Shipping Container Retail Stores


Add some industrial chic to your next pop-up!

The ubiquitous unitized metal shipping containers seen throughout the land on trucks, and rail lines are being repurposed as pop-up and permanent structures around the globe. In the last ten years they have been used for private residences, restaurants and museums. The containers are inexpensive, modular and amazingly adaptable. When used in a kit-of-parts approach, these twenty and forty-foot containers can be stacked, cantilevered, and rotated vertically as a tower. This inherent flexibility and unique ability to act as a billboard makes shipping containers ideal for retailers looking to make a bold statement. Many retailers including Starbucks, Puma and Aether have exploited these characteristics to their competitive advantage.

Puma Shipping Container Store

The corrugated exterior exudes an industrial aesthetic, but the interior may be finished at a level acceptable to any luxury retailer. The modular containers can be assembled with a crane and joined two and three wide to make continuous rooms, and stacked for multi height spaces. Windows can be cut through the corrugated exterior for maximum transparency.

The Starbucks Reclamation drive -thru, in the town of Tukwila Washington, is only 450 SF but makes a big impression with its filigree super graphics.  In contrast is The Puma store, a 11,000 SF temporary structure with built-in exterior spaces and made to move from port to port as part of a marketing campaign.

Bottom Line: Retailers with unique exhibition strategies that are willing to take a risk on temporary stores, in the right location and at the appropriate events can benefit from the low-cost, fast roll-out and high impact nature of the these modular containers.  Hip industrial aesthetic included.

Photos: Starbucks &  Puma

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