More Food ‘Pop-Ups’ on the Way?

October 04, 2010

‘Pop-up’ stores are a now proven concept for branding, events and incremental sales.

‘Pop-up’ stores are a now proven concept for branding, events and incremental sales. But now these concepts are gaining additional leverage with support from local governments and real estate developers in search of new financial resources. Cities across the country are in the market for pop-up storefronts. In San Francisco, the pop-up concept is helping to fill empty storefronts across the city. Landlords now rent out storefronts in high rent districts for a month, a week, or even a night.

Baltimore’s Downtown Partnership is actively seeking businesses interested in filling the abandoned store fronts in downtown Baltimore City. A new project, kicking off this month, offers a chance to established retailers, entrepreneurs, artists, for-profits, not for profits, people with ideas to try them out in some of these abandoned spaces. The partnership is even backing the projects with funds – putting up $10,000 in start-up and operation money for businesses to fill spaces on Charles and Calvert Streets, with approval of the landlords. And it’s not annual leases they’re looking to fill, but temporary leases of six months to a year.

The Gap has been one of the “pop-up” pioneers. Last year, Toys R Us rolled out 90 express stores for the holidays in deserted mall-space. Based on their sales success, this year, they're opening 600 express stores in cities including San Francisco which will generate an estimated 10,000 seasonal jobs and rent out two and a half million square feet of otherwise abandoned retail space.

In the food space, a multi-year partnership with Dover International Speedway allows Giant to erect a 5,000-square-foot pop-up grocery store at the track which started this September; which is also supported by a five-week multi-brand in-store “Chase for the Savings” NASCAR promotion in more than 200 mid-Atlantic stores. The target of this pop-up experiment was to motivate fans to stock up their campers with groceries for the three day event. This is NASCAR’s second partnership with a grocer; last fall it partnered with Brookshire’s in Texas on a similar promotion that Coca-Cola officials credited with triggering triple-digit growth for the company’s marquee brands.