The rise of pop-up shops in Ireland

Pop-up shops bring with them new life and energy into often run-down urban areas. Catherine Devine reports. 

Many business owners are opening a pop-up shop and turning an extra profit. This new trend is in part due to the recession as many commercial spaces were left unused following the crash. Temporary spaces in many urban areas in Ireland have been turned into restaurants, galleries, and shops, bringing with them new life into ‘abandoned’ commercial areas. 

The benefits of pop-up shops

There are many advantages of pop-up shops for business owners. The buzz a pop-up shop creates is an excellent promotional tool for a   brand or product. Pop-up shops also allow entrepreneurs to avoid expensive long-term leases and to test if their idea is viable. Pop-up shops with a limited life span can become immensely popular.

Cuisine de France opened a Christmas themed pop-up bakery on Dublin’s South George’s Street in the run up to Christmas 2015. The pop-up shop called ‘Boulangerie de Noel’, aims to give people the feel of ‘an authentic French Christmas’. The pop-up shop offers freshly baked pastries as well as ingredients to make bread at home. The novelty of a shop like this in Dublin is an active and creative branding exercise for a large company like  Cuisine de France. 

Scrumdiddly’s ice-cream shops opened before Christmas 2015 inside Arnotts and was praised for adding to shoppers’ Christmas experience. The owners, Jennifer Kane and Darren McCormack, who have another shop in Dun Laoghaire, are considering making their stay in the city centre permanent due to customer demand. 

Cork pop-up CA Design is a pop-up furniture shop. Carol-Anne Leyden, who started the company, was reluctant to invest money in a furniture shop during the recession, so started pop-up shops around Ireland to sell her furniture collection. This proved to be very successful for her company. She began pop-up shops in Dublin and plans to open others in Belfast and Galway.

‘Home’ a restaurant that serves healthy and gluten free options as well as home favourites, started life as a pop-up restaurant in an unused location in Belfast City Centre in 2011. Within three months, the pop-up became a permanent fixture in Belfast’s Wellington Place. Ben Arnold is the head chef at Home, and both he and the restaurant have received many awards including the Bib Gourmand from the Michelin Guide, which indicates a restaurant offering good food at moderate prices.

Tayto opened its pop-up shop in Dublin early in 2015, proving that old favourites can be a new phenomenon. The store allowed the public to indulge in crisp sandwiches. Queues formed outside the shop for the ten days it ran, with sandwiches costing €2 (€1 of the price went to the Simon community to help the homeless).

Most pop-ups are seasonal with Haloween and Christmas being the busiest times for new store openings. From Donegal to Kerry, the pop-up shop phenomenon has spread across the country.

Dublin company, Creative Retail Solutions opened 15 pop-up Halloween stores throughout Ireland and the UK in November 2015. Similarly in Dublin, Fabio Molle, owner of the Funky Xmas Jumpers pop-up shop on South William Street hoped that his novelty seasonal pop-up shop would entice people to buy his Christmas jumpers and t-shirts.

Across the country, entrepreneurs are delving into the new phenomenon that is pop-up shops in the hope of avoiding long-term leases and turning over huge profits.

READ MORE: How to set up a pop-up shop.