Will Pop Up Grocer bring discovery to grocery retailing?
Pop Up Grocer, self-described as a “traveling pop-up grocery store,” opened its first West Coast location in Venice Beach.
The New York-based company started last year with two pop-ups in Manhattan.
In Venice Beach, the 1,000-square-foot space, which will be open from Feb. 7 through Mar. 1, features more than 150 emerging, better-for-you brands in food, beverage, home, pet and body care categories.
“We’re not here for the purpose of your weekly haul of milk, eggs and toilet paper,” founder Emily Schildt told the Los Angeles Daily News. “We want to introduce people to the newest and most interesting products.”
The ambiance is more like a boutique than a grocery store, with sleek white walls, colorful shopping baskets, fresh pastries and coffees from a local vendor and a lounge to encourage browsing. Curated assortments support storytelling and Instagrammable moments.
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For the winter edition of our in-store 📖 magazine, Shelf Talk, we sat down with Julia Sherman, author of @saladforpresident 🥗 and co-creator of Jus Jus (with @marthastoumen 👑). What’s in her basket? “I’m a huge fan of all things @patagonia, and their tinned fish is a fun alternative to cheese plates. Open a can, and serve bread, butter, olive oil, and maybe preserved lemon or pickled chili peppers. You don’t need much else.” 🐟 “I don’t usually keep snacks in the house because I have no self control—I can crush a whole bag of those lotus puffs in one sitting—but at some point I just decided that popcorn is okay to eat in massive quantities.” 🍿 RSVP (free!) to our event taking place tomorrow (Monday) night, inside the shop, to meet Julia in person and sip on some Jus Jus. Hit the link in our profile! #PopUpGrocer #AfterHours 🍷✨
The start-up said in a statement, “Pop Up Grocer creates an environment that still feels like a grocery store — product, shelves, fridges — but is fresh enough to take you out of your normal, passive shopping behavior. They create a backdrop for exploration with a space that is friendly and inviting, with the use of colors and smileys — even a living room for lounging and gathering.”
Pop Up Grocer will also hold after-hours events, including tastings and discussions on food and culture. The hope is that the concept helps retailers discover new brands as well.
“There are big, mass retail stores with an overwhelming amount of product and then there are small, boutique retail stores that are sparse and often pretentious,” Ms. Schildt said in an interview with puff. “What I wanted was a space that felt friendly, fun and inviting, and offered me only the best of what’s available.”
The retailer is also planning an Austin pop-up for spring.
Food vendors have opened pop-ups to introduce new items and raise awareness. Kellogg’s just opened a pop-up in Notting Hill to support its first fruit and vegetable-based cereal created by and for children. Later this month, King’s Hawaiian will be open a Breakfast Bungalow in New York City for a limited time.
Grocery retailers, however, aren’t rushing into the pop-up space.
- Pop Up Grocer
- Pop Up Grocer coming to Venice – Los Angeles Daily News
- Venice’s beloved Windward Grocery remains closed. A trendy Pop-Up Grocer readies nearby – Los Angeles Times
- Pop Up Grocer NYC Is Back—This Time, Complete With A Lounge, Event Space And New Partnerships – PSFK
- A better-for-you grocery pops up in NYC – Supermarket News
- Notting Hill to host interactive Kellogg’s cereal cafe for launch of new children’s cereal – MyLondon
- King’s Hawaiian Says Aloha to New Yorkers Opening Irresistibly Delicious Breakfast Bungalow – King’s Hawaiian/PRNewswire
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: What do you think of pop-up grocery stores as a way for emerging food brands to be discovered? Are grocers failing to take advantage of the pop-up movement?