So last month we made a pop up shop happen in Wolverhampton. It was messy and adhoc, it took a lot of patience and thinking and talking but ultimately it was fun.
Experience of a a pop up event
Running the shop was great fun specifically as we placed no expectations on ourselves so anything we did achieve was a bonus. We were really well received by people as a whole and we had a lot of positive comments, particularly around it great seeing something “different” in the city.
As a market research tool it was great, people really engaged with the space, filling in their post its and sticking them to the window regardless of whether they chose to come in to he shop and “play” – I think this was because we were in a shop – not grabbing people on the Dudley Street. People have become so accustomed to be stopped on the street they’ve stopped paying attention.
I think as a one off pop up we were happy with what we achieved, but if we were going to hold an “event” either a one off or a series, a lead up with some advertising – even if it was just teasers about what the space could be used for that would maybe attract people into the city to see what’s going on, and if they got used to something different happening in the spaces they may even keep returning to see what’s happening week on week.
I think the fact we attracted so many different people in such a short space of time shows that Wolverhampton liked the different offering a pop up shop could deliver.
Young people engaged with us, they used the free activities and repeatedly said they would come into the city to spend more of their leisure time if there were spaces like ours they could relax in.
Older people like the free books – they told us they liked the idea of the spaces being used and they “would feel safer” in the city if there we less empty units and places were open later.
Other suggestions for pop up events put forward by people of Wolverhampton were:
- Craft space for yarn bombing
- Tea/ coffee shops run by schools / community groups
- More games
- Art Galleries
We spoke with over 90 people in the hour and half the shop was running for and received written post it feed back from nearly 50 of those. We asked everyone who came into the shop to answer a question for us. What do you do in the city after 5:30 overwhelmingly the answer was “Nothing” so we started asked What would you LIKE to be able to do in the city after 5:30 and the answers were mainly along the same theme.
The fact the shops and cafes close at the same time as the offices close was a reoccurring issue – why would people stay in a city where there was nothing open other than pubs? It was suggested that later opening for shops would keep people in the city after work and that they would be more likely the stay in the city to have a meal or see a show at the Grand or Arena Theaters if they felt safer. Everywhere being closed really fed into the perception that the city wasn’t a safe place after office hours. Especially for those using public transport that would at times have to walk across an empty city to get to their destination.
All the written feed back we received on the post its can be seen below:
What do you do in the city centre after 5:30pm?
- Go to Light House use the cinema
- Go to cosmos (x2)
- Nothing – so many replied with this I lost count
What would you like to see?
- More fun and games and shows
- Cocktail Bar or Late opening cafe.
- Late night coffee Shops
- More social spaces for “refined people” who don’t want to just get drunk
- Karaoke bar
- A place were young people can hang out and play games
- Making safer (perceived as unsafe)
- Bowling Alley / Ice Rink
- Ice Rink, Cinema, Bowling Alley
- Better quality restaurants
- Shops open after 5pm – more shops!! More restaurants open (cafes etc) BE MORE LIKE BIRMINGHAM WITH BETTER MIXED OPENING TIMES
- Cypriot food
- Shops open late. More Coffee shops open late.
- More local cinema
- More stuff (activities) for kids
- Lower bus fares.
- More designer shops Debenhams etc.
- More games – and when you win a game you get a free prize
- Community activity centre
- More places to eat
- Later opening for those of us that work out of town.
- More choice of activities
- Cafes open later
- Shops open later
- More in the centre (It’s all at Bentley Bridge)
- More people to hang out with and have more fun.
- Sports events for young people.
- Hops & cafes open after 5pm
- Drinking on the streets,
- More coffee shops open after 6pm please (with cake)
- More and better quality restaurants
- Late night cafe (e.g. arts etc)
- More Cafes, Restaurants and Nightlife.
- More sociable places e.g cafes restaurants and music bars
- More games in Wolvo
- City Centre Pubs / areas with Child freedom play areas.
- Activities for people of all ages
- More shops for Emo scene “Goth” people
- Youth Club for younger children
- Continental style opening – Later for workers
- Bowling Alley in the centre of town, too far away in Wednesfield
On the Pop up shop
- Great bit of fun – there should be something like this out of hours.
- TBH you’re doing nothing wrong
- Great fun can we do this again?
On Wolverhampton in general
In the day time there is a great shopping centre, good bus service and good metro service at night there’s nothing!