A pop-up shop or a Pop Up is a location that appears for a limited period with a definite start and end date. It’s a store or location that “pops-up” for a limited time, and in most cases with a defined sales goal. 


Don’t want a long-term lease commitment? No worries. A pop up can help you extend your brand or run a side promotion without a long-term commitment to real estate, staff or product. 


A pop up store may resemble a regular brick and mortar store, but with slight variations. In fact, many retailers are using pop ups as an opportunity to experiment with new ways to get customers to interact with their product (and introduce new products) without taking a major risk. These pop ups can even roam, whereas the pop up moves from location to location. 


Who Started the Pop Up?

The concept of pop ups isn’t new, in fact the idea has been around since 1997, when entrepreneur Patrick Courrielche invented the Pop Up – at an event he created called The Ritual Expo in Los Angeles, California. 


The ‘Ultimate Hipster Mall’ as it was called, “popped-up”for one-day. It was a mix of retail stores and experiences that brought together music, food, fashion and shopping but was only temporary.


Surviving the Retail Apocalypse  

With the significant decline of the traditional retail model, pop ups have become a more modern way to approach retailing. One reason is that pop ups can offer both operators and landlords more flexibility.


Vacant storefronts that might otherwise sit empty can be leased for a temporary period, and both the landlord and shop proprietor can find out if it’s a good fit before making a longer commitment. 

In California’s Bay Area, a company called SF2BAY is helping some of San Francisco’s best restaurants take advantage of the Pop Up craze.


Founded by Tracey Forester, former VP of Zume Pizza, SF2BAY works with Bay Area restaurants to help mobilize their food offerings and extend the restaurants reach. SF2BAY practically walks operators through all the steps in setting up the Pop Up, making support of a Pop Up, a no-brainer.


Pop ups continue to be enamored by social media, so a new, temporary location can build excitement with your followers – especially if it offers an exclusive deal or special offer. 


Ready to open your pop up? EyeSpy is a Bay Area based restaurant consultant, who can help. We’ve both partnered with companies like SF2BAY and helped restaurants pivot to pop ups and extend their brand during the pandemic, can we help you?

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