Pop-Up Opportunity

For retailers, or those looking to start up in retail there is a new opportunity. Pop-Up shops provide temporary low-rent access to retail space and are starting to expand in the UK. There was an awareness that high street retailers were losing out to online retailers and out-of-town stores. This led to a lot of empty retail space and some high streets that were full of charity shops, discount stores and empty store fronts. Enterprise campaign StartUp Britain launched an initiative turning empty shops into trading environments for small companies. Emma Jones, a co-founder, announced “StartUp High Street gives small start-up businesses a fantastic opportunity to think big and become a part of their local high street. We’re seeing record numbers of people setting up businesses, and this new wave of entrepreneurs are starting out small and online, so to get them onto the high street is a great achievement.” Early adopters include start-ups like jewellery designer Maria Allen and cycle accessories company Vulpine.

The government scheme to regenerate the High Street was led by retail expert Mary Portas, who has described the traditional High Street as being at crisis point. Twelve towns, dubbed as Portas’ Pilots, were given cash to rejuvenate their shopping areas. The funding will be used in different ways, in Tiverton, Devon they plan to improve parking facilities to encourage more visitors and tourists, while in Liverpool aspiring young entrepreneurs will be offered a mentoring service. But the focus is on generating temporary shops. Small start-up retailers are the focus. One success story are Bluebird Tea Company that have roamed the country establishing temporary pop up outlets. Not only creating new opportunities but adopting a different business model.

Meanwhile a slightly different approach is taking place In the USA. Offering the opportunity to house creative start-ups, recently the NY Times ran a competition offering workspace at their offices. Another newspaper the Boston Globe is leasing out its unused real estate to local businesses and art projects. But here too the pop-up initiative is gaining ground. Storefront is a market space to link start-ups with existing retailers. Seemingly simple and efficient it currently offers heaps of opportunities both in New York and San Francisco. Expect to see this expand. It seems like this is a beneficial trend whcih inspiring start-ups could be set to include in their business planning.