A number of innovative concepts have sprung up of late, and there are even more in the pipeline waiting for the right opportunity.The concept of pop-up storefronts and dining destinations has been around for some time, but enterprising entrepreneurs continue to take it to a whole other level. According to Providence Journal, a number of innovative concepts have sprung up of late, and there are even more in the pipeline just waiting for the right opportunity to come to life.
Some form of pop-up stores has always been around. Specialty stores that focus on the Halloween or Christmas holidays for example, or even niche stores and eateries that make their appearances during local festivals or events. According to Bryant University’s Glenn Sulmasy, the concept really began to take off around the time of the recession in 2008. A perfect storm emerged of landlords and property managers looking to fill scores of empty storefronts, which meshed with the demand from small business owners for low-cost ways to ply their wares.
Jeremy Baras, CEO of Chicago-based consultancy firm PopUp Republic, estimates that there are anywhere from 3,000 to 4,000 pop-ups operating at any given time across the U.S.
"It's about unique and innovative concepts that can create exclusivity and drive traffic and attention,” he explains.
The motivations of the pop-up proprietors themselves vary. Some are hoping to establish themselves into a brand that can support an ongoing presence, while others are content to live the pop-up lifestyle and thrive in that environment.
One concept that hopes for expansion by first proving its viability is Berkeley, CA-based Calico Cafe Pop-Up Shop. The cafe is not only a place where customers can enjoy the treats and beverages offered, but also specializes in cat-related merchandise and provides the opportunity for cat adoptions.
"Doing this allows me to gauge the interest in my area while also getting my name out there," explains owner Lisa Tsubouchi.
Another concept is completely content with its current incarnation as a pop-up, and has no plans to settle down. New York-based PlaceInvaders provides intimate dinners in unique homes across the country, and has hosted meals in several select markets since launching in 2014.
“Our end game isn't a single, standalone location. We started the company because we wanted to be travelling, living in new cities and meeting new people," according to co-founder Katie Smith-Adair.
Cities across the U.S. are catching on to the trend as well, and even streamlining processes to become more pop-up friendly.
"Cities really want this type of activity, so they're going to figure out ways they can support that growth," says Emily Robbins, of the National League of Cities.