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December 22nd, 2010Temporary tenants prove boon to mall

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by Heidi Prescott
SouthBendTribune.com

From ornaments and cell phone skins to cashmere scarves and personalized sweatshirts, temporary retail stores are catering to consumers who continue to pack shopping centers in search of presents during these final days before Christmas.

Cristie Osborne bought a golden retriever calendar from Calendar Club, a seasonal tenant Sunday at University Park Mall in Mishawaka.

“I never shop them,” the Elkhart mom admitted, “but this caught my eye. My mom can be pretty hard to shop for. She has everything.”

Seasonal stores that are commonly known as pop-ups have been around for years to capture business around such holidays as Halloween and Christmas. Some feature trendy products such as Pillow Pets, while other pop-ups offer traditional or unique apparel, games and food.

Karl Abraham made his annual pilgrimage over the weekend to Hickory Farms, where he purchased sausage, cheese and pretzels from the company’s longtime U.P. Mall holiday kiosk.

The Elkhart shopper believes he has been following this tradition since 1986, when he moved to the area. “They’re never here long,” he said, “and I love the stuff. I put it out for Christmas.”

While the pop-up concept is not new, these stores have received more attention during the recession because they help malls like University Park and commercial districts like downtown South Bend weather higher than usual vacancy rates.

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