When an estimated 125,000+ people flocked to downtown Minneapolis for the Super Bowl at U.S. Bank Stadium, it was not surprising that centrally located downtown retail addresses like City Center filled with retail concepts in anticipation of increased traffic and opportunity. The retail economic impact of the event is estimated anywhere from $65 million to $80 million dollars and retailers lined up for a chance at increased exposure to visitors who buy items beyond necessities and Super Bowl LII gear.
Studies have shown that shoppers seek an authentic experience and/or souvenir to bring home from their trips to new places. Super Bowl LII visitors are no different, with many looking to leave Minnesota with something locally made, that arises out of an experience or a story and is something you can’t get anywhere else.
Enter the pop-up. The North Local Market pop-up shop took up two floors of the City Center for the week leading up to the Super Bowl and featured 37 local vendors, makers, retailers, foodies and brands that give back-each with its own brand experience and story. Most of the vendors are MN based with an online presence that relies on e-commerce for sales. The North Local Market was a unique opportunity for these brands to put their product in front of consumers in real time and allowed consumers to touch and experience the product upclose-and-personal, creating a one-of-a-kind, local experience that many shoppers looked forward to.
This pop-up market seemed to be a win-win for both small, local retailers and downtown retail hubs like City Center. The market offered retailers an opportunity to expand their footprint and brand awareness and it allowed City Center the ability to flex their traditional leasing structure to accommodate for risk taking and concept testing by these small brands. These small, artisan brands, who wouldn’t normally have the capital for such a high-end retail address, together as a large “market,” can afford to locate at downtown retail spaces. These spaces also benefit greatly from “being the destination” and most likely experience increased foot traffic to their larger, long-term lease retailers and restaurateurs as well.
So the question becomes, is this pop-up model sustainable in the long term or will the North Market concept fizzle out now that the Super Bowl is over? Elizabeth Layne, Chief Marketing Officer at Appear Here, an online marketplace that matches emerging retailers up with available spaces states, “Malls need to think more like [magazine] editors. Think of the mall as a blank slate, an opportunity to build in new and exciting content, malls over time get boring. Programs like [North Market] allow malls to experiment with new content to keep customers coming back again and again... Ultimately, getting more and more customers into your center helps you sign a long-term lease.”
That said, is conceptual, experiential “market-like” retailing the wave of the future and a possible solution to lagging retail absorption in the Minneapolis central business district? Perhaps-we will have to see if the North Local Market can help invoke that sense of place where people who live in Minnesota want to hang out, experience great brands and food and share a sense of community beyond the hub bub of the Super Bowl and the influx of outside visitors.
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Colliers International | Minneapolis - St. Paul
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