NEWPORT BEACH — A wave of foot traffic returns to the Lido Marina Village as visitors from near and far are attracted to week-long pop-up shops coinciding with the Newport Beach Film Festival.
Through Thursday, a dozen local and national brands and retailers are in the vacant office spaces that line the normally sleepy streets of Via Oporto and Via Lido.
Combined with visitors pouring into the Regency Lido Theatre to catch festival films and the 38th annual Newport Boat Show, which closed May 1, the flurry of activity could be seen as a "vision of the future of Lido Marina Village," said Newport Beach councilman Mike Henn, a longtime advocate for boosting economic activity in the area.
"Of course, it's not enough to provide a long-term solution, and we know that," Henn said of the pop-ups that have an eight-day lifespan and limited weekday hours. "But, it's another small stimulus that will help change attitudes about the area, and that's a start."
Called "Lido Goes Pop," the fully functional and stocked retailers are organized by Riviera magazine as a way for the media outlet to introduce a new branding opportunity to both its clients and the area in general, said publisher Chris Gialanella.
Riviera also hosts the 2011 festival's closing-night gala, to be held in the village. The pop-up shops will remain open for the event — many hosting their own secondary events within their respective stores — and a portion of the proceeds will benefit the American Red Cross' Japan relief fund.
The pop-ups are a way for Rivera's clients, many of which have stores and headquarters in Orange County, to "tackle a new audience," Gialanella said.
For New York-based shoe label Michael Antonio, its pop-up shop represents the brand's very first, albeit temporary, flagship location. The company is considering both Orange and Los Angeles counties for a permanent store, said Audrey Yu, director of brand marketing.
"We really wanted to take this opportunity to have direct interaction with our customers and test out the water here to see if a retail opportunity would be good for us in Orange County," Yu said.
Although Costa Mesa retailer NapaStyle already has a strong location and client base in South Coast Plaza, store manager James Franklin said he saw the pop-up as way to "solidify our band in the wider community as all things Napa."
According to permanent tenants who were also happy to see the pop-ups, some of the vacant office spaces sat for years without tenants.
"Going back 30 years, this was a viable mall," said David Blackman, whose father opened Blackman, Ltd. Jewelers on the cobblestone Via Oporto in 1961.
He continued: "When we first opened up on this street, it was a budding retail market. There was no Fashion Island, no South Coast Plaza, just a couple of really nice stores. None of that is left now."