Pop-Up Shops in the Pontiac?

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Added: Wed, 12/14/2016 - 9:39pm
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Allyson Beuregard

With Christmas quickly approaching, vendor sales are plentiful, even in the Pontiac. Take a look at our most recent issues for examples of the many craft and gift sales that have been held recently in most communities!
These events are very popular and are a useful tool for both vendors and consumers. For vendors, they allow those without store fronts to sell and market their products, and for those with an established store, they can encourage customers to visit their store at other times of the year.
The sales often draw in people from outside of our area, which expands the vendor’s clientele base, and they are generally held during peak seasons, the most notable being Christmas, when consumers are most motivated to buy.
For buyers, craft and gift sales give them access to a variety of different
products and services marketed by local people in one convenient location. They are also a one-stop shop for unique handmade gifts that can’t be found in
big box stores.
The only downfall is that these events are held for short durations, usually only for a single day. Would shopping local be better encouraged if people had the opportunity to access vendor sales for extended periods of time?
An article recently circulated about the town of Renfrew offering affordable spaces within an un-used downtown building allowing small, local vendors
to set up temporary store-fronts to market their products and services during peak seasons like Christmas – for more than just a weekend. Is this “Pop-Up Shop” concept something that could be beneficial for the Pontiac?
Municipalities within close proximity to one another could collaborate by
designating one centralized building for the market - perhaps a vacant building,
a Lions or Golden Age Club, RA Hall, etc. – setting aside a small amount in their annual budgets to help offset the costs of hosting and advertising the event.
Aside from promoting their local businesses, the municipalities could also use the event to market and promote their region to visitors, much like Pontiac Ouest does at multiple events throughout the year. Chalk it up as a “thinking outside the box” marketing expense!
The 18 Pontiac municipalities (through funds taken from their shares to the MRC) recently contributed over $10,000 to help fund and promote the Bristol Dryland Dog Races, an event that draws in many people to the Pontiac every year. Could this become an annual fund that could be dedicated, at least
in part, to funding Pop-Up markets, which could benefit local craftspeople and other small business people?
Other organizations like the MRC, SADC or Chamber of Commerce could also contribute to the markets, which could run anywhere from a week to a month in duration. View an example of a local, short-term pop-up shop on
page 35.
Wouldn’t it be a wise investment? The funds would help a wide audience, increase the opportunities for residents to support their local businesses, show those from outside the area what Pontiac has to offer (which could also help
our economy), and it could result in new business start-ups. A project like this could be a big bang for our tax buck!