, so it’s very dark. Every place that I moved it, it just didn’t look right. I took some things I had laying around the house -- actual Christmas lights -- and I incorporated them into the frame,” Hoppaugh said.

Today, Hoppaugh’s LED frames are patent pending and sold through her company Global Images, LLC. Her 11x14 frames come in white or coloring changing with a remote control.

Christa Free has already been up for hours baking bread for Monday’s opening at 10 a.m. She’ll also be selling five different kinds of torts called galettes, eggplant parmesan, lasagna rolls, Tuscan soups and pastries.

The Pop UPs will be open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays from Sept. 22 through Oct. 3. They’re located at 616 Texas Street that features a new “parklet.” It’s a mini grassy space created outside the building.

The Downtown Pop UP Project is made possible by downtown partners Citizens National Bank, Tipitina’s Foundation, Shreveport Public Assembly and Recreation, Downtown Shreveport Development Corporation and Downtown Development Authority.

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