North Texas Daily

Better Block sets up shop in Denton this Saturday

Better Block sets up shop in Denton this Saturday

Better Block sets up shop in Denton this Saturday
June 23
12:43 2014

Nicholas Friedman / Senior Staff Writer

On Saturday June 28, Denton residents, city representatives and local businesses will come together and set up temporary shop fronts from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the site of the old Piggly Wiggly on East. Sherman Drive, which hasn’t seen any development since 2009.

The national group Better Block was started in April 2010 by co-founders Andrew Howard and Jason Roberts in Dallas. After successful community projects in Oak Cliff and its surrounding areas, the two decided to quit their jobs and since then have traveled around the world implementing their Better Block philosophy.

The Better Block Denton sect, Howard said, brings together members of the Denton community combined with the resources of Better Block to repurpose an old shop front for a new wave of startup businesses.

“We partnered with the Denton community and we already have vendors getting ready for the event,” Howard said. “These are people that have always wanted to try out a business but maybe the entry price is too high. This weekend will give them a chance to try something out.”

City Councilman Dalton Gregory said the project is also meant to help people imagine the potential for underused commercial zones.

“This is done in a way that activates neighborhood groups and encourages collaboration between property owners, potential commercial enterprise and the surrounding neighborhoods,” Gregory said. “We love the downtown because of the variety of experiences it offers. We need to create other centers in the city that offer that same variety.”

Gregory said that he first became aware of Better Block at a conference in San Antonio hosted by Bike Texas. Though he has no direct involvement in the project, he serves as a supporter and an advocate for Better Block in Denton.

“Better Block has a great track record for reenergizing underused zones which bring in new businesses,” Gregory said. “This is a direct help to a building owner who has not been able to rent the building.”

Joe Prevratil, owner of Holly’s Gardens and Florist on East Sherman Drive,  said that even though he’s owned the Denton business since 1978, he supports the project in the notion that it can give others a chance to try an idea out.

“In support of the project we have offered various props and things to the event,” Prevratil said. “We will be there to support whatever projects are there. In already owning a business, I don’t want to interfere with people who are thinking of starting one. We will be there in presence as an established business though.”

Howard said that hopefully a project like this will continue to lend itself to the concept of a community workspace in Denton, something that the startup community has been working on for some time.

“We’ve always benefited because our message goes beyond architecture, planning and engineering,” Howard said. “We like Denton because it is a strong community with a lot of people looking to get stuff done. It makes our job that much easier.”

Feature Photo: Better Block Denton design happy hour at Oak St. Drafthouse on June 6. Courtesy of Better Block Denton Facebook page. 

About Author

Nicholas Friedman

Nicholas Friedman

Nicholas Friedman is the Editor In Chief of the North Texas Daily. In addition, he's had his work published at The Dallas Morning News, GuideLive and the Denton Record-Chronicle.

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