ELLSWORTH — Gretchen Wilson had an idea as she walked past the former Grasshopper Shop on Main Street recently.
“I just looked at that space and thought, ‘What a perfect place for pop-up shops,” she said. A pop-up shop is a small, short-term retail operation, one that often coincides with a particular period of time (such as the holiday shopping season).
Additionally, Wilson — like many others in the Ellsworth area — does not like seeing that empty space in the heart of downtown Ellsworth. The space has been empty since the Grasshopper Shop closed its doors in the spring of 2015.
“I didn’t want to see that space empty for a second Christmas in a row,” she said.
So Wilson, executive director of the Ellsworth Area Chamber of Commerce, talked to building owner Rod Grant and secured his permission to use the space to host pop-up shops. The Chamber then partnered with the Downtown Ellsworth Association to find occupants.
Wilson said there will be 10 booths within the building and most of them have been filled at this point. Among the offerings will be gourmet food, assorted gifts and a coffee bar.
Among the pop-ups, Wilson said, will be some businesses that have looked at or considered downtown Ellsworth in the past but were not able to afford a space as large as the Grasshopper Shop on their own.
There will be “a variety of businesses not currently in a retail location in Ellsworth,” Wilson said in a news release.
“We are very excited to have this anchor building downtown open for the holiday season,” she added.
The pop-up shop space, which will be called the Holiday Marketplace, will be open Fridays (9 a.m. to 6 p.m.), Saturdays (9 a.m. to 5 p.m.) and Sundays (10 a.m. to 3 p.m.) starting the day after Thanksgiving — aka, Black Friday — until Christmas Eve, which falls on a Saturday this year.
The kickoff for the Holiday Marketplace on Nov. 25 is expected to coincide with a tree-lighting event, the details of which are still being firmed up at this point. The following day, Nov. 26, also coincides with the annual Small Business Saturday event.
Wilson said Peter Lione will provide professional decoration services for the windows.
The joint pop-up effort in downtown Ellsworth is not the only such effort in the city this year. On High Street at Cadillac Mountain Sports, manager Kelly Cochrane said her store will also offer pop-ups on Wednesday and Thursday nights from 5 to 7 p.m. during the month of December.
Cochrane said 12 different businesses will take part in the pop-up space on a rotating basis (not all will be there at the same time, that is). She said among the offerings will be Indian food, jewelry and an apothecary.
“We know there are people out there with great inventories without storefronts,” she said, in explaining why Cadillac Mountain Sports is hosting the pop-up space.