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Pop-Up Shops Celebrate Success, Will Return to Covington

Renaissance Covington celebrated a successful holiday shopping initiative on Saturday.

Make Covington Pop returned to Downtown Covington for a second year with the Mutual Holiday Market in which three temporary pop-up retail shops operated for four weeks in the vacant storefronts of the Mutual Insurance Building.

The effort was "really successful", said Katie Meyer, manager of Renaissance Covington, a non-profit based in City Hall that promotes the revitalization of Downtown Covington.

Renaissance board members and pop-up shop owners as well as city staff celebrated at Trinity Episcopal Church on Saturday where the final sales numbers were revealed.

Between the three shops, $23,692 worth of merchandise was sold over four weeks. The first week was the most lucrative with over $9,000 in sales. Week two saw $3,300, week three saw $8,700, and week four brought in $2,519.

"We didn't know what to expect," Meyer said of anticipated sales. "Ten to fifteen thousand would have been a good benchmark."

The shops included Uncorked Covington, Tarantino Designs, and Kelley's Kloset. At least two of them are exploring the possibility of opening a full-time bricks and mortar operation in Covington.

In Make Covington Pop's first year, one pop-up shop matured from temporary status to opening a full-time location on Pike Street.

Last summer, with financial assistance from the Haile Foundation, Renaissance hosted a Pop-Up Symposium that brought in national experts to explain the concept and to offer tips for its success. A couple months later, a request for proposals was issued and four shops were chosen. The three aforementioned shops eventually opened in the Mutual Building, which is set to begin renovations this year as it is transformed into luxury apartments on its two upper floors and new retail spaces on the first floor.

Volunteers and board members from Renaissance, leading up to the pop-up opening, spent several days cleaning and preparing the Mutual Building's spaces where KW Mechanical provided electricity.

Meyer said the initiative would continue in 2014 with a possible pop-up market, an outdoor movie night, and the return of the holiday pop-ups next Christmas.

Written by Michael Monks, editor & publisher of The River City News

Photo: Mutual Building holiday pop-up shops exterior/RCN file