Many of the pop-up shops currently set up in Calgary’s malls started out as makers’ markets, traditionally held over a weekend a few times a year, with vendors and artists manning their own booths in rented community halls or local parks. “Ten years ago, we would have never been offered these spaces at the mall,” said Candace Boudreau, founder of Curated Market, adding permanent leases were not an option because they were too expensive. Curated now has four pop-up shops across Alberta, including at Southcentre Mall and CrossIron Mills in Calgary, with dozens of vendors being rotated through every three months. And Boudreau is fielding offers to open additional locations. “I think they (malls) definitely need something new to attract customers . . . and they are able to get a little more creative with their leasing strategies in this day and age,” she said, adding her pop-ups are signed to temporary or specialty leases. One of the founders of MarketSpot, which is operating a year-long pop-up shop in CF Chinook Centre, said the mall has been a great venue for the approximately 80 vendors they represent. “You see so many people come through the mall everyday; it’s tough to get that many eyes on your products,” Andrej Brajic said. Brajic said he and co-founder Emma McCaul started turning to shopping centres after noticing that the makers’ market scene was becoming saturated. Vendors were also getting tired of setting up and taking down their booths, sometimes at the mercy of inclement weather, for only one weekend of sales. The pop-up shop’s consignment-style business model, which allows vendors to simply drop off their products and let MarketSpot staff do the selling, also gives them more time to work on their art, Brajic said. “It alleviates a lot of the pressure on vendors,” he added. Neither Boudreau nor Brajic plan on giving up makers’ markets anytime soon, but see more mall pop-ups in the future. “It’s certainly been our favourite avenue for getting makers and artists exposure,” Brajic said.