Holiday pop-up market to kick start "Small Business Saturday" al - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Holiday pop-up market to kick start "Small Business Saturday" all month long

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There's nothing small about it when it comes to this year's Small Business Saturday, that's because the Iowa City Downtown District is thinking big.

Small Business Saturday is a national movement that encourages people to shop locally but ICDD is making an effort to keep that movement going all month long, and it all starts with new pop-up shops.

ICDD Director of Operations Betsy Potter said Small Business Saturday is their biggest holiday of the year and that's because 95% of the downtown-area businesses are locally owned and operated. It's also when ICDD kicks off it's month-long holiday campaign efforts.

Downtown in the Black Hawk Mini Park, the final touches are being put on three pop-up shops that will make up this year's Holiday Pop-Up Market.

"It's more of a long term reminder that downtown has a lot of retailer," said Potter. "It's a great shopping time down here. It's a great shopping time downtown. There's a different atmosphere down here when you do your holiday shopping. It's not as chaotic." 

The pods were designed by Sanjay Jani of Akar ARchiTecture and are modeled after a "corn crib". The market will cycle through new vendors each week for five weeks unlike the previous two holiday markets that took place one day only. 

"It gives the opportunity to kind of a give a different experience and to set up a truly holiday type market for each store," Potter said.

Potter said while the first year of the market was 40 degrees, last year's was below zero. She said the unpredictable weather made for a not great retail experience. Those markets were held outside in a tent. The pop-ups will come up with heating and electricity, which Potter said will be better on shoppers and retailers.

Some of the vendors that will make up the holiday market already have storefronts downtown while others are much small start ups.

"There's a lot of people that go through this area every single day but you may not have gone into Full Kit before or 10,000 Villages," said Potter. "The idea is that we kind of get you here, introduced to their product, and then you visit their brick and mortar." 

The shops will be open every week from Thursday to Saturday at 11:00 a.m. until 7:00 p.m. The other days, the pods will be used for fundraising and campaign efforts.

Starting Monday, the pods will be filled with over 100 teddy bears for people to take pictures with and to even get a hug from a teddy. All the teddy bears will be donated to the United Way of Johnson & Washington Counties.

In December, the pop-ups will also be home to a mystery giving shop. All of the mystery gifts come from local businesses and 100% of the proceeds will also go to United Way.

Here's a list of the vendor schedule:

  • November 25-26 : Small Business Saturday/ Downtown Experts, BLU Collar, Whitties Knitties & Two Ten Designs
  • November 30-December 2: Glassando, RAYGUN, Molly’s Cupcakes
  • December 7-9: AKAR, Full Kit, West Music
  • December 14-16: AKAR, Textiles, Revival
  • December 21-23: Ten Thousand Villages, Whoa Nelli, Catherine’s

A full list of everything that the ICDD has planned can be found here.

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