Waterfront Vancouver hails Pop-Local

For about a year, Jessica Chan took the lead role in building the interior of her new store, Pop-Local, at The Waterfront Vancouver’s RiverWest building. During a time when construction costs are high, she built much of the store, including the 50 wood shelves she cut, sanded and stained.

“I’ve never done so much sanding in my life,” she said as she walked among the new store’s offerings of mostly Vancouver-made products and gifts on Monday. “A lot of the vendors for the store are builders who helped, too.”

Pop-Local, at 111 Grant St., held its grand opening Saturday amid a crowd of enthused community members. It’s the first permanent store specifically selling retail products on the waterfront, and it’s meant to draw locals and tourists, Chan said.

The store is open Tuesdays through Thursdays from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., Fridays and Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Sundays from noon to 5 p.m. It is closed Mondays.

Pop-Local began in October 2020 at 111 W. Ninth St., and Chan built enough business to move into the new location, which is about twice as roomy as the old spot. It measures about 2,300 square feet with storage and a photo booth room where people can take photos in front of a Vancouver-themed backdrop.

Chan describes the store as having a modern-contemporary vibe with “a story behind every product,” she said. Products include hot sauces, coffee, honey, candles, prints, hoodies, jewelry, flowers, plants, beer, wine and snacks. Most of it is sourced within an hour-drive radius.

Vendor Ghania O’Neill stopped by the store Monday to drop off her Vancouver-made sunflower seed butter, ry’s sunbutter. She’s one of more than 80 vendors who sell their goods at Pop-Local.

“It is so exciting that Jessica (Chan) brought so many local makers together like this,” O’Neill said. “To have my product next to Maryhill Winery is really cool. I’m expecting this to help my business a lot.”

There are food, wine and beer tastings available at Pop-Local, too, and Chan plans to add sandwiches and other to-go food in the store soon, along with a frequent rotation of existing products.

“As a part of the customer experience, I’ll soon have QR codes by each brand’s products in-store in which people can scan — then it will take you to their profile on our website,” she said. “I plan to eventually have an online store as well.”

Chan also runs the Vancouver Night Market as a separate entity, and she is looking for a new spot to host the events since the last location at the Vancouver Innovation Center in east Vancouver is no longer available, she said.

Chan said that having Pop-Local at The Waterfront Vancouver is an opportunity for Vancouver’s products to have more exposure to the public.

“It gives these small businesses a chance to shine,” she said.

Article Source: The Columbian