What do a vegan bazaar, an all-natural dog treat company, and a business selling refurbished furniture have in common? They’re all setting up temporary shop in Pop in CLE, a brand-new flexible pop-up space in Lakewood.
Having celebrated its grand opening Sunday, Oct. 20, Pop in CLE provides a launching pad of sorts for small businesses looking to hold one-off events or test the retail waters with a short-term pop-up shop. At 900 square feet, the open-concept space can also be configured to suit other purposes, such as educational workshops and networking events.
“The concept is that you can come in and make [the space] into whatever you want it to be,” says founder Amanda Roush. “We offer lots of possibilities.”
To that end, Roush offers an array of options for duration and pricing, ranging from half-days to one-week stays. Before booking, prospective pop-up vendors must tour the space and make sure it works for their needs. Roush also provides racks, shelves, tables, and seating if desired, but the idea is to essentially provide a blank canvas that can shape-shift to suit each unique concept.
“We painted the walls white because we wanted any products or services to have a neutral place where their stuff just pops,” explains Roush.
So far, the space has hosted an open house and a National Cat Day event, and upcoming events include a “Pawliday Pop-Up” featuring three pet vendors; a vegan bazaar; and a “Shop Small” pop-up shop for Refurbished & Thrifty in conjunction with Small Business Saturday. According to Roush, other projects in the works include cake decorating and painting workshops.
Wall calendar featuring upcoming events at Pop in CLERoush is no stranger to the side hustle herself. By day, she works as a medical laboratory scientist at the Cleveland Clinic, and in recent years, she has run the Dog Life in CLE website. She was inspired to start Pop in CLE by her experiences running Dog Life in CLE pop-up shops at Shop the Trader (which is now Fetch & Co.).
“When Shop the Trader closed down because the business owners were venturing in a different direction, I decided that I wanted to open my own store,” says Roush, who formerly resided in Lakewood and now lives in West Park.
Things moved quickly after Roush conceived Pop in CLE in May, and she signed a lease at the end of September. “I stumbled across a listing on Craigslist—the location was great, the price was right up my alley, and the lady who runs the building loved me and my idea,” says Roush. “I signed a lease, and within three weeks, I opened Pop in CLE.”
Now Roush is hoping her new pop-up concept will help spark other small businesses in Cleveland and inspire others to pursue their ideas.
“As a small-business owner myself, I find that instead of going to a market that’s saturated with a bunch of other vendors, it’s nice to have your own space to do what you want to do and promote yourself,” says Roush. “I want to help small businesses put themselves out there.”