Vintage After Death proprietors Abbey Ridell

BUSINESS BEAT: Watch for pop-up shops to flourish in Victoria this season

Christmastime creates foot traffic for short-term retailers

The idea of pop-up retail shops is not new. The concept of setting up short-term spaces to expose new customers to one’s products or reduce stock has seen success in local shopping malls, and on a larger scale in cities like New York and Los Angeles.

Abbey Riddell and Arunima McNeish, a pair of 30-ish women who have developed a following for their vintage clothing ideas at local vintage fairs and other shows, are testing the pop-up waters downtown for the month of December with Vintage After Death.

“It’s become more popular, with the economy leaving storefronts more (available),” says Riddell,  who also operates Bikram Yoga Saanich and will work with McNeish in the tiny former jewelry store on the Pandora Avenue edge of Fan Tan Alley. “Landlords have become more open to accept short-term leases.”

Vintage A.D. will stock men’s and women’s vintage clothing, vintage knick-knacks and figurines.

“I’m excited about creating an atmosphere where people can chill and play dress-up,” McNeish says. She likes the idea of having fun with fashion and bringing art back into the way people dress.

Ken Kelly, executive director of the Downtown Victoria Business Association, says one of the keys to a successful pop-up business is opening up where there is a heavy traffic flow.

“It takes a lot of precision, in terms of getting the right match of the space and the tenant, not to mention the best deal for both the tenant and the property owner,” he says.

The store opens Dec. 1 and will be open every day but Christmas. Riddell and McNeish hope to gain a barometer for their ideas by having a storefront. They’ll gauge whether to pursue another short-term lease from their success, but they’ve picked the busiest shopping month of the year to open.

Sounds like a good time to try it out.

– Vintage After Death, 3 Fan Tan Alley, opens Dec. 1, hours are from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily. 250-891-5634.

Mobile game company moving beyond tiny

Gaming industry entrepreneurs Alex Mendelev, Chris Hoefgen and Jamie Toghill are hoping a major influx of local cash will help turn their startup TinyMob Games into a growing concern in the free-to-play strategy games market for mobile devices. Adrian Pereira, Don Wharton, Elton Pereira and Myron Pereira of local tech firm Pareto Logic were among the investors who provided the trio with more $2 million in seed funding for the new venture, which expects to release its first game next spring. TinyMob’s founders, each a veteran of the industry, announced their company is now hiring. See tinymobgames.com.

Fort Street merchants celebrating early

Retailers along lower Fort Street in Victoria are banding together for an old fashioned Christmas evening. Festive Fort happens tomorrow (Nov. 28) from 5 to 8 p.m. and features candle-lit streets, carolers, featured in-store specials and chances to “Win the Window” at 795 Fort St.

Teddy bear sales at B.C. Liquor Stores

Customers at B.C. Liquor Stores can help send a stuffed bear to a good home, through the annual Share-a-Bear campaign. Buy twin teddies for $11 at any local store and leave one behind to be sent to a community charity helping families in need. The campaign is going on at all 195 stores in B.C. until just before Christmas.

Isolated seniors given some cheer

Home Instead Senior Care is spearheading a program to provide Christmas gifts for isolated and low-income seniors. Now through Dec. 8, special Christmas trees will be displayed containing ornaments with seniors’ names and gift requests. Pick a name, purchase the gift and return it unwrapped to the store. Trees are at Walmart at Uptown and West Shore Town Centre, Forbes Pharmacy on Goldstream Avenue, Progressive Chiropractic at 207-1595 McKenzie Ave. and Home Instead, 222-1595 McKenzie Ave.

Names in the news in biz and community

The Peter B. Gustavson School of Business at the University of Victoria has a new executive-in-residence, international entrepreneur and corporate executive Blair Hagkull. He is also on the school’s’ newly established international advisory board.

Send your business news to ddescoteau@vicnews.com

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