Launch a Business

The BC Cargo Pop Up Marketplace was created as a launch pad for entrepreneurs seeking to open a business in Battle Creek, Michigan. Discover the options and the ins and outs of launching a business at BC Cargo.


-- John D. Rockefeller

What is BC Cargo?

BC Cargo is a pop-up shop marketplace. These consist of 7, 160 square foot retrofitted recycled shipping containers, 2 custom food carts, and the option for pop up tent shop. The marketplace was established by the Small Business Development Office of the City of Battle Creek as a creative and affordable way to launch small businesses in downtown Battle Creek. The BC Cargo merchant application is a competitive process and applications are open on a rolling basis with selections to be made by February for the following market season.

What is the Length of the Season?

The 2023 season will be open Memorial Day to Labor Day.

What are the Hours of the Marketplace?

Minimum operating hours for the 2023 season are:
Tuesday – Friday 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Saturday 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.

Additional hours are optional and allowed.

Are Merchants Required to Be Open During all Marketplace Days and Hours?

Merchants are required to be open during the minimum operating hours mentioned above, with a few exceptions. Merchants are allotted a few days to close during the season in the event of unforeseen circumstances.

How do I Qualify to Lease a Pop-up Space?

BC Cargo Merchants are selected through an application process. This is a competitive process and applications are open on a rolling basis with selections to be made by April for the following market season.

The application may be completed here.

What Types of Businesses are Located at BC Cargo?

The marketplace is open to a variety of retail product and food service establishments. Previous seasons included clothing boutiques, restaurants, coffee shops, collaboratives, design memorabilia, and souvenir shops. A balance of food and retail businesses is ideal to create a unique destination.

What is the Cost to Lease a Unit for the Season?

$1,200 is the cost of the lease for the entire season. The fee includes electric, AC/Heat (wall unit), outdoor signage and inclusion in BC Cargo marketing and promotional materials. In the rare case a unit is available mid-season, the cost would be prorated.

Pop-up tent space is available for a daily rental rate of $10 – $25/day. An application for daily Pop Up Vendor space is available here.

Who Sets Up the Pop-up Container?

The Small Business Development team serves as a mentor-base to assist each merchant with business planning and periodic coaching, as needed, to create sustainability.

How is BC Cargo Promoted?

Each business owner is responsible to develop and implement marketing strategies to support and enhance their individual business.

The Small Business Development team hosts a FB page, website, and other marketing strategies to promote the marketplace year-round.

The team plans and supports a variety of special events hosted on-site at the marketplace to help draw customers and community members to BC Cargo.

Do I Have to Commit to Stay for the Entire Season if I Lease a Cargo Unit?

Yes. The marketplace allows merchants to test the market, vet a product line, and develop fundamental management practices over the duration of the season, with the intent to prepare for launch beyond BC Cargo.


-- Chris Grosser