In an effort to recognize the many local merchants who are adapting and thriving during the pandemic, the Pico Improvement Org has created the “Pico Pop Up,” a first of its kind storefront that aims to assist residents, businesses and anybody else who happens into its colorful polka-dotted doors.

Located at 2802 Pico Boulevard, from now through Sept. 30, the storefront includes playful photography of Pico merchants, graffiti art by local artists, a Pico Mural Walking Tour Map, free gifts, and the opportunity to enter the Celebrate Pico prize giveaway, according to Merchant Engagement Director Dana Moorehead, who described how the pop-up came about in an interview Friday.

“We felt like we could make a space that tries to convey the energy that you’re out there feeling on the street because it’s been so difficult with the pandemic. But so many of our merchants have pivoted to survive and a lot of them are doing really well,” Moorehead said. “So, this is here so we can share the energy and excitement that’s happening around our streets. Because, despite everything that’s going on, we’re here to build community.”

When locals enter the store, it’s hard not to notice the bright colors and fun decorations that adorn the walls of the storefront, but that’s only part of the fun to be had down on Pico, according to Moorehead, who said there are tote bags and other goodies available to those who come down to visit.

“Just yesterday, we had these two young women come in and say they love Pico so much and they’re so happy to see something like this happening supporting the community. And now they want to volunteer for our holiday events, which is just what we want,” Moorehead added. “We actually just dropped 7,000 flyers into the neighborhood (Thursday) morning too so everybody knows what’s available to them in our area.”

The flyers include every business who was recently featured in the Santa Monica Daily Press’ Most Loved magazine, “and then on the front, there’s a fantastic prize list of items that are available to those who head to PicoPassport.com and submit their email,” Moorehead said, mentioning visitors can win Celebrate Pico prizes and gift certificates from Pico Boulevard’s favorite restaurants, shops and services.

“As we celebrate our diverse merchants in our Pico District, from Centinela all the way down to the beach,” said Sharon Town Lee, Chair of the Pico Improvement Org, “we are delighted to offer neighbors and visitors of all ages the opportunity to immerse themselves in this fantastic space and offer mural maps and fun, free gifts.”

brennon@smdp.com