New pop-up concept is a capital idea
Pop-ups keep getting more popular. Now one location is using the retail model to rethink an already popular type of brick-and-mortar experience — the café.
A store concept called Made in DC, featuring a café with a rotating lineup of local vendors, is opening in Washington D.C.’s DuPont Circle, according to Eater. The restaurants involved at the outset include Bullfrog Bagels for breakfast offerings, Small Planes Coffee, Tibetan restaurant Dorjee Morno and taco restaurant Tortilladoro. There are 24 total vendors listed as participating in the first iteration of the café. In addition to food, there are also local stationery, jewelry and furniture companies with space at Made in DC.
While it’s not clear how often vendors will be swapped out, the vendor list is titled “October 2017 Makers” indicating the possibility of at least some monthly changes.
The Made in DC café recalls the popular model of downtown areas with food trucks swapping locations on a semi-regular basis. And the concept is not the only recent example of using a single space as a home for multiple pop-ups. In Long Island, shopping mall Roosevelt Field launched Edit@Roosevelt Field, a 3,500 square-foot space broken out into 20 to 200 square foot sections of rotating brands that are otherwise online-only. And in Detroit earlier this year, a local tech accelerator opened a rotating pop-up retail environment meant to highlight local companies.
Setting up a single retail space full of rotating pop-ups has been touted as a potential road to renewed relevance for declining brick-and-mortar retail spaces like shopping malls. In fact, pop-up retail has grown so popular that last year a startup named Storefront, Ltd. launched a marketplace to let retailers looking to run pop-ups easily find short-term spaces to rent.
But there’s another side to the pop-up boom. As the model has come into vogue, prices for pop-up rent have increased. In some cases, the prices of short-term pop-up leases have begun to rival that of long-term leases.
Eater did not report what vendors must invest to be featured at Made in DC.
- New Pop Ups-Only Cafe Arrives in Dupont Circle – Eater
- A mall carves out pop-up space for online brands – RetailWire
- Will pop-up only malls catch on? – RetailWire
- A marketplace for pop-ups wants to disrupt the retail real estate business – RetailWire
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Do rotating restaurant pop-ups offer as good of a prospect to local brands as non-food retail pop-ups, or do they face bigger challenges? Is this the right way to extend concepts like food trucks and how can the restaurants and other retailers best leverage it to succeed?