Exploring "pop-up" retail

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March 5, 2015 8:15 AM

Lloydminster business leaders are hoping to set up a downtown “pop-up retail” space for small businesses and local entrepreneurs to display and sell their wares.

The project, which is still in its market research phase, would arrange for various retailers to share a common physical location, similar to a trade show or a farmers market, but with more space and permanence. If enough interest is there, organizers hope to open the pop-up shop by summertime.

The endeavour is a collaborative effort being spear - headed by the Regional Businesses Accelerator, the Lloydminster Chamber of Commerce, Destination Downtown Streetscapes, Community Futures Lloyd - minster and Region and the Lloydminster Economic Development Corporation (LEDC).

“It’s something that’s new to Lloydminster, but could be really exciting,” said Katlin Ducherer, events and business development manager at the LEDC. “(Shoppers) might come to downtown Lloydminster because they realize (vendors) are only going to be there for a short time and they’ve got products that they haven’t seen before.”

Ducherer says pop-up retail is idea for people who may not have a physical space of their own, or just want to have the short-term opportunity to “test the market” and gain exposure for their business. She says a lot of online businesses use shops like this to show off their products for people to buy online.

Organizers have a few possible downtown locations in mind and they hope to attract at least 25 retailers to occupy the space on a rolling basis, with one “anchor tenant” to sign on for a full year.

Ducherer’s group plans to approach the city to propose a similar arrangement as the farmers’ markets, in which a single vendor’s licence can be purchased to cover all of the market’s retailers. She says operating costs would be shared by the vendors, while community business partners help to cover start-up costs.

“We’ve had about 25 responses in about a week and a half so we’re pretty happy with that,” Ducherer said. “The cost effectiveness is really appealing to them and the the downtown market as well and a lot of the groups or individuals ... want the opportunity to sell in something a little more long-term than the farmers market or a one-off trade show.

The market research stage has lasted for about a month so far, and Ducherer hopes to wrap it up by the middle of next week at the latest. She says there are two main goals of the pop-up retail pilot project.

“One was to revitalize downtown and to draw traffic there and to do something unique that we see a lot of bigger centres are doing and having success at, and two is (promoting) the entrepreneurial spirit of Lloydminster,” she said. “This is something that could really benefit Lloydminster as a community and the downtown as an area where we can grow.”

Vendors interested in participating in the project can contact Ducherer at the LEDC at 780-875-8881, extension 203. They can also attend meetings with the organizers. The next meeting is March 6 at noon in the Chamber of Commerce Community Services Building boardroom.

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