Summer 2015
A Revolving Pop-Up Brings Shoppers to the Neighborhood

Unseen Heroes develops DISPLAY as an ever-changing retail experience in Sacramento’s Oak Park neighborhood.

Roshaun Davis and Maritza Davis—business owners and residents of Sacramento, CA—noticed many vacancies in one of the city’s oldest neighborhoods: Oak Park, which dates back to 1889. The couple decided that they wanted to bring life back into the area. “How do we make better use of empty retail spaces?” they asked themselves. As owners of Unseen Heroes, an events marketing agency that has created unforgettable experiences through interactive events since 2008, they utilized their resources and relationships to develop DISPLAY, a revolving
pop-up concept that connects retail with the community to create amazing experiences, again and again.

Over the past five years they have hosted many events with local artists and designers that formed the foundation for DISPLAY. It was during their established monthly Good Street + Design Market, a modern day marketplace with locally made and green products, live music, street food and high-quality designers, that they were able to confirm there was an opportunity for their vision. They found during these events that participating designers would love to have a place to connect with consumers on a more consistent basis. The only problem was they could not afford a brick-and-mortar store of their own. Roshaun and Maritza knew then that DISPLAY was the perfect solution for this dilemma as well as a catalyst to fulfill their goal to fill vacant retail spaces
in Oak Park.

Photo-Dec-04,-2-34-43-PMDISPLAY’s debut

DISPLAY is set in an 850-square-foot storefront that rotates themes every four to eight weeks. With each transformation they completely change the interior visuals and products to create a new retail experience. DISPLAY opened in November 2014 with a Holiday Market (November through January) that showcased gift items from 30 local artisans. The Holiday Market was followed up with the Wedding Chapel + Love Pop-Up Shop (February through March), where couples had access to a chic wedding chapel in which to host weddings, vow renewals and commitment ceremonies. Guests could then shop in the newly occupied space next door at the love shop where all the merchandise was curated from local designers. The third and next installation is Play, where all the merchandise and events are kid themed. The fourth installation will be California Lifestyle, which opens
in mid-July.

Planning and marketing

The Unseen Heroes/DISPLAY creative team works at least six months out on the themes. The store is visually merchandised and staffed by Unseen Heroes employees. They take a lot of time on the planning of the visuals of the space, the theme, the number of designers in the space and the quality of the designers they select to showcase in each space. They scout designers via Instagram and local artistic events. DISPLAY is responsible for all the expenses related to the space and collects a percentage of each item sold in the store. The space can also be booked for events, which generates additional revenue. Maritza says, “DISPLAY gave us the opportunity to keep retail interesting.” They worked with local landlords to craft creative real estate deals and have had success with some of the DISPLAY designers opening their own pop-ups in other vacant spaces on the same street. “DISPLAY is a great incubator for designers who are on the cusp of opening their own stores,” says Roshaun.

The marketing plan for DISPLAY was grassroots; through promotion at other Unseen Heroes events, word of mouth and social media, which all drove traffic to the space. According to Roshaun, “We need the creative class to have a place where they can flourish and grow and be exposed to people who will give them real feedback.” He adds, “Nothing says feedback like purchasing power.” The community has embraced the store and has drawn shoppers from as far as 30 to 40 miles away.

Maritza admits that, “At the end of the day, I want DISPLAY to be something that our city can be proud of and that the community can enjoy and continue to learn about the new talent from across the state. I want it to be a place where people connect and work together.”

Whether you are part of a mall, lifestyle center or municipality, consider the concept of DISPLAY and work to create a partnership within your community to pump life back into vacant spaces and give local artisans and designers a place to shine—and your customers a place to experience something local and new in a unique space.

For more information, visit Unseen-Heroes.com, GoodDesignMarket.com and DisplayCalifornia.com.

Starr Cumming

Starr Cumming is a freelance writer from Atlanta with 12 years of shopping center industry management and leasing experience. She most recently was a RVP of Business Development with General Growth Management, Inc. She can be reached at starr.cumming@gmail.com.
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