Pop-up shops are becoming increasingly popular. There’s plenty of empty retail space out there that landlords would rather lease out for even a limited time than continue to lose money on it.
Pop-up shops are a great way to turn a hobby into a money-making proposition. You can sell those Christmas or Halloween decorations you make every year. Maybe you’re selling your homemade candles or t-shirts on Etsy, but you’d like to see how they’ll sell in a “brick-and-mortar” location. Perhaps you’re just not sure yet if you could make a year-round business work, so you’d like to try it out.
While pop-up shops are typically temporary, there are still licensing requirements, just as there are for any business. You need to find out what kind of business license is required in the city and county where you’ll be operating. You may also need a special license for the type of product you’re selling.
Read the landlord’s lease carefully before you sign it. If there are provisions in there that don’t work for you, you may be able to negotiate changes.
If you’ve never signed a lease for a commercial property before (or even if you have), it’s wise to have an attorney review it. It’s essential to understand what changes you can and can’t make to the space and what services the landlord is required to provide (like repairs for plumbing or air conditioning issues).
Maybe you’re just going to run the shop with the help of some family members who are helping out in exchange for a portion of the profits — or free cookies, if that’s what you’re selling. However, if you’re going to be hiring employees (even part-time ones), you need to make sure you comply with state and local labor laws.
If this is already sounding like too much trouble, remember that if you have an idea that can bring you fulfillment and perhaps eventually a nice steady stream of income, it’s worth it. By getting sound legal advice and other professional guidance upfront, you can save yourself a lot of unnecessary headaches down the road.