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Pop Up Grocer-Miami-winter 2022.jpg Pop Up Grocer
Besides its hometown of New York City, Pop Up Grocer has opened in Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami (pictured above), Washington, D.C., and Austin, Texas.

Pop Up Grocer’s strategy: ‘Product discovery’ vs. weekly haul

The vegan-centric retailer plans to open its first permanent location in New York this winter


  • Each store only stays open for 30 days — but Pop Up is also planning a permanent market in NYC
  • Most of Pop Up Grocer’s brands are vegan, women, LGBTQ, and minority owned
  • The newest pop-up, in Denver, will open Sept. 30 and leans into nostalgia

Pop Up Grocer is on a mission to promote emerging brands from underrepresented vendors while attracting shoppers who are conscious about what they eat — all while the company, well, pops up stores from coast to coast, and soon in Denver too. 

The retailer curates natural and innovative brands from a variety of small businesses — half of its vendors are owned by women and 90% are vegan brands — and gives them marketing exposure through visually appealing displays.

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Bright colors and engaging displays draw attention to the “emerging brands” found at Pop Up Grocer.


“We work directly with brands in our sourcing and distribution, which means that we intimately know the founders and the stories behind the products on our shelves, which we can then communicate to our visitors,” says CEO Emily Schildt, who founded Pop Up Grocer in 2019.

“As a key part of our mission — to increase visibility for emerging brands — we also prioritize those with founders that are underrepresented and under-resourced — women, BIPOC, queer, bootstrapped.”

Pop Up stores are typically 1,000-square-feet and feature 120 to 150 emerging brands and between 300 and 400 items — “all of which are new-to-market and better-for-you,” Schildt said. 

“Unlike standard supermarkets, which are built for the routine grocery haul, our stores are designed specifically for the discovery of new products,” she said.

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Each 30-day Pop Up Grocer store features 300 to 400 items from 120 to 150 brands.


Customers enjoy shopping in this out-of-the-box — and healthful — format, Schildt said.

“Our target shopper is one that is conscious about the things they put in and on their bodies and curious, interested in and excited by things that are new to them. Our visitors experience a great deal of joy from discovering the items on our shelves and in discussing them with our in-store team. It’s an intimate environment that encourages conversation, both within our four walls and online.”

Pop Up Grocer is especially attractive to those on restrictive or otherwise special diets, Schildt added.

“As the majority of our product selection is vegan and gluten-free, we also find that our space is a retreat from large grocery stores where those following specific diets have to do a lot of digging to uncover the items they can consume,” she said. “It completely shifts their perspective on shopping — it’s a delight, rather than a hunt.”

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The upcoming Denver store will bring a new look for Pop Up, including a grocery nostalgia motif with bright, playful colors and checker-tiled floors.


After launching with its first store in New York City in September 2019, Pop Up has opened at eight locations in six cities, including Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami, Washington, D.C., and Austin, Texas, with each store open for 30 days in its destination city. The retailer plans to establish its first permanent location in New York this winter.

The next Pop Up store is slated to open this week in Denver. The location, at 2645 Walnut St., will operate from Sept. 30 to Oct. 30 at 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily.

“Our Denver shop is located in the RiNo neighborhood, one that entertains a vibrant scene of art, music, dining and retail,” Schildt said. “We always look to position ourselves in the center of creativity, wherever we go.”

The Denver store will bring a new look for Pop Up, sporting a grocery nostalgia theme with bright and playful colors, checker-tiled floors, a disco fridge room and a human-sized Plinko game. The format was designed in collaboration with Denver-based agency Make West.

“As with each location, we will host a series of events inside the store, which are free to the public to attend and include samples of the products on shelf and are hosted by local tastemakers and community groups,” Schildt said.

The Denver Pop Up store will carry several national brands, such as Christie’s Chips, The Hampton Grocer and Courtside, plus Colorado-based products like Hazlo tequila mixer, Rowdy Mermaid kombucha and vegan Byte Bars. Pop Up Grocer donates 5% of in-store sales to one emerging brand and its founder. 

“As our aim is to increase visibility — brand awareness — for the brands that we feature, the majority are looking to support recent expansion to the Denver/Colorado market, or are hoping to expand to the area, and can use their sales within Pop Up Grocer to inform or validate that interest,” Schildt said.

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