To pop-up or not to pop-up? That is the question.

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Ever notice that Halloween store that opened overnight? Or, heard through the grapevine that your favorite Etsy store would be opening a home in your neck of the woods? Pop-up stores are becoming increasingly popular and can generate tons of buzz and business for retailers looking to expand their brand and test the market. And Manhattan is a top spot for beta testing through pop-ups says JLL’s Erin Grace.

“New York is the fashion and branding capital of the US. There is more high street retail, foot traffic & tourism in NY compared to anywhere else in the US making it the best location for retailers to try their brands via pop-ups. National news has been reporting how much vacancy is in Manhattan, but in actuality, the large majority of the space is occupied,” Erin shares.

It is very difficult to find “turnkey” vacant space in A markets without understanding what landlords will want temporary tenants. Having landlord connections in the city helps dramatically when looking for temporary space. Landlords have one main goal – to attract long term tenants. “As an agency leasing team, we encourage our clients to entertain pop-up tenants that will activate the space with interesting concepts and brands in order to have the space show better to long term tenant prospects.”

Each Manhattan landlord has a different motivation for leasing their space. Some won’t bother doing a pop-up, while others seek daily, weekly or monthly rentals. For a retailer looking to test their brand, it’s all about finding the right landlord who has the motivation.

Beyond logistics, retailers seeking to do a pop-up should go big or go home. Erin shares, “For our clients, no matter the brand, if they’re going to do a pop-up we are going to push them to do something cool with the space. You don’t just want to throw up some tables and sell your merchandise, you want to exude a wow factor in the active space and sell your brand image.”

And to be clear, pop-ups aren’t just for internet-only retailers testing brick-and-mortar, existing retailers are also popping up. “We are seeing a ton of inquiries for this type of use. Some anchor stores are wanting to do pop-up holiday locations,” Erin shares.

Erin leaves you with this, “Know which landlords are going to be willing to stretch and work with you. They want to know there’s a possibility the tenant can go permanent (depending on the situation). So, for any retailer looking for brick-and-mortar pop-up space, it’s beneficial to use a broker because we will advocate on your behalf.”

So, if you’re up for it, now’s a great time to test the market in Manhattan – who has more vacancy than there usually is. And don’t worry, Erin is willing to help you get things swinging in the right direction.

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