The ‘pop-up’ revolution is happening across the globe, and the island of St. Croix is embracing the concept. What is a pop-up? A pop-up is basically a temporary venue for a business. From retailers to restaurants, the pop-up trend involves a business ‘popping up’ one day, then disappearing the next day (or even weeks later). Small business and online retailers are finding pop-ups to be a great way to get the word out about their products and services, and those of us consumers that attend the pop-ups are enjoying a fun and unique experience.
Here on St. Croix, the most popular pop-up shops tend to occur during Art Thursdays, since hundreds of people come out to tour Christiansted’s galleries and shops. Artists, photographers, jewelers and designers rent out open retail spaces during this time to showcase and sell their products. Often times several business owners will pool their resources to rent a large space to share, creating a sort of indoor mini-mall. Pop-ups are really fun places to shop! Not only do you get to see, feel and experience products that you might not otherwise, but many pop-ups will offer special deals, raffle prizes, or coupons. Pop-ups are also great venues for businesses to unveil new products, or clear out old ones at discounted prices. As a consumer shopping at a pop-up you often have the opportunity to meet and chat with the owner of the business, and/or the artist. Plus, pop-ups are a great way for you to shop local and support St. Croix based businesses!
As for caterers and chefs, pop-up restaurants offer a venue for them to demonstrate their culinary skills and let the public sample their food – if only for a night or two. Most often, pop-up restaurants here on St. Croix are held at existing restaurants during their off hours. The beauty of pop-up restaurants is the unlimited types of cuisine that can be offered, and the ambiance that can be created, even for just one evening. Anything goes! For instance, I once enjoyed a three course French dinner on Bastille Day at a pop-up restaurant. Umami Catering utilized The Bistro’s indoor and outdoor spaces and created a French-style cafe for the evening. It was a great evening in a unique setting that featured delicious food prepared by a local chef that does not have a brick-and-mortar restaurant right now.
For business owners there are various benefits to pop-ups such as marketing online businesses, or testing products, locations, or markets. The pop-up concept also allows online businesses to showcase their goods or services and drive traffic to their website. Some pop-up shops are seasonal, which is perfect for those businesses looking to capture foot traffic without committing to a long-term lease. Pop-ups are also a beneficial thing for the landowners because they showcase the store front or restaurant spaces that would otherwise be sitting empty, possibly leading to their use for future pop-ups or even for a long term lease.
Here on St. Croix, pop-ups are a great way for you to enjoy a unique and exclusive experience while supporting local businesses. Check our Calendar of Events for any upcoming pop-up shops or restaurants that we know about, and make sure to keep an eye out – you never know what will be popping up next!
– Jennie Ogden, Editor