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Business

June 16, 2013

Pop-Up shops bring in temporary customers

Pop-up markets. Pop-up restaurants. Pop-up shops.

The phenomenon takes many shapes as entrepreneurs use the markets as a tool to test their products and services, hone their business model, collaborate -- and, most importantly -- create a buzz and capture the attention of consumers.

For Christina Norsig, known as the “Queen of Pop-Ups,” a pop-up venture is defined as going into a location, setting up a temporary store and then leaving. Some pop-ups are markets with vendors under tents, others are held in empty retail spaces at malls or existing businesses.

“It is for a limited time,” said Norsig, who opened her first pop-up store in New York City in 2003 and later founded PopUpInsider, a national online exchange that connects potential pop-up retailers with landlords. Norsig also authored “Pop-Up Retail: How You Can Master This Global Marketing Phenomenon.”

The temporary nature, Norsig said, is one of the aspects that make the concept so compelling.

“I think it is a wonderful vehicle for small businesses to use, to build their business, and sample their business, meet consumers that want to be long-term customers,” she said.

In recent years, pop-up ventures in the Research Triangle area of Raleigh, N.C., have taken many forms, including seasonal holiday superstores, thrift and charity ventures, monthly markets and restaurants.

The Cookery, a Durham event space and commercial kitchen business incubator, took advantage of the temporary format by creating a successful pop-up restaurant called Hakanai, which lasted for three days in February.

The project took months of planning and required a Herculean effort from chefs, waiters and others, said Nick Hawthorne-Johnson. co-owner of The Cookery. But in the end, it created a unique experience.

Hawthorne-Johnson’s goal over the next year, he said, is to bring chefs from across the nation to The Cookery to do more pop-up restaurants.

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