With pop-ups no longer a novelty, Caruso has taken the concept one step further with the launch of Pop Shops at the Grove shopping center.
The real estate firm on Thursday toasted the launch of the leasing program, which makes small pockets of the retail center into higher-performing spaces. Pop Shops lets companies test their brands at the center with small standlike spaces dotting the street of The Grove. The program makes its debut with a dozen brands, including FabFitFun, The Giving Keys, Charlotte Tilbury, BaubleBar, Kopari and Uncommon James.
Pop Shops is seen as a way to meet demand for The Grove’s dedicated glass box pop-up space, which opened in 2016. The box has housed more than 20 brands such as Chiara Ferragni, Outdoor Voices, Everlane, Tiffany & Co. and YSL.
“There’s limited space at the Grove, so we thought how great to be able to experiment with different brands by creating an actual mobile structure that will allow us to house more,” said senior vice president of retail operations and leasing, Julie Jauregui. “There are a number of brands that want to come to The Grove, but unfortunately there’s only so much space. We started with our glass box and that is where we took off. It has been an amazing success for us. We have a waiting list and we really felt like we wanted to expand on the program. A lot of retail centers are filling vacant spaces with pop-ups. We’re the opposite. The Grove is trying to find more space.”
Jauregui said the criteria for getting into one of the Pop Shops is no different from the glass pod. Initially, the idea was to cater to digital brands with the offering, but the center ultimately decided to focus on a mix of established and up-and-coming businesses. She pointed to Charlotte Tilbury, which had a residency in the pod and is now one of the Pop Shops brands as an example of how similar the tenant selection process is for both programs.
“It will probably evolve over time,” she said of Pop Shops. “We look for brands that have had, in their own right, a lot of success and that’s what dictates whether we have them on the property.”
Looking ahead, Jauregui said Caruso is looking to bring a similar Pop Shops program to its newest portfolio property, Palisades Village, in the Pacific Palisades.
“We’re in the process of crafting pop-ups down there. It’s a small center, a dynamic center that’s superproductive for us,” she said. “Right now, we don’t have enough space for the brands that want to be there, so we feel like that’s probably the next destination for this.”
More and more shopping centers are looking to iterate on the concept of temporary spaces with short-term leases becoming more commonplace.
Macerich earlier this month rolled out its BrandBox concept at Tysons Corner Center in Virginia. The program is aimed at mostly digital brands looking to test the water with brick-and-mortar retail by giving them actual space within a Macerich center. The real estate allocated to BrandBox is modular, meaning the spaces can be broken down or built into different-size storefronts. On the back end is the data collection digital brands have built their businesses on, providing metrics on things such as where shoppers tend to cluster within a store, what zip codes near a mall are helping drive traffic online and how many people are actually walking into the store.