How the ‘Pop-Up Shop’ industry spurred an increase in visibility for New Orleans small Black business start-ups

Pop up. Sell. Repeat. For many New Orleans small Black business start-ups, this method of creating new revenue streams for some black businesses, and additional revenue streams for others; have created quite a stir as business owners take full advantage of opportunities to showcase and grow their brand to a new target market. Generally, multiple businesses share a single location together while paying a vendor’s fee to rent out space for a certain amount of hours. These short stay rental spots have become useful for some Black business owners who do not have immediate access to capital for more permanent options.

Keshonda and Alonzo Piper

Throughout the city of New Orleans, Pop-Up locations have become increasingly valuable not only to small Black business start-ups, but to the few companies who have chosen to host pop-ups as well. Earlier this year, Rouses Markets hosted a Pop-Up location featuring more than a dozen local food vendors from the greater New Orleans and surrounding areas known as the Pop-Up@Tchoup.

New Orleans natives and business owner’s Alonzo and Keshonda Piper, founders of Pipe’N Hot Coffee Shop, have participated in multiple Pop-Ups during the past year and understand the importance of how Pop-Ups create advantages in visibility for new business because of the relationship value established between the vendor and customer. The Piper’s, who have also created a group chat from previous Pop-Ups, will use this type of communication method to maintain relationships built previously.

“The group chat we started with the ladies we held our first Pop-Up with is still open. The reason why we keep it open is because when they have something coming in, we use it as another networking tool for them to say we have another Pop-Up coming up. We keep that communication open.” Piper explained to “It’s more like business relationships we are creating along the way. It’s a very genuine camaraderie and it places you in a position to interact with like-minded people.”

The Piper’s, who founded Pipe’N Hot Coffee Shop in July of 2018 have drawn rave reviews from all over New Orleans for their bottled Iced-coffee, which is hand made fresh with no chemicals and uses almond and whole milk as part of its tasteful coffee blend. Like many other small Black business start-ups in the New Orleans area, the Piper’s continue to learn additional value from what Pop-Up shops can create and how these values can be implemented into daily operations. “You learn how it (at Pop-Ups) is important to have a presence, customer service, and how you can not just sit at the booth.” Piper said. “You have to walk around. You have to interact and network. You have to tell people who you are and what your brand is.”

As a result of the Piper’s continued patience and increased brand visibility, their bottled Iced-Coffee blend is available for online ordering and is selling off the shelves at Carol Sue Food store located at 1605 Carol Sue Avenue in Terrytown, La. showing no signs of slowing. The excitement level experienced by both Alonzo and Keshonda are at an all time high and they feel the brand is positioned for success. “I’m excited. I’m so excited now to where I am getting anxious.” Piper stated. “I can see it, but I can’t touch it. And (when) I try to rush it, (my husband says) in due time grasshopper. In due time.”

As Pipe’N Hot Coffee Shop continues to grow into its next phase, the Piper’s next step in the process is establishing multiple revenue streams under the Pipe’N Hot corporate umbrella. “It’s going to be different divisions. Landscaping. ATM Machines. Fire Arms Training. Trading on the stock market. Pipe’N Hot Incorporated. It will be a lot of things under one corporate umbrella.”

It’s easy to see why the Piper’s shared vision and collaborative effort for Pipe’N Hot Coffee Shop will place them in a market of their own in the near future.

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