Downtown Smyrna will have a new business to shop at next week with the addition of Royal Treatments thanks to second-year Delaware Economic Development Office program "Project Pop-Up."

The program offers business owners limited risk opportunities to open their own business with the hopes it'll help stimulate economic activity. DEDO announced this summer that the property at 14 S. Main St. in Smyrna would be one of the pop-up locations this year.

Who will fill the Smyrna location? Karen Gill and her business Royal Treatments. Through Royal Treatments, Gill will offer custom window treatments and home décor. Gill said she had been working out of her home since 2000 doing custom window treatments. When she initially started her business, Gill lived in Atlanta. When her husband was transferred in 2005 to Michigan for work, Gill started her business up there as well. Then in 2011, they moved to the Middletown area.

"We kept saying there's no place to go get knick-knacks or accent pieces so I asked people, I asked my hair dresser – where do you go to find stuff for your home?" Gill said. "She said drive to Pennsylvania or Home Goods on Kirkwood Highway."

So Gill started talking with her husband about opening a business. She even looked at some properties but hadn't taken the plunge until she saw a story on "Project Pop-Up."

While the program allows business owners to be open rent-free for three months, Gill said she plans to be here for the long hall. For now she'll offer quite a bit of Christmas stuff including ornaments along with other accent pieces with coastal, Italian, and other themes. Along with doing custom window treatments, Gill will sell accents and lighting, bedding, cushions, pillows and home décor.

The business will be open Tuesday through Saturday; Gill will use Sunday and Mondays for appointments for window treatments.

"Something people should understand is not everything that's custom made is expensive," Gill said. "The perception is it's expensive but it can be affordable. They need to come in, see it's different and go from there."

Gill said she started creating window treatments when she became tired of working in the corporate world.

"I wanted to do something that made me happy enough to get out of bed every morning," Gill said. "I'm passionate about helping people make their home beautiful."

Gill is happy to be in the Smyrna location. The pop-up location in Middletown was initially Gill's first choice, but the location didn't work out for her. When things didn't work out with the Middletown location, Gill visited the Smyrna location for a second time and realized it was where she should open her shop.

"This just felt right. I knew it was the perfect location," Gill said.

And the community has certainly welcomed Gill even though she hasn't even opened up yet; she'll open Tuesday, Oct. 1.

"Everyone I talk to says, 'Oh, I heard about this. I'm excited and can't wait for you to open,'" Gill said. "I'm very excited to be a part of the pop-up program. It's a wonderful opportunity for someone who has wanted to start or grow their home-based business. I'm thrilled to be in Smyrna. The community has been very receptive and everyone I've met has been so nice, so wonderful."

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