Retail shop incubator opening in Orlando’s Milk District

Space will host pop-up shops for up to 90 days, officials say

The Milk District Spot is getting built out to host pop-ups from local artists and entrepreneurs (The Milk District)

ORLANDO, Fla. – Orlando’s Milk District Main Street program is set to open a retail space that will be a first-of-its-kind in Orlando.

The Milk District Spot, located at 2430 E. Robinson St., will open its doors for the first time on Thursday. The storefront, which was previously the office of a roofing company, is set up to act as a business incubator for local artists and entrepreneurs looking for a brick-and-mortar location to sell their wares.

“I talked to some of the folks on the block and people on my board and said ‘What do we want to go into this space? What’s going to benefit the community? What’s going to benefit the other businesses?’” Zac Alfson, executive director of the Milk District’s Main Streets program said. “They really wanted something that was an active use... something that would draw people in. Because if they (customers) are here in this space, they’ll go to the vintage store next door, they’ll get a beer down the block. This retail incubator is something that we’ve been wanting to do and we’ve had some research and some budgeting drawn up and I proposed that and everyone jumped on board said ‘Yes, that would be great.’”

In order to use The Spot, a vendor needs to apply online at The Milk District’s website. There is then a committee that goes through the applications looking for businesses that would be a good fit for the incubator.

The Milk District Spot is getting built out to host its first pop-up, Tribalfare (The Milk District)

“What we’re looking for is someone who does have a history — they’re not just going with a concept but they’re already doing something — and that is kind of cohesive to the neighborhood,” Alfson said. “Then we’ll sit down — we’ll come up with a shortlist — sit down and have a little interview process, where we’ll talk to people about their goals, what they’re hoping to get out of the space and make sure it’s a good fit for them.”

Vendors will be able to rent the space for at least a day, but there will also be options for 30, 60 and 90-day increments. Alfson said a single day could cost $50 for rent but could not yet say what a longer-term rental would cost.

The first pop-up shop set to open on Thursday is called Tribalfare. The business is owned and operated by Ojas Akolkar, who moved to Central Florida from Michigan during the pandemic. Alfson said she had opened a shop there but had been forced to close because of the pandemic.

“Through her life, she’s traveled all around the world and lived in a lot of different places. And on those travels, she has met local artisans that are practicing traditional crafts throughout the world. And then she works directly with them — sources directly with the artisans — on everything from textiles to children’s toys and clothing housewares. And so you get these really rich ethnic traditions from around the world all in this one shop.”

Tribalfare will open at The Milk District Spot from July 15 - 20.

About the Author:

Thomas Mates is a digital storyteller for News 6 and He also produces the podcast Florida Foodie. Thomas is originally from Northeastern Pennsylvania and worked in Portland, Oregon before moving to Central Florida in August 2018. He graduated from Temple University with a degree in Journalism in 2010.