Kristin Swoszowski-Tran of Helix and Hive stands in front of a sign she collected and holds up an item of hers at the Nomad’s Bon Voyage party. The pop-up store, located at 12 West Willow Grove Ave., will be in business at that location until February 12. (Photo by Lane Blackmer)

by Lane Blackmer

Nomad, the pop-up shop that has occupied the former Good Food Market spot at 12 W. Willow Grove Ave since last November, is looking for a new home.

Co-owners Tami Seymour and Eli-Anne Chevrier Lewis said they opened the store, knowing it would be temporary.

“The philosophy behind a pop-up is that you don’t have to commit to a 12-month lease,” Seymour said.“There’s a beginning and an end.”

The pair spent about two months planning their store’s opening and were in business for just under three months. Nomad is closing its doors in anticipation of Balance Chestnut Hill moving into the space (see story, page 6).

But three months is an extended stay for a typical pop-up shop, Seymour said. Normally they only last anywhere between five days and a few weeks.

Still, despite it’s pop-up identity, Seymour and Lewis are hoping to keep it going. At the very least they’d like to reopen down the road.

What is Nomad?

When Seymour and Lewis formulated plans to open a store, they gathered some friends with similar interests in design and re-purposing items to form Nomad.
“We’re moms and we invited some of our Penn Charter friends and moms to do this with us,” said Lewis.

The concept behind a pop-up shop is to use otherwise unused space by having a physical shop for crafters and antique collectors to sell items they market online, too. Seymour said several of the crafters and antique collectors selling items in their shop also sell them on ETSY – a popular e-commerce website for selling handmade and vintage items.

Seymour likens pop-up shops to guerrilla marketing for these online vendors.

“It allows them to extend their brand without cost,” Seymour said. “There’s so many vacant properties, and [these online businesses] don’t have any brick and mortar spots. So it allows [them] to let people know their brand.”

A place for small local vendors

But extending brands for local craftspeople wasn’t the only appeal in opening a pop-up shop.

“We were also into the whole concept of shopping local,” Seymour said.

Kristin Swoszowski-Tran, who makes jewelry and candles for her brand Helix and Hive, said local craftspeople tend to support each other to mutually benefit.

“The more people that collaborate, the more people will come and we support each other,” she said. “Some of my shoppers might also like other things [my friends do].”

Michele Longo, owner of the brand The Collected Collage, said word-of-mouth, the Internet and collaboration with other local craftspeople keeps her business going.

“We’re a group that sticks together to support each other,” she added.

Longo said she has participated in three pop-up shops just in the past six months or so, and she plans on doing more.

“I think like two years ago it started to get big – 2011 was about where it took off,” Longo said.

Customers also seem to like the idea of temporary stores with locally crafted and unique items. And social media websites like Twitter and Facebook help people find these shops – once they’re known.

Joe Trelli said he came to the Nomad because he’s an avid follower of Zsa’s Gourmet Ice Cream Truck’s Facebook page. The truck, owned by

Chestnut Hill residents Danielle Jowdy and Parker Whitehead, commonly collaborates with Nomad.

But Trelli said the problem is discovering pop-up shops in the first place.

“[Pop-up] businesses are hard to find,” said Joe Trelli. “I’d like to find more.”

Anthony Colagreco, who crafted leather for some of the jewelry sold at Nomad, said the concept of pop-up shops is an old, but good one. He said he remembers pop-up shops happening on South Street several years ago.

“It’s good for the artist and the owner,” said Colagrecro. “It attracts attention to real estate and to the artist.”
But he said it’s not just about money.

“There’s a desire to create profit, but there’s a level of sharing an experience,” he said. “It’s all about the party.”

He added: “It’s about quality merchandise and a quality experience.”

Finding a home

Lewis said she is looking for brick and mortar for her own company – Modern Vintage Mid-Century – and hopes to open a location somewhere on the Hill.

As for Nomad, Lewis and Seymour plan to take a hiatus, but will definitely relocate the shop and open its doors again.
But this time might be different. Seymour said she and Lewis are looking into opening Nomad three-to-four times a year and possibly making it a seasonal occurrence.

caption: Kristin Swoszowski-Tran of Helix and Hive stands in front of a sign she collected and holds up an item of hers at the Nomad’s Bon Voyage party. The pop-up store, located at 12 West Willow Grove Ave., will be in business at that location until February 12.

  • jenn

    I really want that history of a fern piece you had. can I still buy it?