￼PURPOSE: To promote the temporary use of vacant retail space or lots.
LEADERS: Developers, Local Entrepreneurs, Artists, Corporations
SCALE: Street || Building
FACT: ‘Pop-up retail,’ was coined in late 2003 by trendwatching.com. The concept of pop-up urban improvement initiatives has since been applied to dozens of other similar temporary interventions.
Apparel companies looking to generate brand awareness first utilized the pop-up retail tactic. At first, such efforts made temporary use of vacant retail spaces by creating an event-like atmosphere for a limited time— sometimes even just one day. For retailers, the focus is generally on marketing or proof-of-concept, rather than producing sales.
Companies large and small, property owners, art- ists and community organizations quickly adopted and calibrated the concept for a wide range of purposes. To be sure, pop-up retail is moving beyond the common seasonal holiday store and the trendy one-off designer brand sales event to becoming a sanctioned community revitalization technique. Main streets with vacant store fronts, oversized parking lots, and underutilized public spaces are increasingly being used as local incubators for a seemingly endless number of temporary to permanent commercial and community uses.
For example, in Oakland, CA an urban planner and restaurant owner are collaborating in producing Pop- uphood, a three-block stretch of short-term lease pop-up stores intended to revitalize the downtown through new business incubation. In this way, the pop-up trend re- flects the new economy where aligning the interests of property owners and local entrepreneurs is happening in a more nimble and creative way.
Finally, the interest and public exposure pop- ups generate by way of their temporary nature provide a powerful tool for sparking long-term change. Successful pop-up stores often earn the right to stay, creating a win- win for the property owner, occupant, and neighborhood.
New Rochelle seeks more downtown pop with pop-ups, Downtown Business District, April 23, 2015