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Opening a pop-up store

Exploring the benefits of the pop-up shop

The GongFu Bao team prep food in a kitchen.
The GongFu Bao team prep food in a kitchen.

Tarek Hassan launched his first enterprise, GongFu Bao, serving traditional Taiwanese steamed buns out of a food cart stationed at a busy downtown intersection near Confederation Park.

But to expand and fine-tune his offerings, Hassan used an increasingly popular strategy: a pop-up shop.

The term typically refers to a temporary storefront in a high-traffic area, such as a shopping mall or busy street. In Hassan’s case, the entrepreneur took his food truck menu indoors to Fontenelle Restaurant. He pays the owners a flat rate to use the restaurant and takes over the space for his “one-offs” after Fontenelle’s closes for the day at 2 p.m.

Pop-ups are typically a win-win for entrepreneurs and their short-term landlords. As in Hassan’s case, an existing restaurant may turn over their space outside normal hours of operation to another business to help cover their rent and the cost of restaurant equipment that’s otherwise sitting idle.

Retailers, meanwhile, may take over a vacant storefront for a reduced rental rate for a short period of time or until the landlord finds a full-time paying tenant.

The Quartier Vanier BIA has prepared several tools to help entrepreneurs across the city find both pop-up and permanent locations for their businesses.

Visit to access these resources and learn more.

Ottawa e-commerce giant Shopify has identified seven key benefits to pop-up shops:

  • Testing new revenue streams;
  • Engaging customers;
  • Creating “get it while it lasts” urgency through limited-time offerings;
  • Marketing merchandise around a sale, season or holiday;
  • Educating new customers;
  • Going to where your customers are; and
  • Generating brand awareness.