We came across two pop-up stores in Manhattan this past December. One was great, one was not. Then we visited a pop-up village in Brooklyn, NY. Very interesting!
Patagonia Pop-up Six Months
Patagonia has opened a “Tin Shed” from November 2011 to April 2012 on upper Third Avenue, NYC’s “East Side.” It looked great. Solid displays, easy to find your way around, ample fitting rooms, and friendly sales associates. “Tin Shed” refers to the founder’s hiking shack in Patagonia and inspiration for the brand.
Candy and More
One the mid-west side at 42nd Avenue and Sixth Street is Dylan’s Candy Bar. Eye-catching store front – for sure. But once inside, it’s just a mish mash of tacky looking candy and miscellaneous stuff on a mish mash of fixtures. My dentist wouldn’t like it either.
It’s all about “brand.” So do it well – or don’t do it at all; even just for a pop-up moment.
Across the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges lies the huge borough of Brooklyn. It has been enjoying a sustained renaissance based on its proximity to Manhattan and a place where New Yorkers can find (relatively) affordable housing.
Trust some enterprising architect and local politicians to pop-up an “incubator village” just off the main streets of Fulton Avenue and Dekalb Street. Presto! The Dekalb Market!
Freight containers have been converted into mini-stores for retailer-wannabes. We visited pre-10:00 am so there was no shopper traffic. But the space and “retail feeling” was appealing. There was a wide variety of craft and boutique-type products. However, unfortunately, they were offered within a wide range of retail skills – from great to awful. The food and snack places looked like they were doing well.
Nevertheless, there are lessons to be learned. #1: The longest block in the world is the one just one block off main street. This pop-up market is just too far off the central track to generate the required traffic. #2: Incubators need personal TLC from expert coaches. Retailing looks easy, but it is tricky. First-time retailers need a helping hand on this very complex business. #3: Congratulations to Brooklyn for trying! A few tweaks and it will be great!