“It’s not about the apparel or even selling stuff. It’s about fully engaging the community,” he said. “That’s what makes a city cool, is the people.”
Despite the commercial boom Nashville has experienced in recent years, there's a gap in the retail market for micro retailers- the retailer who needs 100-600 square feet. There seems to be plenty of space, leased and vacant, for the 1000+ tenant and seemingly an abundance on space for tenants needing 5000+ space.
Being a micro retailer who has primarily operated online and at the infrequent farmer's market and festival, the desire for brick and mortar has been there, but it has to make sense. It's been a challenge finding a retail space to"check all the boxes" in terms of size, location and traffic.
Cummins Station gave us the opportunity to activate otherwise vacant space while they negotiated a long term tenant for that space. We knew up front it was a short term agreement and there would be required flexibility as far as notice to vacate, but we considered this a small risk since we're familiar with taking merchandise and setting up a booth for 1 or 2 days events.
Other management companies should take note of this concept to maximize their space and reduce the amount of time a space sits dark. There are many businesses and artists who have the ability and would love to "Pop Up" in a vacant space for 3-9 months, pay rent to the landlord during that time and move on to the next location once that space has a tenant secured.
It's lower stakes risk for the artist/ business and short term cash flow for the landlord. Writer Jon Marcus writes about this trend in his recent article for the Boston Globe. He visited the Pop Up store when he was in town and we talked a little about our experience with this concept of filling vacancies short term.
For us, it's personal. We live in the community, we have a local customer base that can visit and shop in store, so short term is A-OK because our overhead is low. We're owner operated and more agile than a global brand. As long as we're able to meet our customers face to face, popping up in new locations is a great solution for us. We have a party at each grand opening, so what's not to love?