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Holiday Pop-Up Shops return for fifth year

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Holiday Pop-Up Shops has operated in Midtown District for four years. | Photo James Harber / provided
  • Holiday Pop-Up Shops has operated in Midtown District for four years. | Photo James Harber / provided

Five years after Allison Barta Bailey launched the annual holiday pop-up shop concept in Oklahoma City, she notices more interest than ever before in buying local.

“I’m hearing from more of our shoppers who are making a conscious effort to buy their gifts from local retailers,” Bailey said. “I think over the years, our shoppers have realized we’re trying to make it easy on them to do that by bringing all of their favorite shops into one space.”

The holiday pop-up shops launched in 2012 at Myriad Botanical Gardens before moving to Midtown in 2013. This year, more than 40 local retailers, the widest selection of local businesses the event has ever gathered, participate in the five-week shopping event.

Browse and buy

Beginning Friday, seven to 10 businesses rotate weekly in and out of the seasonal retail village at the intersection of NW 10th Street and Hudson Avenue. The location is usually open 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Thursday-Saturday and 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Sunday. However, in the week before Christmas weekend, hours will be 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday.

The pop-up shops are free to browse. Participating retailers include Blue Seven, Bison Shop, A Date with Iris, Mode, Tree + Leaf, BC Clark Jewelers and others. Bailey said a panel carefully schedules weekly shop rotations to make sure there is a gift for everyone on a person’s Christmas list.

In addition to local holiday shopping options, visitors also will find food and beverage vendors, musicians, artists and picture opportunities with Santa.

Holiday Pop-Up Shops are possibly as well-recognized for the brightly lit geodesic domes that house the vendors as the retailers themselves. Bailey said the heated domes were introduced primarily because they can endure the sometimes harsh Oklahoma winter weather.

The structures have visual appeal as well.

“They glow at night and really complement the Christmas lights,” she said.

Special access

This year, some shoppers will have a new way to gain exclusive access to the shopping experience. The Top Shopper pass, available on the Holiday Pop-Up Shops website for $50, allows access to slower-paced, private shopping sessions in weeks two through four, access to the VIP tent on Black Friday and Dec. 20, a tote bag with local gifts and a free photo with Santa.

Bailey said the pass was introduced as a way for people to balance holiday shopping with opportunities to be social.

“With the busy holiday season, it’s so easy to kind of miss out on chances to hang out with your friends, and this is a way to do both,” she said.

Shop attendance isn’t counted, but Bailey estimates vendors see around 10,000 visitors each weekend. She said crowds get larger each year.

“We think that’s because the shops put more effort into it every year — their merchandising, their displays, their products,” she said. “They start to understand the event and what people need for gifts. They’re thinking about it in January for next holiday season.”

Visit okcpopups.com.

Print headline: Finding purchase, Midtown’s Holiday Pop-Up Shops returns with its biggest retailer lineup to date.

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