Pop. Pop. Pop. Shop.

Rise and Shine pop up

The Rise and Shine Company pop up is in a shipping container in the park.

We took a few minutes Wednesday afternoon to stop by the pop-up shops that are at Tricentennial Park in downtown Albany this week.

Pop-Place includes six shops set up in/around the park. It's been arranged by Capitalize Albany's Impact Downtown Albany project as way of experimenting with retail in the neighborhood. (Spurring new retail development is one of the aims of the "tactical plan" the org is developing.)

The pop-up shops will be in place through September 23 (here's the schedule). This Thursday, September 18 there's an "Experience: Pop-Place" event with food tasting and music from 5-8 pm.

A few more pics are after the jump.



The Rise and Shine Company is a lineup of men's products selected by Michael Conlin, who played a big part in getting the pop-up shop event organized. (He was also one of the finalists for this year's AOA Startup Grant.) Conlin explained to us Wednesday afternoon that this is the sort of shipping container people might use to store or ship household furniture, so it opens on both ends and is a bit nicer than the sort of containers used on ships.



Just off the park, above Mug Shots, is All Day She Plays, a pop-up organized by Alyssa Hardy, a fashion producer. The shop includes pieces from a few local designers, along with some vintage items.

(And apparently this space, which has great windows, is for rent.)


Hardy said Albany mayor Kathy Sheehan had been earlier that day and bought a sweater jacket by Kristina Collins, a designer based in Saratoga Springs.


The rest of the pop-ups are in 540 Broadway, just to the north of the park (entrance is from James Street). Alas, they weren't open when we stopped by.


Pop-up shop lineup

Descriptions via Capitalize Albany.

Rise and Shine Company - men's apparel, art & curated goods - container in the park

All Day She Plays - boutique women's fashion, jewelry & vintage finds - above Mug Shots

South End Pallet Works - custom furniture - 540 Broadway

Semi-Lux - bespoke men's & women's apparel, limited feature - semi truck on Broadway

Capital Creative - paintings by Tony Iadicicco - 540 Broadway

Desolation Road Studios - photography by Jim Miller - 540 Broadway

Fort Orange General Store - curated goods & gifts, September 18 only - 540 Broadway


Full disclosure: I haven't seen the space these shops are supposed to be in, so take this with that grain of salt.

Pop-up shops/markets (and retail in general) is about density. Make the area compact enough so people mill about and go stall to stall. It's why farmers' markets and holiday markets do well. You can't leave without passing another table or food vendor. The photos above are a prime example of why Albany struggles: a location is chosen that can't fit the shops closely together, some are upstairs or down the street, and many aren't even open during prime shopping hours. Never mind the guys from Rise and Shine. There's nothing about their body language that says "come in and shop!". The CD has SO many creative minds and thinkers, but the truly successful ventures find the nexus of the owner's passion for something and what customers want. I've seen it time and again in Saratoga: someone has a great idea, but they run it in the way that makes THEM want to be there, not necessarily what various customers might like.

Maybe I'm missing something; maybe AOA went at a bad time, but this confirms my worst initial thoughts about this experiment (yes, selection bias may be present).

These are all very creative explorations for merchants, but without stability and consistency, one will never develop a dedicated customer base. The biggest negative is the "here today, gone tomorrow" consideration by the consumer. I want to know that I can bring something back if not satisfied. Not readily available from a mobile mart. Use the weekly markets to sell if flexibility and low overhead is needed. Leave this method to the t-shirt vendors at sporting events.

I love the pop up shop idea. I think it is great and I'm so glad Albany is trying it out and the Mayor is supportive. I've lived in other cities where they have had successful markets like this where they took an empty gravel lot and filled it with airstream trailers each featuring a different shop. I would love for Albany to do something like this or fill empty storefronts with pop up shops.

I work in the area near this park, so I'm walking through it several times a day. So I've checked out the pop shop a few times now. When all the shops are open and there is music I love the atmosphere it has brought to the little park. The paper lanterns and café tables are a nice touch too. I think being the first time they've done this there are a few hiccups perhaps. But I hope they learn from them and keep the idea going!

I thought that the All Day She Plays shop needed better signage. I ended up not going up to see her shop because I just wasn't enticed (and I have to be wise about how I spend my short lunch break). If she had made more of a presence like a larger graphic sign in the windows and on the sandwich board or an eye catching window display then I would have been more drawn in. Since the shop is located upstairs she probably has to work harder to get passersby attention.

I was there yesterday around 2pm, and I agree I was a little confused by it. Some of the stalls in the park were already breaking down, I didn't realize until reading this that there was a shop above Mug Shots, and I only realized there was stuff in 540 Broadway until I walked by it on my way out. Michael Conlin from Rise and Shine was great though, we wandered into his "shop" and he was very good at explaining what was going on, and introduced us to one of the organizers from Capitalize Albany. But even after talking to her I still didn't really know what was up. Organization, messaging and advertising needs to be bolstered a bit, but all in all, I'm happy things like this are happening in downtown. There is an event tonight from 5-8 in the park, and I really wish I could make it. I hope people in the area hang around after work and check it out.

AddiesDad - I think AOA went too early, judging by the fact that the 540 Broadway space wasn't even open yet. I went at lunch yesterday and there were many people shopping, and some listening to the live musicians.

Also, for anyone going - 540 Broadway is the building seen through the shipping container in the first photo up top. (It's easy to miss it's giant building number which is located on a pillar) You have to enter through the back of the building to get to the popup shops inside. Don't walk up and down Broadway looking for the right building like I did ;)

@AddiesDad: I'd be hesitant to conclude much from this one slice in time. I got the impression there had been a lot of people there around lunchtime, and that would have improved the atmosphere a lot. (And the Rise and Shine guys are totally friendly.)

But I think you're right that the configuration could be better. While there Wednesday afternoon I was thinking it might have been interesting to have multiple shipping containers lined up or arranged somehow in the park so all the shops were concentrated in one spot.

I get the impression this event is an experiment, so if it's repeated I bet the organizers will build on some lessons from this time around.

@Paul: If anything, I was there too late, around 3:30 pm. Apparently the time to be there was midday. I don't know why the 540 Broadway space wasn't open (the schedule said it would be) -- maybe the person who was there keeping an eye on it had to step out for a while.

Just stopped over during lunch.

fyi - Fort Orange won't be there til 5'ish on Thursday.

I was impressed w/ All Day She Plays and actually bought a dress - during lunch - in Albany. Haven't walked out of my office building during lunch and bought a dress since I lived in NYC.

I have this crazy idea. We could make a place where there were some people and a few buildings. Over time we would open up stores, and parks, and museums. Then to come would be hospitals, homes, apartments, schools. Maybe then a bus or train to bring people who lived a little further away into this area to live life...and we will call this area a City! I believe it will catch on! I hear there are other parts of the world, and even this country, with these things. Anyways gotta head out to Wolf Road...getting the full Albany experience with a haircut at Knockouts, maybe a little Southern hospitality at the Texas Road house, and maybe wrap up the night having a drink at the outdoor "Café" at the Cheescake Factory watching the people waddle from their cars into the Mall to pick up some sweet plastic stuff made in China. I LOVE ALBANY NY!


The sad thing about your comment is that it describes the average person in this area perfectly. It seems that everyone has been force-fed this suburban nightmare for so long, they wouldn't have it any other way.

The thing that has always puzzled me is that I always hear people talking about how they went to NYC or Boston for this or that, but do not seem to want to have the same experience at home.

Things are starting to move in the right direction(excruciatingly slowly), but I think we have a LONG way to go. The cities around here have so much potential. Unfortunately our local leaders can't seem to grasp this and prefer to keep the status quo.

It will be interesting to see how this plays out and think it’s important that constructive criticism (to improve future experiments) rather than judgments (condemning the notion outright) inform this process; Albany has the sad ability to think that if something going down isn’t on par with something you’d see in the City, it ain’t worth doing at all, which is a defeatist way to rationalize life. You also have a few very complex social dichotomies trying to dominate here:

One: The rise (and maybe fall) of the suburban paradise vs. the fall (and revival) of the dense, urban core. While larger cities are able to provide unique shopping experience by virtue of their densities, smaller and mid-level cities have seen their main streets and shopping districts disseminated by suburban strip malls. That seems to be changing as millennials prefer transit, walkable communities that provide open air markets or shopping experiences vs. the enclosed, vanilla strip malls they were forced to grow up in. Even baby boomers, who are looking to downsize, mention dense communities that allow them to explore the streets and casually peruse the shopping options (like they did on that vacation to Europe), which has helped fuel the turnaround of many cities.

Two: Physical vs. online (and increasing online mobile) shopping practices. Physical stores find it increasingly difficult to compete with the convenience of online shopping, with many big box stores (Borders, Best Buy, to name some) closing all over the place as the Amazon’s capture market share. This is bad news for suburbia’s mess of strip malls and concrete parking deserts. For our cities, the news is more mixed. Yes, physical store fronts had been closing down, however, smaller retail outlets have been able to take root in denser, urban communities, and are doing well. Additionally, the millennial generation loves mobile shopping, which doesn’t seem to lend support to these smaller physical retailors, but in fact it does. I’ve read a lot of literature highlighting how marketers are having a hard time promoting their clients products to millennials, because unlike their forebears (who had no problem being sold an item and told to march to their nearest mall), millennials prefer to discover new products, often wrapped in experiences, which is how the mobile element comes into play. This has inherently favored small retailors in cities, especially through pop-up events (like this one in Albany) that provide experiences, often facilitated through mobile applications (twitter, facebook, etc). One commenter said they didn’t feel comfortable with the idea on not being able to return something since the pop-up vendors wouldn’t be there after the event ended, which is a valid concern, but I know my peers rather have fun, do something new and hey, if you have second thoughts about what you bought, trade it in at the thrift store or sell it on eBay (its how our generation has grown up to shop).

Hi there. Comments have been closed for this item. Still have something to say? Contact us.

The Scoop

For a decade All Over Albany was a place for interested and interesting people in New York's Capital Region. It was kind of like having a smart, savvy friend who could help you find out what's up. AOA stopped publishing at the end of 2018.

Recently on All Over Albany

Thank you!

When we started AOA a decade ago we had no idea what was going to happen. And it turned out better than we could have... (more)

Let's stay in touch

This all feels like the last day of camp or something. And we're going to miss you all so much. But we'd like to stay... (more)

A few things I think about this place

Working on AOA over the past decade has been a life-changing experience for me and it's shaped the way I think about so many things.... (more)

Albany tightened its rules for shoveling snowy sidewalks last winter -- so how'd that work out?

If winter ever gets its act together and drops more snow on us, there will be sidewalks to shovel. And shortly after that, Albany will... (more)

Tea with Jack McEneny

Last week we were fortunate enough to spend a few minutes with Jack McEneny -- former state Assemblyman, unofficial Albany historian, and genuinely nice guy.... (more)

Recent Comments

My three year old son absolutely loving riding the train around Huck Finn's (Hoffman's) Playland this summer.

Thank you!

...has 27 comments, most recently from Ashley

Let's stay in touch

...has 4 comments, most recently from mg

A look inside 2 Judson Street

...has 3 comments, most recently from Diane (Agans) Boyle

Everything changes: Alicia Lea

...has 2 comments, most recently from Chaz Boyark

A few things I think about this place

...has 13 comments, most recently from Katherine