Short-term pop-ups change the long-term face of the business
LONGMEADOW – In recent years, a new kind of retail business has emerged in squares and parking lots, selling goods, food and services – but only for a little while. Pop-up businesses are everywhere. In Longmeadow, an ever-changing line of temporary retail establishments provide a perpetually fresh shopping experience.
“We’ve done a lot of pop-ups over the past five years,” including weekly farmers’ markets in the summer, said Melissa Pevay, director of marketing for Longmeadow Shops / Grove Property Fund. Upcoming pop-ups include Speed & Sprocket Cycle Works, which runs a bi-weekly pop-up bike store; the Storrs Library, which will have pop-up storytelling hours on July 22 and, on December 5, there will be a “Holiday Walk” Farmer’s Market selling seasonal produce.
While many pop-ups are up for just a few months, some have long-term deals. Lululemon, for example, will air its pop-up in Longmeadow until January 2022.
“Some of our pop-up parking lots have become permanent residents,” Pevay said. Batch Ice Cream is one such company. He raced an ice cream truck seasonally in the parking lot for two years before making the jump to an indoor pop-up last winter. He now has a permanent home in one of the Longmeadow Shops storefronts.
In a State House News Service article, Mike Kelleher, vice president of specialty leasing at Federal Reality, said about 75% are people looking to try new concepts without committing to a permanent brick location and of mortar.
For Longmeadow stores, Pevay said, pop-ups are used to fill empty storefronts when they’re between two tenants. “Last Christmas we would have had two vacancies,” without the pop-ups, she said. Another benefit is that “it just adds a different excitement. It brings different people to our stores, ”she said.
The mall goes to certain businesses when it sees an opportunity. With the farmers market and the Batch ice cream, she said, “People wanted them right here. It’s always fun when people ask for something and you can make it happen.
While Pevay said the place is open to hosting a wide range of pop-ups, there are general guidelines. A rule, for example, is that the place does not accept pop-ups that would compete with its permanent businesses.
The windows of Longmeadow stores are currently full, but the parking lot still offers opportunities for businesses who want something in the short term.
“When it comes to parking, we’re always looking for something new and different,” Pevay said. Stores can accommodate most parking pop-ups. In the past, the square ran a pipe to a mobile pet grooming van, and food trucks were hooked up to street electricity.
Businesses interested in hosting a pop-up at Longmeadow stores can contact Grove Property Fund’s regional property manager Steve Walker at 567-0098 or [email protected]