So now that we found the space, we had to get moving on what running a Pop Up actually entailed.
First Things First…
We were very fortunate that our new landlords were already experienced in this area. So there wasn’t a 20 page document of legal mumbo jumbo that makes you nervous.
We had a Month to Month lease agreement with the owner allowing us 1 month notice to vacate. We paid 1st, last and a security deposit. Then it was a waiting game of us holding out until the owners could demo the building, which as per the locals, would take awhile due to the town politics…
Utilities: Electric, Gas, Water & Internet
We contacted PSEG and set up service in our name for electric and gas. The electricity was still on in the empty building, but the gas had been shut off. We needed the gas for heating if we were still there in winter. The town had to come and turn the water on, which took the longest.
Kindly, the owners had the heat checked (in June) to ensure we would be ok for the winter. There were some random cabinets and a dryer left in the space, but I was able to move into a side room. I didn’t mind, honestly. I was just so happy to have the giant raw space to work with.
We had to do a thourough cleaning, sweeping, washing windows, making the bathroom look somewhat presentable. But it was all worth it.
We had the 2 spots in front of the building (where we had previously illegally parked during the street fair). From the day we opened the shop, I spent the majority of the time asking people to stop illegally parking and running errands (so as to avoid paying the meter). Fun times… But finally about 4 months in people got the hint.
Usually for short term Pop Ups people will get insurance for the day or the weekend. But since we planned on being in the space for a minimum of 3 months, I had to get REAL insurance. Luckily our insurance broker that we use for our automotive insurance was awesome and she hooked us up with a good deal. The issue with Pop Ups is really that some people still don’t understand what they are or why you would do them. So there isn’t a lot of examples to follow.
I called the Town’s Zoning and Permits department to get an idea of what I would need to legally open. Again, the concept of short term rentals was something new… so therefore I basically gave up. I applied and paid the $50 fee for a monthly temporary sign to get me to sleep at night for the first month. But I knew I wasn’t going to pay $50 every month… And I wasn’t going to pay the yearly fee for the sign because I might not be there that long (and my current sign was basically a plastic banner that I used for our 10 x 10 Tent at Fairs/Markets). After the first 3 months of back and forth trying to make a new law for Pop Ups, the zoning guy and I just pretended we could never actually get in touch by ignoring each other’s phone calls and emails. So I just moved on.
So once all that tricky legal and practical stuff was out of the way, we could move on to the fun stuff like decorating, creating new business cards with our shop address, making a cheesy announcement in the local paper and starting to plan our first event.
Keep in mind that Chris and I had literally no idea what we were doing. Every day was something I had never done before or even thought of. So we made a lot of mistakes, tried our best to learn from them and moved on quickly. Because there will always be Quickbooks to do.