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November 30th, 2010Pop-up stores dot holiday landscape

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by Jo Dee Black

Pop-up stores are making their presence felt in time for the holidays.

These short-term outlets — known as specialty retailers in the industry — are not a new concept; holiday mainstay Hickory Farms is one of the oldest examples.

But stores large and small are using the approach to pounce on peak holiday traffic, test-drive new locations or audition for a permanent mall storefront without the costs of a long-term commitment.

And mall landlords battling high vacancy rates in a shaky economy are happy to oblige, offering short-term leases to fill open storefronts.

Even if the shops are temporary, pop-ups are taking vacant space off the market, said analyst Garrick Brown, research director for Northern California at real estate firm Cassidy Turley BT Commercial.

“For gift-oriented stores, it makes perfect sense,” Brown said. “Why carry rent for a whole year?”

Jeff Erickson opened Calendar Club and Go Games in the Holiday Village Mall this year in Great Falls, along with two kiosk carts, carrying scarves, Italian charms, personalized professional sports photos and more.

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