Written by Ashley Grove
The pop-up shop retail concept has become increasingly popular over the last several years after the recession left many vacant store fronts. This temporary lease allows business owners to test different markets at a much cheaper rate than traditional leasing, while bringing vibrancy to empty spaces and adding a fresh, exciting feel to the shopping experience. The pop-up shop lets you connect personally with the customers (since you end up working most the shifts) and build an audience for your brand. Customers also have a sense of urgency when shopping since the merchandise (and even the store!) may not be there the next time they visit. This idea isn’t just for the mom-and-pop shops either; major retailers like eBay, Target and Levi’s are using this pop-up idea to test or release new products all over the world.
Last month I was approached about opening a pop-up shop at the Town Center of Virginia Beach. A tenant had moved out and the new retailer wasn’t scheduled to occupy the space until February; this provided me the opportunity to have a storefront for eight weeks during the biggest shopping time of the year. Having met several local crafters through the Town Fair at Town Center, a handmade marketplace I helped to establish in the Spring, I got in contact with a handful of them about opening a joint shop together for the holiday season. Much to my delight, may of them jumped at the chance within a couple of hours.
The Pop Up Shop, as we easily decided to call it, opened on November 18th with nine businesses represented: Fairview Place, Glass Gardens, Kuhmeeleeuhn, Eco Trends, Eco Maniac, Handmade by T. Alyse, Intelligent Lushes, Sincerely Stephanie and Inception Metal Works. The shop consists of handmade, fair trade, eco-friendly, vintage and upcycled goods, jewelry, clothing, house décor and stationary.
The shop has served many roles for the vendors. EcoTrends and EcoManiac, both having a shop three miles down the road, have been able to gain lots of exposure and drive new traffic to their current location. Kuhmeeleeuhn, which previously operated as a brick and mortar shop in Atlanta, is considering opening a permanent location in the Town Center area. Handmade by T. Alyse has used her connections within the art community to establish weekly trunk shows to showcase local talent. Moreover, this opportunity has given all the vendors an opportunity to step out of their comfort zone, grow their business and make a difference in Virginia Beach’s exciting Town Center.
Check out the Pop Up Shop’s coverage: