Pop-up retail shops are a relatively recent trend. Since the first such store opened around beginning of this century, targeted temporary retail spaces have taken off in the U.S. and Great Britain. The pop-up shop, set up on a short-term basis in an unoccupied commercial space, provides a perfect limited risk enterprise for aspiring small business owners.
The holiday season generally spawns a number of pop-up shops here on the Vineyard. Three temporary gift shops have opened their doors for the month between Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Returning for about the tenth year in a row, the Vineyard Holiday Gift Shop in Vineyard Haven features the work of over 20 different local artisans. A true co-op, the participants all split the expenses and take turns manning the shop. Although the temporary store has occupied a number of different spaces over the years, it has returned to last year’s location on Spring Street, just off Main Street in Vineyard Haven.
Ally Reed, Stephanie Rossi, and Brianna Valente organized the coop. Ms. Reed’s line — Mermaid’s Catch — features her mermaid and wave logo on artful tees, tote bags, and more. This year she has added something called the Up-Island Survival Kit, which includes everything one might need in any real emergency — a nip holder, citrus knife and cutting board — in an attractive fabric case.
Ms. Valente makes cute doggie treats, while Penny Uhlendorf offers felt pet stockings and catnip toys. The proceeds from the latter go to Felix Neck wildlife sanctuary. The pop-up shop also sells the Felix Neck annual calendar featuring local wildlife.
Ms. Rossi crafts charming, rustic little animals and other figures from spun local wool. Her sheep, horses, and mermaids make perfect ornaments for a Vineyard tree. She also sells Christmas-themed wooly decorations including a charming set with Santa and all eight reindeer.
A number of other fiber artists are represented. Jo Maxwell turns vintage blankets and curtain fabric into one-of-a-kind chenille and bark cloth pillows, throws, and bags. Christine Bresnahan is offering her attractive handmade bags in a variety of pretty fabrics. Pat Z uses fun novelty yarns to craft inexpensive headbands, neck warmers and fingerless gloves. Elizabeth Edge has added long silk skirts to her popular line of fleece and velvet wear.
There’s pottery by Scott Campbell and glass art by a couple of local artists. Jeri Dantzig makes cheese boards, trays and little dishes in colorful designs. Suzi Fairbanks adorns jewelry, wine stoppers, pens and more with her hand blown glass beads.
Kim Johnson’s So Free line includes soap, bath salts, lip balm, and aromatic crystals made from all-natural vegetable butters and oils. Her line features some interesting scents like rosemary mint, vanilla hazelnut, and even Christmas tree.
If you’re looking for local edibles, the Vineyard Holiday Gift Shop has a wide array including Linnsational chocolates, MV Honey, and jellies, mustards, and salsas from New Lane Sundries. There are also leather goods, dried flower wreaths and, well, a little bit of everything.
New this year is another cooperative effort in Oak Bluffs. The Pop-Up Coop is stationed for the month in the Circuit Ave. space that houses the gift shop Lemonade during the summer months. Andrea Hirt has organized a group of artists and artisans to provide a variety of handmade gifts. Ms. Hirt is offering her Madame Falgoux line of bath products, candles, and perfumes inspired by her New Orleans roots.
Tanya Chipperfield creates decorative accents from natural scavenged finds. Her unique line includes a mobile fashioned from dangling flowerlike seed casings and little “bouquets” of painted pods popping out of antique thread spools.
Janette Vanderhoop offers a wide range of items from dream catchers to striking feather earrings and wampum jewelry to little suede lighter cases and rabbit furs. Becca Rogers also makes attractive leather jewelry including beaded wrap bracelets and very attractive earrings in metallic dyed feather shapes. Laura Caruso has crafted some unique jewelry pieces, including silver filigree earrings and bead and leather bracelets.
Clair Phelan-Phillips knits scarves and also gives new life to button-down shirts by making aprons and wine “sleeves” Tarra Corcoran’s fun Girlettes line includes adorable fabric barrettes and whimsical stuffed animals for kids or adults.
The shop also features work by a couple of local artists. Basia Jaworska’s large folk art paintings and decorated guitars feature some of her favorite blues artists. Ms. Jaworska is also offering some small watercolors and fabric flower clips. Joan Walsh has contributed watercolor and acrylic paintings and prints in a variety of sizes, as well as two of her illustrated kids books.
The Holiday Shop currently carries the work of 12 artists and artisans but more may join in this month. The store is open every day from 10 am to 6 pm until a few days after Christmas.
For the second year in a row, the owners of Blissed Out Smoothie organic smoothie and juice bar on Main Street in Vineyard Haven have turned part of their small space into a Christmas bazaar. They call their holiday collection Stocking Stuffer and, appropriately, everything on offer is under $20. There are even a few items in a basket on the counter for $1.50. The selection includes fair trade crafts from communities all over the globe. There are charming felted animals from Nepal to hang on the tree or brighten your home any time of year. The same artisans have also crafted unique colorful felted birdhouses in a variety of styles.
Artisans from Peru contribute hand-carved, hand-painted gourds. The intricately carved designs include a chubby owl, a hummingbird, a globe, and even a miniscule nativity. There are a number of lovely rustic crèches from many countries, including India and Bangladesh. Angels made in Africa from recycled soda cans, cute handmade stockings from Nepal, and tiny Tibetan deities give the shop a great global feel. Also on display are crafts from American artisans, including multicolored handknit socks from Vermont, lots of jewelry, dream catcher jars, and pet tags that identify their wearers as Hot Mama or Spoiled Brat.
Blissed Out took a one-month hiatus in November, but will be back in business even beyond the holiday season. They have added homemade waffles, hot soups, and coffee to their menu of healthy smoothies and juices. The shop is open from 9 am to 1 pm on Sunday, 9 am to 4 pm on Saturday, and 9 am 2 pm Monday through Friday.