Small Business Center
Right in time for the holidays, small businesses have a new place to sell their products. Walmart just announced a pilot program to provide short-term pop-up spaces to small businesses. Here’s everything you need to know about the program.
Walmart is partnering with Popable, a pop-up marketplace, on a pilot program to offer short-term leases to small businesses at select Walmart stores across the country. Small businesses will be able to rent pop-up spaces without committing to long-term leases.
Walmart is testing the concept in stores in Texas, Georgia, Colorado and Illinois. As Popable co-founder and CEO Scott Blair explained, this partnership is a way “to provide opportunities for small businesses to grow, utilizing Walmart’s footprint of built-in foot traffic,” while at the same time filling some of the store-within-a-store retail vacancies at Walmart.
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An example of a Walmart space available for short-term lease
To view the Walmart stores participating in the pilot program, click on Popable’s platform. Each listing indicates the location of the store, how many pop-up spaces are available for lease and each one’s square footage. Marketing includes photos of the store and site maps which help small business owners visualize where the pop-up is located.
1. To apply directly through Popable, create a free profile on its platform, which is sort of like a Match.com between small businesses looking to find available pop-up spaces and landlords and owners looking to lease them. If Walmart isn’t the right match for you, you might find another space that is; Popable’s matching engine provides recommendations based on the criteria you set in your profile. Once your profile is uploaded, you can message and connect with your local Walmart’s leasing agent, as well as apply for one of the spots directly from the platform.
2. If you don’t want to upload a profile, you can apply directly on Walmart’s leasing page, which you can find here. On the form, Walmart asks you to provide information, including a brief description of your business, business type, number of existing open locations and annual sales at existing locations. In the notes, make sure you indicate that you are applying for a pop-up space.
The small business will predetermine the time frame. Leases will range from one month to a year but could grow into longer-term agreements, according to Blair. The terms are decided and negotiated by the brands and Walmart directly.
There are about 200 vacancies for the pilot program. According to Blair, Walmart is specifically interested in local retailers to fill the spots and is open to all types of products, including food vendors. In the press release announcing the program, Walmart senior director of retail services Darryl Spinks described the pop-ups as a way to “offer local brands an opportunity to grow inside our stores,” adding that “this is a great example of our focus on offering services unique to the neighborhoods we serve through our store of the community initiative.”
Walmart will let applicants know if it’s interested in chatting more.
There are lots of reasons for a small business to lease pop-up spaces, and it’s not always just to generate sales. A pop-up is also a way to create buzz and brand awareness or to test out a potential market before committing to a long-term lease.
Want to learn tips on how to make your pop-up space successful? Check out this informative webinar featuring Laura McLaughlin, Vice President of Specialty Leasing, Brixmor Property Group and Barry Goldware, co-founder of Popable. Click here to watch.
By Rebecca Meiser
Contributor, Commerce + Communities Today