New shops will soon be popping up in empty store spaces across downtown Winnipeg as part of a year-long pilot project.

CentreVenture Development Corp. has launched PUSH, a pop-up retail project that pairs startup businesses with vacant downtown storefronts.

The project aims to give emerging retailers an opportunity to test their products, as well as to bring more shoppers to the core area, according to the city's downtown development agency.

The first pop-up store, the Exchange Uporium, will open on Thursday inside the Silpit Building on Arthur Street and McDermot Avenue. The vintage boutique will be run by a group of local artists and designers.

"A pop-up shop gives us the opportunity as entrepreneurs to test our product, to test the marketplace in Winnipeg, and to test the area to see if people are going to come to the shop," said Patti Henderson of the Exchange Uporium.

"With the Jets coming back, with the downtown being revitalized, yes, Winnipeg is ready. We need this."

Officials with CentreVenture say they are working on getting other pop-ups to open soon.

A similar pilot project, the Downtown Youth Entrepreneurship Incubator, showcased the works of young entrepreneurs at Portage Place Shopping Centre earlier this year.