Lack of capital and resources is one of the biggest hurdles new business owners face when pursuing a brick-and-mortar location. A specialty program offered at Pearland Town Center has lowered the barrier of entry for many local Pearland entrepreneurs.

Jose Hernandez, owner of Spuds TCG, a Pokémon registered retailer, is one such business owner who found success with the program.

Before opening at Pearland Town Center, Hernandez’s business had a mall cart, but primarily made sales online. He and his wife felt they didn’t have enough financial resources to open a brick-and-mortar location, he said.

When the couple reached out to the Pearland Town Center, they had low expectations that they would be able to afford a space in such a high-traffic area.

“I told my wife it’s going to be really expensive,” Hernandez said. “We can’t afford it. We’re going to go there and be like, 'thank you, but no thank you.'”

Hernandez said he was offered a surprisingly low rate for the space and while he was initially skeptical, after doing more research, he decided to sign a short-term lease through the specialty program. A year and two months later, Hernandez’s business has been so successful that he’s been able to sign a longer lease.

Pearland Town Center’s specialty leasing program allows small business owners to test the market, experiment with physical space and boost brand exposure through turn-key spaces in high-traffic areas of the mall.

Through the program, the Center utilizes spaces that don’t currently have a long-term lease and rent them to business owners at a lower rate with a shorter lease, Senior Marketing Director Nicole Bowen said.

While leases typically range from three to five years, specialty leases only range from a couple of months to two years. Pearland Town Center was unable to provide the exact rates business owners in the specialty program have been offered.

“What makes Pearland Town Center so unique is that we do focus on our local retailers just as much as our national retailers," Bowen said, adding the Center has over 40 businesses with owners in Pearland.

Currently, Pearland Town Center has about ten specialty businesses operating in its space, including JenniBelle Boutique, Paisley’s Closet, Razzle Dazzle Dancewear and Suit Warehouse, which are all locally owned.

Because the businesses are offered a rent below the market rate, if another business signs a full-term lease at the standard rate, Pearland Town Center reserves the right to move the other business; However, Bowen said she’d only seen that scenario happen twice in the seven years she’s worked at Pearland Town Center.

“You got to put a lot of work into it,” Hernandez said. “The Town Center provides foot traffic, have to do the [marketing] yourself through the local community and an online presence.”