If Sophie Smith had her way, the town of Brunswick would appear as if came out of a Hallmark movie during the holiday season.
It is a goal that the Brunswick Main Street manager thinks could be reality in a few years. And it all begins with a holiday pop-up store.
This is the second year that Brunswick has held a pop-up store downtown. This year, the store, PopUp Holiday Marketplace, is located at 27 W. Potomac Street, next to Foot Works Shoes. Inside, there are items made by around 25 different artists and vendors. It is centered around the upcoming holidays, so many items are meant to be purchased as gifts.
There are water bottles and tumblers, each with a different saying on them. There are hundreds of ornaments, in different styles depending on the artists. There are beaded pens, paintings, earrings, necklaces, bottle tags, soaps, olive oils and baskets, to name a few.
“It’s basically like Christmas come to life in Brunswick,” Smith said.
Of the 25 or so artists, about 11 or 12 are local to Brunswick, said Leslie Ruby, owner of PopUp Frederick, which helped to find the artists for the Brunswick shop.
“It’s a one-stop destination for gift shopping,” Ruby said.
On Friday evening, Ruby was with two of the artists manning the shop. Each artist is required to put in so many hours at the shop. The shop opened at 4 p.m. on Friday, but it was a little empty.
Ruby was waiting for the sound of the Marc train approaching. People tend to come by on their way home to work. And on the weekends, the shop gets busier, she said.
The Brunswick pop-up store officially opened Nov. 8, with a ribbon cutting Saturday, Nov. 16. It will run through Dec. 22, a longer time than last year.
Unlike a craft show, each artist’s items are spread around the pop-up store. They have a barcode connected to an artist’s identification code so that each artist gets paid when an item of theirs is purchased, Ruby said.
This is the second year that artists Judy Harkins and Diana Shutt have participated in the pop-up. On Friday, they were the two artists responsible for helping around the shop, although Harkins was instrumental in helping to design the layout of the shop, Ruby said.
Harkins makes beaded ornaments as well as mosaic mirror ones. Shutt does handpainted ornaments.
It is nice to have a holiday pop-up store, Harkins said, because she sells seasonal items. She said last year went well, and she would like to see a similar situation this year.
Harkins is from Frederick, but the pop-up store opportunity drew her to Brunswick. She said she hopes it does the same for others.
“It’s such a cute little main street, but there’s not a lot of activity,” Harkins said.
The pop-up store reminds Shutt, also from Frederick, of the little stores she would see in Pennsylvania, where she lived before moving to the county. With the new development in the Brunswick area, she said she hopes people come by to shop.
Shops like the pop-up one increase the traffic downtown, said councilman Andrew St. John. And it does promote holiday spirit, he said.
“You can’t help but have Christmas spirit in a Christmas shop,” he said.
People are enthusiastic about having the pop-up shop and being able to shop local, said councilman Nathan Brown.
Through the pop-up store, Smith and Brunswick Main Street were able to work with the property owner to make the space turn key ready, meaning when the pop-up shop is done the space will be ready for a new business to come. Brunswick has many vacant properties that need some tender, love and care to make them ready for a business and up to code, according to previous News-Post reporting.
The pop-up store shows that the space can have a successful business, Brown said.
And to create a holiday experience, the pop-up shop will hold events every Saturday from 2 to 4 p.m., Smith said. The events and the holiday-themed pop up are meant to ignite the holiday spirit.
“It’s like a Christmas card,” Smith said.