Pop-up stores, as they're commonly known, are simply small retail events that suddenly appear out of nowhere, and last for only a short period of time. Often used by major retailers and businesses to test certain market products in particular areas, or with specific demographics, they're designed to capitalize on maximum short term exposure and foot traffic in order to drive customers through the door.
As with most breaking trends, antiques often tend to lag behind such cutting edge business models simply due to the intrinsic nature of "selling old." However, in this instance old may be new, as a number of inventive entrepreneurs in both North America and England have latched onto the idea of "instant antique shops," that only last for a few weeks or months in a particular location, then pop-up again in a different spot.
The idea is to create a sense of urgency on behalf of the buying public that will encourage them to come and shop due to the time-sensitive nature of the business. As one pop-up retailer pointed out in Canada's port city of Halifax, "If the customer knows that we'll only be here for a specific number of days, it can often help them get off the fence when it comes to making an impulse purchase or buy."
In North Carolina, Mel Powell, another antique store proprietor, has added his own positive spin on the pop-up concept by working with his city to use old abandoned storefronts and locations at deeply discounted rental prices. This not only helps the antique business with low rent, but also helps the city by encouraging potential new businesses to locate into old storefronts that may have previously sat as vacant, or may have been seen as unsuitable for a new business to set up its fledgling operations.
Either way, it would now seem that this new business model might be a win-win situation for all parties involved, as Powell pointed out, when indicating that if his first pop-up test was a success... he planned on moving to a bigger location down the street.
To read more about the pop-up store in Elizabeth City, North Carolina, or to watch a video clip on this story from the local ABC affiliate station, simply click on the link below.