Holiday pop-up shops open as part of 'Small Business Saturday'


IOWA CITY, Iowa (KCRG-TV9) -- It's "Small Business Saturday" and the opening weekend of the Holiday Pop-Up shops in Iowa City.

One of those shops belongs to Born Leaders United this weekend. They've been running since 2003. While their retail is clothing they have smiley faces to spread a message of positivity.

The founder of the brand says they've been crawling to walk to run in terms of getting out there in the community. But he insists it's important to shop locally for small businesses to have the potential to turn big.

"When you think about our brand, I could see it being mainstream or nationwide which would give us an even bigger plateau," said Owner Andre Wright. "A bigger base for people to even want to come to Iowa. If you think about it, if I make it, or this brand makes it, the whole state makes it."

Some of these businesses have been open for several years but with online shopping and these new pop up shops, business could change.

"We both have Etsy stores and we do some online sales and then we do craft fairs and we do retail with some local businesses but I think online sales hurt local businesses a little bit because it's so easy to shop from your home as opposed to going out," said Whitney Carino-Marek.

"I think there's no experience like coming into a shop and experiencing the brand itself. Online you could try to mimic that but it doesn't really sell," said Wright.

Whitties Knitties pop up shop is combined with 210 Designs. Whitney says she has confidence in the community that people will continue to support small businesses.

"I think one of the nice things about Iowa City is that it is such a community-based town that people do really want to support the local mom and pop shops and so I think we have a good niche in Iowa City that we feel supported and people support us," said Carino-Marek.

But, Wright says it's best to play both sides of the spectrum.

"I want to do online and I want to be able to have people come in and see me and experience the brand, touch the product, know that they're quality, know that they're good material, know that you're not just buying whatever," said Wright. "You're actually buying something that means something."

The Ped Mall will have different businesses in the pop-up shops every weekend from now until Christmas time.

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