02 Feb Introducing The Galleria Shops: How This Pop-Up Market Is Fighting Through The Pandemic.
Almost a year into this global pandemic, and we are still day-dreaming of the days of fashion events where we’d get all dressed up to shop local artisans and vendors. Slowly but surely we are seeing the light at the end of the tunnel as businesses are starting back up and COVID regulated events begin to rise. The real question here is whether or not events such as pop-ups can happen and be fully executed to promote local vendors. It is no secret that small businesses were hit hard in the past year, so to have these events bring in revenue for those who truly need it is a life saver.
The Galleria Shops is the host of many local social markets in San Antonio, Texas and recently hosted their “return”. Sable Gonzalez, the curator of The Galleria Shops, gathers artists, vendors, and entertainment then hosts highly popular and memorable events in the Blue Star District, home to Brick. After seeing her comeback event, we took time to chat with her about the ongoing changes the pandemic has caused to local events and to hear about how she and her colleagues were maneuvering these continuing pandemic challenges. Here is what she had to say.
SLTV: For those who don’t know you, let us start by introducing yourself. Where are you from and how did you got the idea for The Galleria Shops.
SG: Hi!! My name is Sable, I’m 30 years old & I’ve lived in Texas for most of my life so you could say I’m from here but I am half Mexican & half Hawaiian!
I originally got the idea to start The Galleria Shops after my friend Marianna booked me to be a vendor at my first pop-up shop a few years ago and I was instantly hooked! Marianna became my mentor who taught me everything I know. Back then, there was nothing like The Galleria Shops, I just really thrived off of the energy at these smaller pop-ups, and I knew that I could create a very defined and glamorized version to really showcase the amazing local businesses that I had met! So after learning, adjusting, and customizing the things that I had learned from Marianna to fit my own vision of a pop-up shop, I curated my signature social markets & The Galleria Shops was born!
SLTV: We’ve been attendees at your social markets and love the complete vibe! What is your favorite part of hosting pop ups?
SG: It’s like electricity in the air, to be surrounded by so many motivated people. It’s extremely uplifting and nurturing for everyone’s drive. Honestly, every part of it is my favorite part but my connection with the vendors is the most important thing to me, I put them before everything. These are the people that will create so many jobs as their businesses grow & pour into our local economy! Interacting with them and being around them is my biggest honor, I couldn’t be more blessed to know these kinds of people.
SLTV: What changes or obstacles are you currently still maneuvering with the ongoing pandemic?
SG: There have been many obstacles and changes since the COVID-19 pandemic began. My venue, Brick at Blue Star, had to go on a complete hiatus since public gatherings were banned and it affected The Galleria Shops a lot to not be able to do what it was born to do – curate social markets. Keeping people engaged with local businesses, without having the space to have an in-person transaction, has been a challenge to navigate. I entered the digital space by creating digital lookbooks as well as gift guides to keep shopping local at the forefront of people’s minds. Now my venue is open again, but the new COVID guidelines are definitely intense, it’s a lot of adjusting, but they’ve done such a good job and im just grateful to be back, and hopefully, we can begin to inspire and help local businesses again.
SLTV: How did you feel that shift in your last event just last week?
SG: I absolutely felt the shift in last night’s event. I was very nervous before I got there if I’m being honest. I worried that the energy would be different and that guests wouldn’t feel as welcome to interact with the vendors since there’s so much social distancing now and we’re all in masks. I just felt like it might make the experience less personal. Luckily, I worried for nothing! Yes, there was a lot more space, as we had to space out vendors, and the traffic wasn’t as heavy as we’ve encountered in the past, but the energy was exactly as I remembered it. It was so dope to meet these new business owners that were born during the pandemic as well. This is really the era of small business growth!
SLTV: What does galleria shops hope to do in the future to accommodate all the changes in the world?
SG: With everything that’s changing in the world right now, there’s definitely a lot of accommodating required. I am excited to dive deeper into the digital space to continue reaching people at home and making it easier to support local businesses. Digital is so necessary now, so I’m working to make that as interactive of an experience as I can, to provide a feeling of “normalcy”, so to speak from the comfort of your own homes! For events, I’ll continue to try new ways to create new interactive experiences for guests, while maintaining social distancing and of course, always enforcing masks and social distancing. You just have to be very creative now but that’s why I thrive in this space, my mind knows no end to the amount of ideas that I have. The vendors that I work with are fighting with everything they have to stay open & progress and even though it’s a lot to do as a one-woman-show, it’s the least I can do to support them with The Galleria Shops!
The Brick at Blue Star is located at 108 Blue Star, San Antonio, Texas 78204. As a foundational venue that houses many retail experiences for locals and tourists alike, we encourage the public to safely support this venue and the local vendors who depend on this popular San Antonio destination for exposure and sales. Brick can be reached at +1 210-262-8653
[email protected] and more information can be found here.
DISCLAIMER: All photography in this story was taken prior to COVID-19 pandemic. Masks and social distancing are now strictly enforced at all social gatherings.