Friday, March 1, 2013

Puppy Popup Shop

The Puppy Pop Up Shop was an event created for dog walkers and locals passing through Grange Park. The shop provided a convenient location to buy warm beverages, cookies, muffins, dog treat bags and handcrafted pieces such as Valentines Day cards, dog tags and re-useable coffee mugs. We also set up a complimentary hydration station beside the table for the dogs.

All proceeds raised at the Puppy Pop Up Shop were donated to the local animal shelter PAWS (Peoples Animal Welfare Society); a free roam shelter that provides a safe haven for homeless, abandoned, and abused animals, indefinitely. A donation jar was set up alongside the products to allow people to show their support for local animals.

Our pop up event took place in the Grange Dog Park from 9:30am to 3:30pm on Wednesday, February 13, 2013. The time and date of the event shifted from our original plan of holding it from 8:30am to 2:30pm on Monday, February 11, 2013. The school closure (snow day) on the previous Friday prevented us from accessing the coffee and hot water urns that we needed to borrow from student union.

The coffee and hot water urns were picked up from student union the day before the event because student union is only open from 9am to 5pm and we needed to heat up the water, make the coffee, and set up the area at 7:30am on Wednesday morning. All of the baking was done the day before so that it would still be fresh during the event.

Setting up took about an hour longer than expected, we tried out several tables and benches before realizing that the picnic tables with metal legs were not frozen to the ground like the solid wood ones and were relatively easy to move with enough people. We were able to move a metal and wood picnic table to the center of the park where all of the paths meet, the most convenient spot for customers to reach us. As a group we had pre-arranged a schedule that worked around classes and lunch breaks for each member so there were always at least two people manning the table.

Once we were set up, business was steady with several dogs running around in the park until around 12:30pm. Our most successful items were the coffee, cookies, brownies (which we sold out of) and dog treats. The travels mugs, dog charms and dog toys were also successful, with several of each being sold. Only one of the antler chew toys were sold and none of the screen-printed cards sold but both received interest and compliments. Aside from the travel mugs, items less than four dollars sold better than higher priced ones. Although most people that stopped by purchased at least one small item, there were many people that stopped to chat about the event and chose to leave donations instead.

Having the event on Wednesday rather than Monday gave us the option to run the event longer because three of the members did not have class or other obligations that day. We contemplated staying set up until early evening so that we could catch the second rush of dog walkers but business was at a stand still from 12:30 on and we had agreed to return the urns to student union before 5pm. The lull in sales gave us reason to start packing up our shop by 3:30pm.

Sales were quite low compared to the amount of money we put into the event according to our budget. Most members were fine paying for supplies themselves without reimbursement so that more of the money made could be donated to PAWS, the animal shelter being promoted during the event. We were happy to receive $36.10 in donations and $153.35 in sales.

The main problem at the pop up shop (aside from keeping ourselves warm) was keeping the water and coffee hot. The urns used needed to be plugged in to operate, so we brewed the coffee and heated the water in the Lambert Lounge then brought them out to the table until they started getting cold. The coffee urn we used is also a coffee maker but it takes almost an hour to brew, due to the size and make. We had a smaller kettle and coffee maker on hand so we could refill the urns faster but it was still a struggle to keep things hot in the cold weather. If we could change anything, we would either find a way to run extension cords to the park or use more insulated urns to keep the coffee and water hot, as the drinks were an important aspect of the sale.

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