SAN JOSE (CBS SF) – Looking to revive retail in Downtown San Jose, one entrepreneur is hoping to create a pop-up shopping mall created out of shipping containers.
Adam Mayberry had big ideas and just a little cash. So he built a small store into a shipping container and placed it in Downtown San Jose for the holidays. It worked, well enough for him to make a go of it year-round, selling custom designed sports apparel.READ MORE: UPDATE: All Lanes of Westbound I-580 In Oakland Reopen Following Police Activity
“The idea behind the shipping container store is that businesses could test the waters such as myself in downtown,” Mayberry told KPIX 5.
Now he’s thinking bigger. Mayberry wants to take his single concept store and blow it up, creating a sort of pop-up shopping district made entirely of shipping container stores with built in cafes and sitting areas.
“If you string four or five of these together, in our case we want about 15, then you have a critical mass of businesses, advertising to their customers and in turn bringing customers to their neighbors,” Mayberry said.
He’s now trying to sell the idea to downtown landowners, including operators of parking lots that could be flipped into the city’s newest mini malls.READ MORE: Oakland School Board Discusses Reinstating Popular Police Mentoring Program
“With pop ups, there’s a lower barrier to entry, a lower cost to get in,” said Daniel Harris of the Knight Foundation.
The idea has some big supporters, including the Knight Foundation and the San Jose Downtown Association.
“This could be a step into a potential brick and mortar establishment,” said Scott Knies of the association. “It has promise. You could see this happening really easily with some of the open space that we have.”
Retail has been one of the big missing links in Downtown San Jose for about the last 45 years, ever since the big suburban shopping malls like Valley Fair started gaining in popularity. There are blocks and blocks of vacant store fronts in downtown, and the stores that are open are often spread out making window shopping difficult.MORE NEWS: Supply Chain Crisis: Shipping Industry Leaders Meet In San Francisco, Warn Backlog To Stretch Long Past Holidays
They are not the most attractive things. But backers say they don’t have to be, they just have to be better looking than the blighted closed up shops that downtown has now.