New retail experiment: pop-up stores

Call it the low-risk retail experiment: opening a temporary store to test a new concept or build buzz for an established brand.

With the holiday season right around the corner, the pop-up store phenomenon is on the upswing in South Florida and across the country. It's a perfect antidote for a struggling economy that has seen retail vacancies rising everywhere from strip centers to regional shopping malls.

``You don't want the stigma of a property being empty for too long,'' said Christina Norsig, founder of Pop-Up Insider, the first national online exchange for temporary Pop-Up Real Estate, which attempts to match retailers and landlords. ``When a store is animated and full of people, it's much more desirable than a concrete box that's sitting empty.''

There's something exciting about a store that's only around for a matter of weeks. This summer, Gap's Piperlime used a SoHo location to bring life to its online brand and Pop-Tarts generated a buzz with its Times Square opening. They both followed the lead of Target, which has been a national trendsetter with the concept. Cartier, Gucci and Y-3 have all used Art Basel as a an opportunity for pop-up stores in Miami or Miami Beach.

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