(May 8, 2014)

Centenary alumna selected for Pop UP business initiative in Shreveport

SHREVEPORT, LA — Centenary alumna Cindy Gleason Johnson '81/'11 and her Camellia Café will set up shop in Shreveport's Red River District May 12-23 as one of 12 creative and innovative small businesses selected to participate in the Pop UP Project.

Pop Up
Cindy Gleason Johnson with her Camellia Café crew

Johnson has been serving homemade beignets and coffee at the Shreveport Farmer's Market for six years, and within the past year started her own coffee company, Camellia Coffee. The Camellia venture grew out of Johnson's MBA project at Centenary.

"Each year we have experimented with additional venues and the Pop UP just made sense," said Johnson. "It's great for the city to feature the Red River District with all it has to offer, and bringing in local entrepreneurs will create an opportunity for us to reach a new market."

The project sponsors — the Downtown Shreveport Development Corporation (DSDC), Downtown Development Authority (DDA), and Citizens National Bank — have given each retailer prime rent-free store-front space in downtown Shreveport's under-utilized Red River District for two weeks to test their concept or expansion. The sponsors will promote the businesses and products with regional marketing, a soft opening, and events. Businesses will also receive assistance with business banking and professional photography services.

Camellia Café will feature its famous beignets and coffee all day during the Pop UP Project as well as traditional Southern favorites such as red beans and rice, jambalaya, meat pies, po boys, and crawfish pistolettes during the 11-2 lunch hour.