(More) Commuter Consumerism: MTA Partners with Storefront on Subway Pop-Up Shopping

Pop-up spirit.

Pop-up spirit.

A product of the San Francisco-based mobile and tech accelerator AngelPad, Storefront, founded in 2012, connects property owners with businesses in the market for short-term retail space—a model that coincides nicely with a recent MTA initiative to bring “hip, small stores” into subway stations for temporary stays. It comes as no surprise, then, that Storefront and the MTA have—as of Monday—entered into an agreement.

“Our partnership with Storefront reflects MTA’s commitment to pushing the bounds of vibrancy in the subway,” MTA Director of Leasing and Acquisitions David Bosch said in a release. Storefront CEO and co-founder Erik Eliason added, “MTA retail spaces bring a unique foot traffic advantage to the Storefront platform. I call it the eyeball factor. ”

So far, Storefront has six MTA listings: two each at 50th Street and Grand Central, one at DeKalb Avenue in Brooklyn, and one at 61st Street in Queens. Four additional listings are planned. According to the dictates of the MTA program, the spaces will be available both to small retailers like indie zinery The Newsstand, which had a pop-up shop at the Metropolitan Avenue station in Williamsburg over the summer, and multinational sellers like the Japanese clothing company UNIQLO, which opened one in Union Square in October. This, too, neatly matches Storefront’s services, which have facilitated pop-ups for the likes of both Project Juice and Google.

With annual revenues of $70 million, the MTA’s retail portfolio seems like a pretty good bet for pop-up proprietors, and—unsurprisingly—Mr. Eliason agrees: “After all, foot traffic is a necessity for retailer success,” he said, referring to the subway system’s 5.3 million daily riders. “And we aim to set our vendors up for profitability.”