Opening Up…

With its non-stop chain restaurants and shopping monoliths, Edmonton is rarely described as being trendy. Yet for some fantastic reason, it seems Edmonton and its people have embraced something new and fresh.

Pop-ups.

Lately it’s been two kinds: restaurants and stores. In both cases, something is created from nothing. With the restaurants, the chefs move into a non-restaurant space (the two I’ve attended were in a lounge and one was in a pedway). And in the case of the pop-up stores, there seems to be a revolving store in the store space on 124th Street beside Duchess Bakeshop.

Pop-up restaurants are a fun idea, I’m just not entirely certain of them yet. The two I’ve attended have been…interesting. With the first one, the food didn’t really seem fresh and the quality just wasn’t there. The chefs usually run a food truck, so I’m willing to cut them a lot of slack, and it was the first one so there were bound to be kinks. The second adventure was with the executive chef from Niche. The food this time was much better, but I noticed that in all cases it was coming out of the kitchen warm, not hot. Maybe I’m nit-picking; afterall, I’m sure it’s a challenge for these chefs to work in kitchens that are not their own and may not be equipped in the same way. But they willingly took on that challenge. As long as the ticket prices stay around $30, I’ll likely still attend.

The other type of pop-up has been stores. I haven’t gone to many, mostly because I haven’t had any money so seeing pretty things I want to buy isn’t really fun. However last weekend I met a friend at Duchess so I had to check out the vintage pop-up store next door. It was cute and had a lot of interesting vintage pieces. Coup Boutique, which has a store on 104th Street, recently had a Coup Pop-Up in the same space, to get rid of their sale items. I can’t afford Coup items even with a sale, but I have no doubts it was filled with gorgeous pieces at great discounts.

With most of these pop-ups, social media engagement is key, as I’ve heard of every single one of them via Twitter or Facebook. I like that they’re fleeting and I like that they move into underused spaces as it has the potential to draw out customers into new and different areas of the city.

(My blog titles are song titles. This one is “Opening Up” by Chromeo.)

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