It was a Los Angeles-based company inspired by Japanese shopping habits that brought pop-up retail to America. During a trip to Tokyo in 1999, Russ Miller witnessed the lengths to which the city’s famously voracious consumers would go to buy rare and limited-edition products.
Mr. Miller brought that mind-set back to L.A. with Vacant, “a retail concept and exhibition store” that would open shops only to close them as soon as they ran out of goods.
Discount retailer Target once again positioned itself as the funky anti-Walmart when it took over a 220-foot-long boat at Chelsea Piers for a two-week stay on the Hudson River that coincided with Black Friday in November of 2002. Vacant arrived in New York in February 2003, working with Dr. Martens on a pop-up space at 43 Mercer Street.