A Seasonal Ode to Pop-up - Medallion Retail
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Strategy, Creativity, Pop-up

A Seasonal Ode to Pop-up

POSTED ON: 10/27/16 Holiday Pop-up

In the early 1980s, Joseph Marver had a problem. The San Francisco-based dress retailer couldn’t convince anyone to buy his frocks. But he did notice that many of his potential customers were passing up his store to go to a nearby costume shop – both in time for Halloween and year round.

That shop gave Marver an idea that would eventually help make Halloween a retail bonanza – the seasonal pop-up store. Marver put his dresses away for October and started selling Halloween costumes. Sales went through the roof, and a profitable industry tradition was born.

And it continues. According to the National Retail Federation’s annual survey conducted by Prosper Insights & Analytics, total spending for Halloween is expected to reach $8.4 billion, an all-time high in the survey’s 11-year history.

So, in honor of Halloween, the holiday that (sorta) created pop-up retail, I offer a poem about a woman’s desperate journey in those days long ago when the idea of popping up was new.

The Maven (With appropriate apologies to Edgar Allan Poe.)

Once upon a midnight dreary,

While I pondered, weak and weary

Over many costume choices;

Each of them a bore.

 

Eagerly I wished the morrow,

For I did not want to borrow

Cast-off rags of seasons vanished

From my frenemy Lenore.

 

Deep into the darkness peering,

Chasing sleep and deeply fearing

That I knew of no shop near

T’would open up its door.

 

At first light, with gold rays beaming,

I set out, my poor soul dreaming

Of a gentle costume shop-keep

Whom I would shamelessly implore.

 

“Kind sir, please eschew beration

And my desperate consternation.

I have nothing for the party.

I beseech thee. Don’t ignore.”

 

From my reverie I’m shaken

By the right I should have taken

Double back, ignore the “Stop” sign.

I fear my empty drawer.

 

I find a spot, park, then get walking

Towards the costume I am stalking.

Quiet terror mounts, re-doubles

As I reach the glass mall door.

 

Once inside the light is blinding.

What chance have I of ever finding

Finery for Hallow’s Eve?

I creep forward to explore.

 

My eyes are scanning, never stopping.

I bump into a woman, shopping.

She seems wise, and knows my worries.

She says to me, “Come fore.”

 

Leaning in I hear her whisper

Soothing words; they pop and hiss, her

Gifts for leading shoppers startling.

Quoth the Maven, “There’s your store.”

 

Before me, costumes in profusion.

Surely it must be illusion.

Last week this was empty floor space.

Quoth the Maven, “There’s your store.”

 

Every single thing I needed;

Feathered, fringed, discretely beaded

Frocks and get-ups fill the aisles.

Quoth the Maven, “There’s your store.”

 

“’Tis pop-up,” said the kindly spirit.

I stopped and shed a single tear, it

Made such sense in all directions.

Quoth the Maven, “There’s your store.”

 

“Will it be here after sunset?”

I ask my friend, with face and eyes wet.

“Pop-up makes my life so easy.”

Quoth the Maven, “Nevermore.”

 

“But,” she cried in jubilation,

“This soon will be a Christmas station

Stacked up tall with season’s treatings!”

Say it with me: pop-up store!

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