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Holiday Pop-ups Return to Enliven Downtown Retail

November 08, 2012

Boys' Fort, 2011
View from the Boys' Fort 2011 pop-up shop

On Thursday morning, November 8, Mayor Adams and some special holiday helpers opened this year’s downtown holiday shopping season, with retailers, city and business leaders and representatives of the Clean & Safe District. The event also marked the launch of this year’s PDX Pop-Up Shops.

Now in their fourth year, the entrepreneurial pop-up stores in vacant downtown space are among the accomplishments of the 2009 Downtown Retail Strategy.

In addition to supporting local talent and emerging entrepreneurs, the shops allow property owners to showcase their space for future tenants.  The project specifically focuses on retail signature streets Yamhill and Morrison and activates vacancies with tenants temporarily until permanent tenants can be found.

While the pop-up concept was rooted in a weak economy, Portland’s stores have experienced a certain amount of long-term success. Of the 13 shops hosted thus far, four stayed on beyond the holidays as rent-paying tenants, and two have remained open as permanent fixtures downtown despite their start as temporary outlets.

Key partners in the Pop-Up Shops program are the Portland Development Commission (PDC), Portland Business Alliance (PBA), Downtown Marketing Initiative, the Downtown Retail Advocate, and the City of Portland; Vizwerks, BPM Associates and The Governor Hotel. 

The Downtown Retail Strategy focuses on four main actions:

  • Designate Yamhill and Morrison as signature retail streets within the retail core
  • Focus investment and resources on signature retail streets
  • Employ tactical tools to implement the signature retail spine
  • Create unified identity and marketing strategy for the district

Strategy implementation has been driven by a long-term public-private partnership which has made considerable progress in promoting the health and vibrancy of the downtown core.  On November 14 PBA, PDC, and other partners will present an update on Strategy accomplishments to Portland City Council, noting such transformative developments as City Target, set to open in the Galleria in July 2013; the redevelopment of 4th and Morrison into Sephora, Starbucks and Joe’s Burgers; the new Nike Portland store at 5th and Morrison; and the future substantial renovation of the former Saks space for a high volume retailer.

Meet the Pop-Ups: