Pop-up shops: Suddenly appearing near you
Published Friday, April 27, 2012 9:18AM PDT
From handmade doughnuts to the hottest looks for summer, pop-up stores are doing big business in Metro Vancouver.
The stores or restaurants just emerge in a spot one day, and can disappear just as quickly as they arrived.
Pop-ups are a good way to test the marketplace, get people talking, or promote new products – like celebrity chef Bob Blumer did at a bizarre one night only restaurant in Vancouver earlier this month.
Blumer put patrons to the test doing blind food tastings, wearing clown noses and holding their noses for the surprise entrée – a fish dish served out of a toilet.
The Food Network host dished up a four-course gourmet feast in honour of his new show, "World's Weirdest Restaurants," using a pop-up as a promotional tool.
"My definition of a pop-up restaurant would be a restaurant that only exists for a short period of time -- be it a night, a week, maybe a month -- but pops up, then disappears," he told CTV's Steele on Your Side.
Fashionista Deb Nichol has spent years perfecting her high-end clothing pop-ups. The owner of The Latest Scoop, a clothing and home decor boutique that pops up on prime retail streets over the summer and reappears in time for Christmas, says it's a great way to stay on trend.
Nichol said while boutique owners are forced to buy clothing many seasons in advance, businesses like hers can pick and choose while the trends are actually happening.
"I can start buying just 60 days before I open, so everything is just coming off the runways. It's current, it's fun, it's what you want – and for us, it's affordable," said Nichol.
She sells the same fashions you can find in major retailers like Anthropologie but low overhead lets her offer consumers reduced prices. Nichol also allows customers to return problem goods within a "reasonable" time frame, and offer exchanges when people second-guess their choices.
Her first spring pop-up opens Thursday on West 4th Ave. in Kitsilano.
Cartems Donuterie is a gourmet doughnut shop that popped up in the gritty heart of Gastown last February, selling homemade, high-end deep fried dough. The flavours of the unique doughnuts range from Earl Gray with purple tea flowers to the Bee Sting, which marries the flavours of honey, Parmesan cheese and fresh pepper.
The doughnuts are made in a kitchen on Commercial Drive, but there are often long lines to get the specialty treats at the pop-up space at the corner of Carrall and Hastings streets.
Owner Jordan Cash said the shop has been a great way to test the market with minimum risk.
"We weren't sure if people would accept it, and accept that we're doing it by hand, and the response has been really positive," he said.
Cash said the next step is to find a permanent location. He doesn't rule out staying in the same building.
Bob Blumer says the concept is fun, fresh, and never gets old to the consumer.
"By nature a pop-up restaurant is sort of here and then gone like that, so before you have a chance to get tired of it, it's gone," he said.
The concept of pop-up shopping is quickly emerging as a consumer trend embraced by independent retailers and big box stores alike. Target, the U.S.-based discount-chic franchise, recently opened a temporary 1,500-square-foot store in New York's Rockefeller Centre to celebrate the release of designer Isaac Mizrahi's discount line.
The fly-by-night nature of pop-up shops does put consumers at risk if they end up with subpar or defective merchandise, said Lynda Pasacreta of the Better Business Bureau.
"Do you know who owns the business, do you know their track record, are you aware of the refund policies? In most cases it would be final sale. These are the issues that we get," Pasacreta said.
There are also warranty concerns if electronics or home merchandise is purchased at a pop-up.
"Just do your homework before you spend a lot of money," Pasacreta warns.
Check out Vancouver's coolest pop-up restaurants tonight on CTV News at 6, and the full report from Lynda Steele…