The Power of the Pop-Up Shop

scenes-from-dallas-living-plaza in june.jpg
Photo by Taryn Walker
Wednesday afternoon photo intern Taryn Walker stopped by the Living Plaza, which made its return to Dallas City Hall ... and not for the final time, as organizers within OCP headquarters now expect it to become a monthly event, at least. Yet again, bcWORKSHOP's shipping-container-turned-food-commissary was parked on the plaza, from which Natsumi Kitchen and La Popular Tamale House -- two of the eateries at Dallas Farmers Market -- dispensed their edibles; joining them were art dealers and plant sellers, thus rendering the concrete wasteland a miniature marketplace. Of sorts.

Which brings me to this morning's Better Block essay by Jason Roberts, who uses the Living Plaza's burgeoning success as jumping-off point for a larger piece about the power of the pop-up shop. Look no further than Oak Cliff's Oil and Cotton, after all, which sprang up out of nothing during the very first Better Block event in April 2010 and has become an honest-to-goodness business. Or Half-Price Books, which Ken Gjemre and Pat Anderson started in an old laundromat. Writes Roberts:
So why does this pop-up storefront option work so well? It lowers the barriers to entry for a person interested in starting a business, creates a temporary timeline to test out the businesses potential, and mitigates the risk associated with a traditional start-up. It also does away with the tedium, and minutia associated with filing endless permits, developing long-range accounting forecasts, reviewing costly insurance packages, multi-year leases, navigating bureaucracy and more. In the end, it's the Lemonade Stand philosophy: All it takes to start one is a stand, and lemonade. The other pieces are necessary, but can be added and enhanced as the business grows. Our focus should be on helping setup the stand so that the early entrepreneur can simply try their hand at something that could be an ongoing and sustainable successful business.
In other words: City Hall's nice and all. But you'd be amazed by what you can do without it. Read the whole thing here.
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Lakewoodhobo
Lakewoodhobo

I hope the DowntownDallas people are paying attention. These things can be set up at Pegasus Plaza and Browder Street Mall with little effort.

WalkableDFW
WalkableDFW

It actually would have a shot at permanence in the dog area on Pegasus Plaza, a space which I've long felt could benefit from simple bleacher seats as well.  

LaceyB
LaceyB

We used to have a space for a pop-up art gallery in the West Village. Which, I'm not sure ever became anything, but would be so much better as a Pop-Up Tamale Shop.

It would kick Mi Cocina/Taco Diner's Asses! Maybe, some of those pretentious weekend douchebags would get scared and move it on North (or south). Anywhere would do.

guest
guest

I took a half day off work and took my dog to the lake.Too bad i wasn't aware of this...that's two Living Plaza event's i have missed. Are they using the Field of Dreams "If you build it they will come"mentality to increase community awareness? It would have been great to take my dog out and enjoy the outdoors while supporting local biz. I'll keep my ear to the ground for the next one.

In the meantime, the Square App is the way to go!https://squareup.com/

Downtown_worker
Downtown_worker

Not to sound like I'm promoting a business, but there's an iPhone app called Square that lets you accept credit cards for a small fee (through a free card reader that you get in the mail). So not only are these pop-up shops a great way to start a new business, but with technology like the app I described, you're not stuck making change and limiting your clientele to cash-only customers.

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