It’s not a craze; it’s a great and small form of creativity and commercialism sprouting up all over the Wasatch Front in unlikely and obvious spaces. Pop-Up businesses and restaurants have become the new standard for hyper-local fans and the DIY generation. We’ve all grown used to the fake roses and stuffed animal vendors on various street corners during Valentines week or the zebra or wolf blanket purveyors at boarded up gas stations in the summer. That’s not what I am talking about here.
The new Vive Juicery is a great example of a good and rare idea in Utah – cold pressed raw juices ‘fueled by love and local farms’. These folks got their idea because they couldn’t find the hydraulic pressed juice they had tasted elsewhere instead of veggie juice from centrifugal machines. Going through all the hoops of setting up a store front, passing all the rules and regulations of the health department and city licensing officials can break the bank of any entrepreneur. The folks at Vive Juicery have a great idea – why not share a space with a restaurant that’s not open during the day in an already approved kitchen? Do a little Kick-Start and next thing you know, Brittany and Bryce Thaxton are making juice at 7 AM inside the restaurant Zest, pressing their fresh beet, date, ginger and green magic mixes available for walk-in patrons and on-line orders. Zest opens at 4 and so the juicers just slide out the back door as the veggie loving dinner guests start coming in the front door. This pop-up only shows that complimentary foods and people working in the same space to create great food for the healthy minded souls.
Pop-Ups are easily found at the Downtown Farmers Market. What you haven’t heard – it’s open during the winter! Yes, you can get your Winter Market shopping on at the Rio Grande depot a block west of Pioneer Park every other Saturday. Just before Thanksgiving we discovered a booth there from Urban Pioneer Foods. Brooke Woffinden, a local personal chef and caterer was offering small canning jars of pumpkin seed and cilantro pesto. At $9 a jar the item seemed pricy but OMG no one we shared it with even wanted it on pasta – it was good enough to just eat with a spoon.
The goal of many pop-up owners is to bring a unique item to a local market in the hopes it will take off and be financially viable. Remember years ago at the Market when a humble young Latino man was selling refried beans and tortillas from a cart? Jorge Fierro has now become infamous and successful with his brand, Rico Foods and Frida’s Bistro. Microenterprise and the people who support the little guy have helped Happy Monkey Hummus move from the Market to grocery stores.
What happens at your place of work after hours? Maybe you could share space with a start up /pop up business. Got a good idea for a better widget but can’t quite raise the funds to pay for machinery? Think about your options and support the small independents this holiday season.