Alec Sanderson couldn't turn on the lights at his downtown holiday pop-up shop until 31/2 hours before it opened. His inventory arrived at about the same time.
Just when he thought these were challenges enough, he faced another time-consuming hurdle: educating customers about his South Bend Brew Werks business concept.
His store will be sticking around and expanding early next year into a brew pub.
Bicycle Gallery owner David Martin should know in January whether his pop-up shop, located at 127 W. Washington St., can also remain downtown as a permanent fixture. He wants to add tattooing and body piercing services.
But all the other pop-ups are closing on Saturday.
So visit while you can.
Some of the local business owners have already started packing up decorations and display units that are empty.
Just as quickly as they transformed empty buildings into active, festive storefronts, they will leave.
Melissa McIntyre is hoping to open her own traditional storefront within the next two years, basing much of the decision on her experience downtown.
"I sold over 50 different mosaics in the shop so far, and I definitely think I have made new regular customers," says McIntyre, the owner of MyCentir Mosiacs, 140 S. Michigan St. "I've had people contact me for future custom orders for the new year already."
Like Sanderson, McIntyre found it challenging to turn an empty space into a holiday store in a matter of days.
"She has been taken a bit aback by the number of custom orders she received," says Tamara Nicholl-Smith, the city's downtown director of business recruitment.
But the holiday pop-up program offers business owners a storefront free of charge to test their concept in November and December.
It worked for Imagine That, 117 S. Michigan St., the locally owned toy store that was selected to participate in the first pop-up program in 2010 and remains a downtown tenant.
And it worked for Made in Michiana, 122 S. Michigan St., which participated in the 2011 program. Located behind the South Bend Chocolate Cafe, it features items from more than 60 local artists and artisans.
"Many have fantasized about owning their own store," Nicholl-Smith says. "But the pop-up store program lets them see if the reality matches the picture they had in their head. We have seen tenants surprised at how rewarding owning their own shops can be."
Have you heard?
The Woodland Inn, 63992 Indiana 933, South Bend, is on the market. The sale price is $150,000 for the building, land, equipment and inventory, according to a listing by Prudential One Realty in Mishawaka. ... Concord Custom Cleaners recently closed its doors at 4334 Grape Road, in the multi-tenant building along Main Street near Noodles & Co. at Princess City Plaza. ... A lease has not yet been signed for a new Scotty's Brewhouse in Mishawaka. This still could happen in the next week, and then we'll disclose its new location.
Heidi Prescott's column runs on Fridays and Sundays. When she's not shopping, contact her at hprescott@
sbtinfo.com or 574-235-6070. You can also talk retail at Facebook.com/thebasket and at Twitter.com/marketbasket.