Big things come in small packages.

That's what San Francisco's city leaders were hoping last summer when they started the Vacant to Vibrant program, a city-funded effort that matches small pop-up businesses with empty downtown retail space.

Now, as the city unveils the participants and locations for the second round of Vacant to Vibrant—which gives small businesses grants and technical support to set up pop-up shops at downtown locations for three months—the results from the first round are generating green shoots of hope for a retail recovery.

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