For a few years now, I've been lamenting about all the empty storefronts along Raritan Avenue (the main drag here in Highland Park). It seemed like every time a new store opened up to fill one of the vacancies, another one would close somewhere else, and the total number of blank store windows never got any smaller.
Just recently, however, it's started to seem like the tide is finally turning. The last several stores to have closed along Raritan Avenue in the past few months have all found new tenants almost immediately. The former health food store turned into additional space for a gym two doors down the street; a Chinese restaurant reopened with a new name; an organic spa turned into a new spa; a thrift shop became a new salon (something our town can apparently support a virtually unlimited number of); and a jewelry shop closed briefly and reopened as a "vintage" shop (which still sells mostly jewelry, so I think that was more rebranding than replacement).
And a couple of weeks ago, one of the empty storefronts across from the supermarket suddenly started sporting holiday decorations, an assortment of gift baskets, and a sign in the window saying "Pino's Holiday Baskets." A signboard inside the door explained that this was a "pop-up" expansion of Pino's, a local wine store that's been a Highland Park fixture for 85 years.
Pop-up stores, for those who don't know, are temporary businesses that set up shop in empty storefronts and other unused spaces, like public parks. Some, like the Pino's store, provide extra space for local businesses; others are new outlets for local artists and artisans. Some even serve as short-term "incubators" for businesses that eventually find a permanent home.
Coincidentally, not long before the Pino's pop-up store opened, I wrote an article all about this new business trend for Money Crashers, which has just been posted. It goes into details about the different types of pop-up stores, the ways they can benefit a community, and how to host your own one-day pop-up event...or even start a local pop-up initiative to encourage this type of store on a regular basis.
Get all the details here: What Are Pop-Up Retail Stores – Benefits and How to Support Them