Women chatting on Pratt Street
Pop-up pie shop aims to jumpstart Pratt St. activity in downtown Hartford
Joe Cooper
Jan 30, 2021

Another pop-up store will debut on Hartford’s Pratt Street next month as city boosters continue efforts to jolt storefront activity downtown.

Granny’s Pie Factory, an East Hartford maker of handcrafted pies, will launch a pop-up pie shop series on Thursday, Feb. 20 at 50 Pratt St. from noon to 4 p.m., organizers said.

The family owned business will sell pies by the slice and whole pies, which are all baked in their East Hartford facility on School Street.

The pop-up pie store — organized by the Hartford Business Improvement District (Hartford BID) and Hartford.com — is the latest attempt to spur retail activity in unused space on Pratt Street.

“This kind of temporary pop-up shop gives us a great way to work with small business and property owners to pilot ideas, test new concepts and bring something interesting and fun into our community — today, it happens to be pie,” said Hartford BID Executive Director Jordan Polon.

Pratt Street in downtown Hartford is home to a number of small businesses.

In recent weeks, prominent Hartford landlord Shelbourne Global Solutions LLC debuted a pop-up table tennis hall aimed at jumpstarting part of its vacant retail space at 55 Pratt St.

Shelbourne held other pop-up events in 2019.

Last March, when the XL Center held games for the 2019 NCAA Division I men’s basketball tournament, Shelbourne hosted a pop-up lounge in vacant retail space at 196 Trumbull St. The lounge featured free WiFi, phone charging stations, a digital photo booth, live tournament games and food for sale provided by Chick-Fil-A.

The pie shop, however, is being operated by different players downtown.

The ground-level space at 50 Pratt St. is owned by downtown landlord Northland Investment Corp., which leases the space and office units above to the Hartford Athletic.

The pro soccer club is ceding the vacant storefront space to Granny’s Pie Factory as it continues occupying second floor space there with nearly 20 employees, a team spokesman said.

Meantime, there is a larger effort ongoing to reboot Pratt Street as a work, live and play destination.

Shelbourne is part of a development team — including Hartford landlord Martin J. Kenny, of Lexington Partners LLC, the project lead, and city parking magnate Alan Lazowski, of LAZ Parking — that’s started a $100-million mixed-use project to transform Hartford’s Pratt Street retail corridor into a vibrant neighborhood.

The first phase of the project is expected to include several hundred new apartments, retail space and 1,300 parking spaces that would be mostly located in a repaired and reopened Talcott Plaza garage, located one block north of Temple Street.

Read more about the Pratt Street redevelopment project here.

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