Across the U.S., there is a huge amount of vacant retail space not being utilized. The longer these spaces are without a tenant, the more this is costing their real estate investors and owners. Republic Spaces is hoping to change this through their online platform that allows retailers to source pop-up spaces for their brand.
“The pop-up shop trend reflects a shift from the selling of goods and services to the value of experiences and transformations,” says Founder, Angela Wang. “Brands must now create memorable events for their customers in order to sell goods and build loyalty.”
Angela has a background in digital and before founding Republic Spaces, she worked in ecommerce and marketing where she served Fortune 100 companies such as Cartier, L’Oreal and Puma.
Her cofounder, Jennifer Magee has over 10 years experience designing stores for 100+ unique retail clients including Saks Off Fifth, Duty Free and Barnes and Noble. Jennifer understands the process of how to start up a store from beginning to end and create the kind of experiences customers are looking for, working effectively with both retailers and brands.
Angela says, “We are riding on the forefront of this growing trend for temporary retail experiences and see a large number of online brands wanting to get a taste of operating in the real world.” By providing them with storefront space, brands can test out their products and find new markets.
The trend is quickly catching on for retail owners as it helps them populate empty stores in strip malls, shopping malls and on the street while triggering the shopping environment which in turn increases the space’s value. Retail property owners get the benefit of renting out their store for additional revenue by filling a space in the short-term while they wait for long-term tenants.
Based in New York, Republic Spaces soft launched in January 2013 and has since grown to over 1,000 qualified brands including everything from fashion, food, novelty items, homegoods, as well as tech and gadgets – all looking for short-term retail space. The platform’s innovation lies in the ability to connect retailers directly with available real estate properties for short-term leases and has even been referred to as the “Airbnb for Retail.”
It goes without saying that the team have been busy building relationships with key real estate owners, developers and city agencies that have available space in order to offer brands a new and unique pop-up experience. Not only can these stores provide a short-term return, but they can also grow into a permanent retail store if the retailer has a favorable experience in the space.
Over the next year, Republic Spaces is focusing on organizing large offline marketplaces and sourcing appropriate brands for these opportunities in their current New York market as well as increase their reach into the Los Angeles, Miami and Chicago. They are also brokering relationships with various hotels in order to create some targeted pop-up markets within these establishments for the savvy business traveler.
Their vision is to expand Republic Spaces into both an online and offline marketplace that enables online retailers and independent designers to experiment and benefit from having a real-world store without the high overhead costs of renting a long-term space.
For investors, the website helps them locate tenants faster by providing more visibility to their retail space providing quicker returns on their investment. For more information, visit republicspaces.com.