By Charlotte Underwood / Staff Writer
London Downtown and London-Laurel Chamber of Commerce is partnering on a new “retail recruitment” initiative called Pop-Up-London.
London Downtown Director Chris Robinson spoke to a packed room at the London Community Center on Thursday at the monthly London-Laurel County Chamber luncheon.
“London Downtown and the London-Laurel County Chamber of Commerce are excited to introduce Pop-Up-London, an initiative to discover entrepreneurs looking for opportunities to partner their products or services with existing retail businesses or vacant spaces,” Robinson told the crowd.
According to Robinson, Pop-Up retail, also known as “pop-up stores,” is a current trend of opening short-term, sometimes temporary or shared space sales venues. The Pop-Up could be a sample sale one day inside of an existing business or located in a vacant space the next week. These types of retailers can obtain foot traffic for existing retail space by offering new and exciting products while allowing entrepreneurs a foot in the door of the business world.
Taking a grassroots approach to the retail recruitment initiative, Robinson looked to existing chamber members in the crowd to help provide names and info about pop-up-business possibilities. Cards were passed out at each table in order for members to fill out thoughts and info about possible pop-up-business ideas and individuals.
“Pop-Up London is looking for makers of many types to promote, partner with, and assist in getting started. Bakers, crafters, artists, cooks, and any other type of good produced by or sold by someone local is encouraged to become a partner with Pop-Up London,” Robinson said, adding, “we see Pop-Up London as a way of promoting local individuals who are creative and interested in selling their goods, but aren’t yet ready to open a full-time retail business. These ventures will also be enhancements to current retail’s opportunities and further assist redefining our downtown district as a welcoming place for commerce and creativity.”
He briefly went over several examples of pop-up businesses in the area. Weaver’s Hot Dogs teaming with Parrett’s Pies and Pastries to provide Weaver’s customers with homemade dessert options is one example. Another example mentioned was Carousel Florist, which had extra space to share and established the Shoppes on Hill Street in 2011.
According to Robinson, Pop-Up businesses, businesses within a business, and sharing space are a big trend in retail right now and it is all made possible due to social media.
The search for new pop-up businesses will be an “ongoing initiative” as London Downtown and the chamber attempt to build a list of people who are interested in these concepts and have a product that they can help promote.
“It’s really just a new way of doing business and finding local talent and while some pop-ups may be temporary, some will inevitably stay and that will leave a lasting economical impact,” Robinson said.