Pop-up shops success, despite rain

Published 10:38 pm Monday, November 26, 2018

Lots of vendors and shoppers braved nasty weather on Saturday for the {Re}Stored Pop-Up Shops experience on Small Business Saturday in downtown Suffolk.

“It’s pretty great,” said Kayla Spurlock, who was selling custom mugs in a tent in the SunTrust parking lot on Saturday. “We’ve had a lot of foot traffic, people stopping and looking and taking cards, and then shopping.”

Most vendors agreed that the event was great in the morning, before the rain came. Even in the afternoon, they still saw a steady flow of shoppers in spite of the rain.

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“We did have a lot of foot traffic this morning, and it’s kind of died down a little bit now, but we’ve had a lot of people come through,” Spurlock said.

Syreeta Woods was selling women’s apparel and accessories at the event and said she was happy to be there in spite of the rain.

“I guess the rain put a little damper on it, but overall, it’s always good to be around other businesses and network, so I’m always happy to be here. I live in Suffolk, so I want to support other businesses and the community.”

A few vendors and the entertainment acts did cancel due to the rain, but organizers were still pleased with the turnout considering the weather.

“I think that we were pleasantly surprised that people still braved the weather and came out and supported it,” said Economic Development Director Kevin Hughes. “It’s not as easy when the weather elements are there, and people still came. That says something to us.”

The pop-up shops are set up in vacant storefronts as well as a tent in the SunTrust parking lot. The idea is to get people downtown, get merchants thinking about a brick-and-mortar location and support small vendors.

This is the fourth year the city has held the event on Small Business Saturday, and the continued support for the event tells Hughes that people want to support downtown and small businesses.

“People want to see more activities in downtown Suffolk,” Hughes said. “They want to go up and down the sidewalks and explore. That continues to tell us this is an event worth doing.”

Amy Yost, a LuLaRoe consultant, agreed. It was her first year participating in the event.

“Downtown changes so much, and there’s always new stores down here,” she said. “Bringing people downtown and seeing all the things they have is great.”