Although notable for being the first bookstore to reenter the downtown Oklahoma City market for decades, Commonplace Books is also breaking new ground on how they have used the concept of a pop-up shop to grow their business while in the process of opening their permanent location down the street. Oklahoma City has seen seasonal pop-ups like the Halloween superstores or my Holiday Pop-Up Shops in Midtown. But, using a pop-up style shop as a semi-permanent space leading up to a permanent space is somewhat unique. By the time Commonplace moves to their permanent space in March 2017, they will have operated a pop-up shop a little over four months.
This space was important to their start-up process for several reasons. Most importantly, it allowed them to connect with customers during the holiday season — the highest traffic season of the year for retailers. They have fostered those relationships this winter and hope it will drive loyalty and enthusiasm for the permanent space down the street.The temporary space also provided a lower-risk launching ground for their concept. Thanks to a flexible landlord, Midtown Renaissance, Commonplace was able to occupy the space on a month-to-month basis and could slowly grow their inventory which limited their overhead. Their permanent store will host around 8,000 titles at any one time, a big leap to purchase for a small shop.
Shops looking to test their toes into a brick-and-mortar retail space can take tips from how Commonplace has made this transition virtually seamless. Customers have about a month to visit their pop-up space before it closes at the end of March to open their permanent space one block north at 1325 N. Walker Avenue, which is a part of Cornerstone Development's The Edge at Midtown.
To see an extended sit-down interview with Commonplace Books, visit our Youtube page!