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Outdoor gallery to help small businesses in Greensboro

GREENSBORO, N.C. -- Ryan Saunders says the three-acre lot on West Gate City Boulevard and Eugene Street is the perfect blank canvass for artwork, a marketplace, a food truck park and small businesses.

“This is what they call in real estate terms 'a cool street,’” said Saunders, a leasing associate with Kotis Properties and the founder of Create Your City which turns buildings or spaces into art.

He's working on Tracks Bazaar, an outdoor gallery also designed to give entrepreneurs a head start.

“Local shops, local restaurants, support local chefs,” Saunders said.

At least five food trucks will have a place to go everyday as part of its food truck park.

A few feet over, small businesses can get started in one of 14 micro shops.

Each one will be no bigger than 450 square feet.

“The rent is going to be lower because you're paying for less square footage,” Saunders said.

Saunders hopes the cheaper rent will draw more entrepreneurs in.

“All you need is your production, your sales counter and let the space provide everything else,” he said.

Nick Benshoff says the space will help save small business a lot of the heartache he went through when he started his food truck business Bandito Burrito in 2012.

“We basically built our spots from scratch,” Benshoff said.

After a few tough years, Benshoff expanded in January, opening a restaurant.

“That will give an opportunity to people as they start up that we could have used when we were starting up,” he said.

Tracks Bazaar will host an open house from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday.

But the food truck park won’t be up and running until the summer, according to Saunders.

The micro shops will take another year to be built.