A soft real estate market and retailers looking for low-cost, low-risk solutions: Put them together and they spell Popupinsider.com.
The new Web site, which bills itself as a “national online exchange,” is designed to connect real estate owners with retailers, wholesalers and others looking for short-term space to test new concepts, unload excess inventory or even set up a showroom for a trade show.
The brainchild of home veteran Christina Norsig, a Fashion Institute of Technology graduate who started etabletop.com and has designed dinnerware herself, and her husband, commercial real estate broker Eric Michael Anton, the site is a new take on an old idea.
“Pop-ups have been around for a long time,” Norsig told HFN. “I’m just creating a portal and offering protection for those who want to do it.”
The concept is pretty simple. Real estate owners post listings on the site and are charged a flat fee. Those seeking retail space contact the owner directly and negotiate a deal. They are not charged a fee.
Right now Popupinsider.com is featuring properties in New York City, where the company is based. A recent visit to the site showed several locations in Soho as well as space in Midtown and Brooklyn.
“They can be rented for as short as one day or as long as a year,” said Norsig, who has operated eight pop-up stores herself under a variety of names, including one this past Christmas. “We think temporary retail is actually a legitimate form of retailing.”
While she admits the timing is advantageous for short-term arrangements, she doesn’t believe the concept will go away once business starts to get stronger. “I don’t see it as a passing fad, but as a long-term alternative, for testing or as a marketing tool for companies. It has to be about not following old formulas.”