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Before & After: How We Built a Pop-Up Store in 3 Days

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A number of months ago, the Union Square Starbucks was located at the corner of Broadway and 17th Street, in a corner space with no fewer than 12 windows and a constant stream of passersby heading to and from the nearby subways. When Starbucks moved out this fall, they ripped up everything inside the original location—it looked like a tornado had blown through.

Fast forward to last Monday, November 30th, when Food52 started a short-term lease on the space with high hopes of opening our annual Holiday Market to visitors just 3 short days later. Spoiler alert? We did it. But to say that we took this space from zero (construction zone) to 60 (fully fledged retail embodiment of our online Shop) in no time doesn't quite paint a full picture. A team of pop-up consultants, most of our employees, and a bit of hired muscle spent the better part of those all-too-short days on-site—and here are the before and after shots to prove it:

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The Movie Theater:

Every wall in the space had to be painted afresh. Photos by Amanda Sims, Rocky Luten

The Shelving:

Our wooden IKEA shelves had to each be assembled from parts. Photos by Amanda Sims, Rocky Luten

The Living Room:

The mantle, shelves, and all the furniture were brought in and arranged. Photos by Amanda Sims, Rocky Luten

The Dining Room:

That door might be the only detail that existed when our market was a Starbucks. Photos by Amanda Sims, Rocky Luten

The Window Decals:

Our graphic designer Tim McSweeney heroically designed every logo, sign, and decal for the pop-up. Photos by Amanda Sims, Rocky Luten

The Giant Pegboard Wall:

That open (?) space above the pegboard had to be covered and painted, too. Photos by Amanda Sims, Rocky Luten

The Pantry:

A team of our elves buzzed around, adding products to shelves even before all the furniture was in place. Photos by Amanda Sims, Rocky Luten

Everything Else:

What else went into making the pop-up a winter wonderland? Foremost, the vision of a planning team that included our art director Alexis Anthony, our Shop team's Jojo Feld and Kristina Wasserman, a marketing dream team (Jackie Stauffer, Haley Sonneland, Kate Kudish, and Francesca Andreani), and of course Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs, who had the layout, products, and decorations planned before we even set foot in the space on Monday. Second? Every helping hand in the company, who arrived with holiday cheer to spare, ready to perform riveting tasks like organizing inventory, printing and stickering barcodes, decorating Christmas trees, and arranging odds and ends on every surface. Here's a look:

We're giving out free water (and cookies!), a stash of which of course be lugged in by hand.
We're giving out free water (and cookies!), a stash of which of course be lugged in by hand.
Trees were assembled (we had to use fake ones, due to this thing called "NYC Fire Code").
Trees were assembled (we had to use fake ones, due to this thing called "NYC Fire Code").
A barcode was printed and stickered on every single piece of inventory. (Thanks, Alp!)

And here's how we're storing backup inventory:

I'd describe our inventory system as "heritage" #f52market #f52life

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A photo posted by @bridgetwi on

Here's Tim designing every single graphic we used for the pop-up. (He's very happy with us.)
Alexis decorating the tree, and Amanda and Merrill arranging gadgets on the pegboard.

To top it off, our employees are also staffing the market! Come visit such excellent personal shoppers as Jovan Stojanovich and Leslie Stephens:

How can we help you? #f52Market #f52life

A photo posted by @mehighlow84 on

Though some people always work harder than others:

The bosses watching Home Alone in preparation for @food52 #f52Market launch!

A photo posted by Micki Balder (@mfbalder) on


Our magical menu genie will plan your holiay feast for you.

Tags: interior design, construction, before & after, architecture, design