• (Left to Right) Natalie Pryce, Kelvin Ayala. Razul Branch, Keith Jackson, Noel Sepulveda, founders of local community development agency I Luv Bridgeport. Photo: Jordan Grice / Hearst Connecticut Media / Connecticut Post

With a scarce retail presence downtown, local group I Luv Bridgeport is looking to spark a change with the Collab Exchange.

The group dedicated to promoting the city and changing its reputation is opening the 1,800-square-foot storefront at 1123 Main St. on Friday.

“Retail is not dead. It has changed and that is significantly important for downtown Bridgeport’s evolution with antiquated spaces that cannot be subdivided,” reads a press release by I Luv Bridgeport, which intends to offer its business consulting services to small-business entrepreneurs in the retail sector.

The store doubles as a hybrid co-op space to provide local fashion designers and entrepreneurs opportunities to develop their brand in the Park City.

Aside from stores like Jimmy’s and City Sounds along Main Street, downtown Bridgeport has long seen a gap in shopping opportunities, while most of the recent openings have been restaurants and entertainment developments.

“Retail has not been sustainable in downtown…