Pop-ups set up shop in empty storefronts amid COVID-19

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — They’re a common sight during the holiday season, but real estate experts suggest the trend may keep ‘popping up’ through 2021, or until COVID-19 is wiped away.

We’re talking about pop-up shops, which are quite literally popping up across Nashville, filling empty storefronts shut down due to the economic hardships of the pandemic.

“Unique times call for unique solutions,” Ryan Turbeville said, director of commercial real estate at the Ashton Real Estate Group of Re/Max Advantage. “We’re seeing a lot more pop-up shops than normal.”

A pop-up shop is defined as a temporary retail space that’s typically used to introduce a new product line, test a new market, or generate awareness for a product or cause.

The latest one, a collaboration in the Gulch next to the Thompson Hotel where The Frye Company used to sit.

“We have a really strong online store, we also have a location in East Nashville, so this is a little test for us to try a new market,” Emily Eggebrecht said, owner of Consider the Wildflowers.

Eggebrecht teamed up with Tribe Kelley for the new shop at 405 11th Ave S.

“Tribe Kelley had a shop in Hillsboro Village and closed in the middle of COVID-19,” she said. “This was a fun way for us to get into a space that had previously been another store but wasn’t being used this season.”

Turbeville says the pop-ups are popping up in locations they wouldn’t have in the past.

“Instead of entering into a long-term lease you’ll have a shop open up for maybe a month or two and it allows the landlord to get some revenue and the tenant to try out a space they may not normally have access to,” Turbeville said, adding the unique-concept used to be avoided by landlords because it’s a lot of extra work to get new tenants in and out of a spot on a short-term basis.

“It just wasn’t worth their time but now they’re looking at a way to fill their spaces in the short-term and basically ride out the storm with coronavirus,” Turbeville said.

“We’re just hoping to find out, you know, what customers are shopping in this area, what they’re looking for, gain some new customers and meet some new faces,” Eggebrecht said.

Tribe Kelley and Consider the Wildflowers will be in their Gulch location until the end of December.

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