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Sundance Square program looks to help businesses bounce back during tough economic times

January 3,2023

See full Fox 4 News article by Dionne Anglin here.

Small businesses across the country were damaged by the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, with many people turning to online stores to do their shopping.

Now Fort Worth's Sundance Square is looking to change that with its next big idea.

"It’s going to be a mock-up right here and this will be a workshop space. We’re also going to offer classes where people can come and do their own upcycling projects," said local artist Tshaner Sefas.

She is excited about sizing up her business future in Sundance Square.

Her passion and skill involve turning recycled paper into almost any form of visual art.

"Over time I expanded into more, so I’m doing bowls, vases, trays, really big art pieces," Sefas said.

She was one of several small business owners who applied and were selected to receive a storefront in Downtown Fort Worth.

Sundance Square came up with the pilot program to help the district rebound from the pandemic and changing economic landscape which forced some businesses to shutter.

Until now she has marketed herself on social media and at festivals, in the meantime, she's looking forward to her big opportunity in Downtown Fort Worth.

"This whole journey with my business, it’s kind of just been me figuring things out, figuring out what works, what doesn’t.. so to have a team like Sundance behind me every step of the way, it brings me so much relief to know I’m not alone anymore," she said.

"What we do is we renovate all these spaces. A lot of them don’t require a ton of work," said Sundance Square spokeswoman Ruth Meharg.

She says it is a win-win for everyone involved.

"A lot of new businesses, they need to go and get loans and go through these big processes and a lot of people have great ideas, but they don’t have the backing and the funding," Meharg said. "What we’re doing instead of offering a traditional lease, you’ll pay a percentage of your sales. So if you don’t make money, we don’t make money. We look at it as a team effort."

In roughly two months when the build-out is complete Sefas expects to open.

"It was always my goal to have my own boutique," she said.

Location Mentioned: Sundance Square Plaza