Currently, there is a pop-up sale shop/art show next door to BoConcept on Western Ave. It’s there, in a space vacated by a lighting design company, through the end of the month and you should go check it out. If you should happen to miss it, however, hang tough. Chances are good that any minute now, BoConcept will be hosting another fashion show, non-profit meeting, social media mixer, live art installation, or professional design society of one variety or another. And you could be invited.
Brady Woo and Melenie Yap of the West Edge furniture store (I’m going with it; you can call the nabe Downtown if you’d like, but I’ve decided to embrace West Edge because I’m a believer) tell me that it’s a company-wide thing. They do it in New York, Berlin, San Fran; BoConcept made a corporate decision to host community events, and if you’ve ever attended one of them, you know that light-bulb moment … " A party, in a furniture store. Brilliant."
You can sit, lounge, lay, stroll, it’s really the perfect venue for mixers, movers, and shakers.
Don’t they worry about damaging the showroom pieces? “It shows normal wear and tear,” Woo answers without a moment’s hesitation. Clients may never know that architects, design students, or Twitter addicts sipped champagne on the sectional they’re considering, but they get a good idea of what the piece looks like after its been lived on a little just the same.
And the city gets a gathering spot. The store only hosts free events (it’s turned several promoters down; they don’t do club nights, they do community), and though they charge a fee for clean-up and staffing, it’s much less than what these groups would have to pay for renting a venue.
Sure, it’s great exposure for the store, but Woo insists it’s as much about being social interaction and being a part of the larger scene. They’re in love with their neighborhood at BoConcept, and they want to see it thrive. Woo thinks West Edge has meat-packing district potential, and tells me that one enterprising member of his team is petitioning to get a Dean and Deluca installed in the neighboring shop once the pop-up gallery is down.
As more downtown and neighborhood shops succumb to the sad state of financial affairs, it’s heartening to see others getting outside the box to bring people in.