Creative Ways to Fill Your Vacancies: Pop-Ups Edition

Unlike pop-ups on your computer, in-person pop-ups are something people actually want to see!


In 2022 – creativity in filling spaces in shopping centers is at an all time high. There are more business categories than ever before and more possibilities for shorter term and flexible leases. This has created the perfect opportunity for the modern-day pop-up shop.


So, what exactly is a pop-up shop?


A pop-up shop is a temporary store set up by a business. They can serve many different purposes, but some common ones are:


Driving brand awareness

Driving sales

Testing a market or location

Testing a physical retail strategy

Engaging with customers in a more personalized way

Bringing a timely exhibit to the area (think holiday-season)


The duration of a pop-up store can vary, depending on its purpose and goal. Some pop-ups are only around for a few days, while others stay for weeks or even months. With attention spans shorter than ever, these shorter-term leases can fulfill customers’ desires to see new products and have new experiences. And from a retail leasing perspective, they can increase foot traffic and potentially lead to longer term leases (this is called pop-to-perm).


Pop-ups in the Pandemic Era


Needless to say, the pandemic has created a rollercoaster of highs and lows for landlords across the country. Throughout the last two years of the pandemic, many landlords have warmed up to giving pop-ups a try. While they typically won’t earn as much from these deals, they often involve quick licensing agreements, rather than more complicated leases, and no outlay for capital expenses.


Many landlords have started using Storefront, a digital listings platform where landlords advertise retail space suitable for pop-ups – and the platform has said they have seen more listings than ever in the past year.


Different Types of Pop-ups


The Box-Store Pop-Up: These are the bigger scale exhibits that tend to be in areas with higher foot-traffic. A stellar example of this is the Banksy exhibit in NYC which took over the old Urban Outfitters in Herald Square. An art exhibit can be an excellent option for you if you have a larger space to fill.


PRO TIP: Consider reaching out to local artists in your area to see if you can make this happen!


The Traditional Retail Space: When you think of a pop-up this is probably your first thought! Traditional pop-up locations are found in malls and shopping centers and are exceptionally versatile. We love this story of a pop-to-perm macaron business in the Bellevue Square Shopping Center in Washington.


PRO TIP: Food pop-ups are always a big hit with crowds.


The Pop-up Kiosk: This type of pop-up shop is most common with holiday shopping markets but can also be the kiosks in shopping malls! Typically a low cost barrier to entry, these are a great place to start for many businesses looking to test the retail waters.


PRO TIP: Get creative on themes for your pop-up stalls! Could a Valentine’s Day stall with a local florist bring more foot traffic to your center?


With more and more companies selling online, it can be difficult to stand out. Pop-ups represent an opportunity for both brands and landlords to succeed with more flexible, modern leasing. If there’s a pop-up in your center that people love – we want to hear about it! Reach out anytime for advice on sourcing new pop-ups for your centers.


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