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Intriguing Pop Up Shopping (in NYC)

Ellen Levitt

Posted on December 11, 2019 15:58

1 user

In time for holiday gift shopping, a few interesting pop culture pop up shops have opened. I visited two and had fun, spent a bit of cash, and felt the pulse of spending.

There are annoying pop-ups (on your computer screen and cell phone), and there are fun pop-ups, typically in retail or dining. Pop-up shopping usually involves short-term stores that feature a particular type of item or a theme to the items offered. I've been to a few pop-up stores, a pop-up restaurant, and a few pop-up art galleries. Often they have an element of fun and social media allure, interactive sections, along with a sense of trendiness and hipness.

I read about two pre-holiday pop-ups that intrigued me, both in the SoHo section of Manhattan. One has a Beatles theme and the other a Blockbuster Video theme. Both touch upon nostalgia and offer things to see and do... as well as to purchase. On Wednesday morning, with the threat of heavy snow gone and a bit of sun appearing, I took a subway ride to the Beatles store first.

It's located at 163 Mercer Street, for just a few weeks. Some decades ago this was a gritty, artsy area but now it's full of chic clothing and accessory stores, restaurants and such. The Beatles shop is very colorful and full of enjoyable things to do. I got behind a Beatles drum set and had my picture taken (and played a few rudimentary drum drills I know). I indulged in several games on a Beatles pinball machine (it's for sale too). I posed for selfies with a Sergeant Pepper display and admired other Beatles-themed goodies. I also bought some cute, kitschy gift items for my two daughters. 

Afterward, I walked several blocks south, close to the border of Chinatown, to visit the Blockbuster Video pop up at 13 Crosby Street. It was quiet there; I was the only non-staff member present at the time. I chatted with a worker at the front, and took a bag of popcorn that was offered. A few workers rehearsed a video they were going to make. Oddly enough they weren't selling VHS tapes but did sell TV and film-themed clothing, bags, and other accessories from the brand Dumbgood. There were a gumball machine and other quaint touches. It was kind of cute but I wasn't forking over cash in this establishment, which is only open for a few days.

Nostalgia does sell and can spur sales. People like to recapture bits and pieces of their youth, especially the cultural aspects. This is a marketing tenet. But I think the Beatles pop up did a better job, and it certainly has a subject that never seems to go out of style. The Blockbuster theme was a bit odder, and that garish yellow-and-blue combo is still jarring. But thanks for the popcorn, guys.

The pop-up shopping experience has that "limited time only" cache that is especially tuned into a place like SoHo, and the "here today, gone tomorrow" feel is catchy. As marketing prowess, it has its uses... and can be fun. 

 

Ellen Levitt

Posted on December 11, 2019 15:58

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Plan to create shipping container pop-up shops along the Dequindre Cut among winning ideas.

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