‘Matchmaking’ Site Finds Empty Spaces For Needy Popup Stores
This different kind of 'dating site' fits unexpected functions with unused spaces.
Have you ever walked by a vacant storefront in your neighborhood and considered its possibilities? Spacified, a ‘dating’ website currently active in Europe that matches spaces and temporary store concepts, hopes to appeal to businesses big and small with a unique matchmaking service.
Though online retail has taken over consumer spending in recent years, physically situating shopping ideas is still important to many businesses, both as a stress test and promotional tool. “There’s a huge demand for spaces among people with ideas — young entrepreneurs that want to test-run their business idea, webstores that want to find out if their concept also works in real life, and start-ups that want to display their product in a serious environment,” founder Patrice Fleurquin told The Pop-Up City in an interview.
The service also hopes to focus on common workspaces as well as retail storefronts. Though the internet has made some forms of work more solitary, Fleurquin believes it’s important for ideas to travel in more ways than just over the Internet. “‘Anything is space’ is our philosophy, which means that we don’t want to focus on only retail, or only workspaces. We believe that our perception of space is still very narrow. Office spaces, for instance, are meant to be office spaces, but can be used for a lot more things than work alone. This cross-over between space and new activity is really what we want to achieve,” he said.
Despite the idealism and flexibility of many users of the service so far, it has encountered obstacles in fitting in with existing regulations, much like its residential cousin Airbnb. “Renting out space temporarily has all kinds of effects on the property, which is scary. Besides that, a lot of real estate owners are still very conservative,” said Fleurquin. “It’s not yet very common to look for temporary use.”
Perhaps unsurprisingly, demand is outstripping supply in those locations explored thus far, but slowly property owners are warming to the rise of stores-within-stores, kitchen workshops that can generate additional revenue from a space, and some very unconventional uses for shopping malls. An Indiegogo-funded Pop-up guide will list all the pop-up spaces within cities and offer opportunities for engagement.