Business

San Jose entrepreneurs get to share their work with pop-up program


A group of businesses celebrated their grand opening on Friday at Moment Paseo in Downtown San Jose, part of an effort to revitalize the neighborhood and support small businesses. 

The project allows new entrepreneurs to take advantage of temporary and sometimes smaller retail spaces for their first chance at a brick-and-mortar store.

“I feel like it’s been a long time coming, I’ve worked really hard for the last four almost five years,” said Theresa Gepila, the owner of Bad Witch Crystals. “From my mom’s kitchen counter, from my parents’ garage and I’m just so happy that I finally have this storefront with everything to give people in the Bay Area somewhere where they can buy crystals.”

Her store along with two others are the latest retail activation by Moment, which comes from the same creators of SJ Made and is now a part of Moveable Co. Moment Paseo is a partnership with the San Jose Downtown Association and funding from the City of San Jose.

“There is nothing like the energy that comes from a small business and a small business maker especially the ones that we work with in the local Bay Area,” said Audrey Yeung, the project coordinator for Moment. “We’ve never seen this type of excitement and enthusiasm towards running their own business.”

Gepila says her passion for crystals came during a time of uncertainty in her life and a need for a sign. But she believes all who love nature and the beauty they represent of the earth can appreciate them.

“I think it’s just human nature to be intrigued to something that is shiny and pretty,” Gepila told KPIX. “I don’t think it necessarily even matters if you believe in the spiritual or the metaphysical.”

As someone who had success in San Jose with other pop-up opportunities and chances to sell her products locally, she felt like the store at Moment Paseo was the right fit. The idea behind this model is not only to help fill areas of the city with empty retail space but also give small businesses the experience of running a physical location where hours of operations and merchandise to manage in person can be new endeavors.

“Something about San Jose, I could tell they just love small business and I always feel so much love and support when I came here, so I really couldn’t think of any other place to open up my first store other than San Jose,” she said. “It’s a way for us small businesses to test out our ideas and see if retail works for us.”

Bad Witch Crystals, along with two other businesses, Plant Slut and Sueños, are now open at Moment Paseo, which is located at 112 and 115 Paseo de San Antonio in San Jose. It is a pedestrian only walkway in downtown, near the campus of San Jose State University. 



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