Nowadays, the pop-up business concept goes way beyond the temporary Halloween store that features costumes and novelties—and that is gone before kids finish their trick-or-treat candy.
In order to take advantage of larger-than-usual shopping crowds, pop-up stores hit their peak during the holiday season, which is somehow already upon us. Here are some of the latest pop-up businesses opening around the country:
Health insurance. Perhaps seniors heading to the mall might be in the mood for browsing health insurance policies, as well as the latest displays at Macy’s. UnitedHealthcare recently rolled out 1,400 kiosks in shopping malls, as well as 30 temporary pop-up stores, all opened with the goal of signing up seniors in the company’s Medicare plans, according to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. Blue Cross and Blue Shield, meanwhile, is operating info booths inside Walgreens stores. Another provider, HealthPartners, plans on introducing a temporary store next week inside a mall in Minnetonka, Minnesota. The idea is to spread word among consumers during peak shopping weeks, and then call it quits once the rush is over. The store will be open only through December 22.
Restaurants. Underground supper clubs and pop-up restaurants have been trendy for a while in big cities like San Francisco and London. Lately, the concept, which attracts in-the-know types who love to brag about being in on a cool, short-lived experience, is spreading around the country to smaller cities such as Kansas City, New Orleans, and Detroit.
Toys. For several years now, Toys R Us has opened temporary mini-stores during the holiday months in strip malls and other locations frequented by shoppers. This year, the retailer is partnering with Macy’s and operating two dozen Toys R Us pop-up stores inside the department stores. Each will be roughly 1,500 square feet, offer dolls, action figures, and other popular toy pickups—and will disappear soon after the shopping crowds are gone.
Tech. Many tech operations and web-based businesses have occasionally tried to set up shop in the real world, at least temporarily. EBay, for instance, opened a pop-up store in London last December. For this holiday season, Microsoft is launching 30+ pop-up locations in the U.S. that’ll feature a “curated selection of the best Microsoft products.” Microsoft also has two dozen or so permanent stores around the country.
Teen furniture and home accessories. This fall, PBTeen, an offshoot of Williams-Sonoma, is running five pop-up stores in locations such as Durham, Houston, and Miami. At each store, design specialists will be on hand to “help teens choose their favorite patterns and styles to create their own unique bedrooms and lounge spaces.” Do tweens and teenagers really need a home design store (or even just a temporary pop-up store) so that they can pick out their own “fur-inspired bedding and lounge seating” and the like? That’s irrelevant. All that matters is if these kids can convince their parents to buy them this stuff.