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Belleville Pop-Ups done for season

After a good season, the Pop-Ups will return next year in an improved version.  Photo by Rhythm Rathi

By Rhythm Rathi [1]

BELLEVILLE – The 2021 Pop-Up season at Zwick’s Park wrapped up last Sunday as happy vendors contemplated a successful season.

Benjamin Batelaan, 20, who owns Benji’s Café and Bakeshop [2] said, “the season has been so much better than I thought it would go for me.”

Batelaan does not own a restaurant and decided to experiment with his baking skills to see if his product had a market by participating in the pop-ups.

He said, now he plans to buy a 40-foot shipping container and turn it into a retail space to operate his café from.

“I need to do a lot more looking around and see if I find a buyable option,” he added.

Paula Rideout, the owner of Lemons [3], a lemonade store, brought up an interesting incident when she had to shut down her Pop-Up for an entire day due to a bee invasion.

She said the bees were all over the syrups used to make lemonade and they had to stay closed until they got them out. 

Both Rideout and Batelaan mentioned the heat as a problem in the pop-ups. They said the containers heated very much on hot days as they were made out of metal. 

“The girls were pretty warm in that heatwave in August,” said Rideout.

Kevin De Decker, the owner of Smokin’ Carnivore [4] was very happy with the business and the contacts he made.

He suggested since July had a lot of changes in policies due to the pandemic, the city should do more feedback meetings to give vendors a better understanding of the changes.

At the beginning of the season, De Decker told QNet that he was looking for a lot of good conversations and a lot of connections throughout the pop-up season.

His truck offered smoked pet treats.

“I sold a lot of them, but then honestly, I just started to toss it to people who had dogs and it was pretty good. I made a lot of friends with people who had dogs,” he said.

Belleville’s Development and Tourism Coordinator Elisha Purchase said, “overall it’s been a really great success.”

Mayor Panciuk visit’s Benji’s Cafe and Bakeshop.  Photo courtesy City of Belleville Facebook

She said the only negative was the weather, “We did see quite a wet July which had an impact on the attendance.”

Purchase said the vendors were really happy with the sales and according to the response there were some good weeks and some not-so-great weeks. The traffic was not just limited to locals but a lot of tourists also visited.

She also said that they are recommending the city to do a business plan for the site that talks about what the future of pop-ups looks like for the coming years.

During noon Belleville’s Mayor Mitch Panciuk paid a visit on Sunday to congratulate the vendors at the West Zwick’s Park.

“Everybody said they were happy and they all want to come back next year”.

The huts will now be taken away and put into storage and an application process will begin next year again for the 2022 season, he said. Panciuk also mentioned that the city has better ideas to improve the experience next year.

He said there was some competition as Trenton had their pop-ups running for the first time.

“We can’t just keep doing the same thing and expecting it to stay strong, so we’ll look at making some improvements,” he added.