Pop-up Stores Aren’t New But The Pandemic Gave Them a Boost

The Lempert Report
August 04, 2021

The future of retail is pop-ups according to a recent virtual panel discussion as reported in the MetroWest Daily News in Framingham Massachusetts.

The panel discussed that during and post pandemic it's a whole host of businesses that will utilize temporary spaces combined with events, music, and food to draw people to town centers. And as Massachusetts continues to move past the pandemic, retail experts and local officials say pop-ups could play a large role in economic growth and commercial development.

The pointed to Ashland's The Corner Spot, as an example, where town officials revamped an old shed to allow businesses to take out temporary leases and hold events. It's been around for about four years, and since then it's served as a destination for live music, food, and shopping, according to one town official. Ashland Economic Development Director Beth Reynolds said "The future of retail is pop-ups, too. It's definitely a piece of it. So I don't think that they should be underestimated," she added  during the Newton-Needham Regional Chamber virtual panel discussion. "I think there's a lot of power in them. I think it helps a ton of people really start off, or even just continue what they are doing. It's putting people to work. There's so much value in them." So which businesses use pop-up spaces? Mike Kelleher, Federal Reality's vice president of specialty leasing, said roughly 75% are people looking to try out new concepts without committing to a permanent brick and mortar location. "There's just no limit to what folks are doing out there now," Kelleher said.

Allison Yee founded UpNext, a matchmaking platform that's designed to connect brands that are looking to do pop-ups with spaces that want to host them. She said pop-up retail serves as a "strategic tool" for municipalities, brands, and landlords.”