Inspiring Spaces

The Street Store is Pop-Up Shop With Heart: Retail Aimed for the Homeless

Photo via SF Gate

The word homeless is sometimes mouthed in disgust. And those are by the people who proclaim pity as hand a dollar towards the cardboard wielding man waiting near the freeway off-ramp. Other synonyms are spoken with more venom, and less concern.

As a society we regard this population as just another discarded inanimate object or obstacle during our daily commute. In a world where we champion success at any cost, humanity gets tossed to the wayside.

We don’t realize that everyone is equipped with the same struggles, pains, hopes, dreams, emotions, and memories. We may not remember to pay our credit card until the end of our grace period, or when our significant others sister’s dogs birthday is, but we always remember the simple gesture of a well-intentioned act of kindness.

Retail can be regarded as a materialistic venture. Clothing brands to help us look better, cosmetic companies to help us feel better, and home design stores to help us seem better.

But when a retail venture emerges for the sole purpose of making an impact on someone else’s life, the effect dissolves our self-satisfied drives and humanity shines forth.

The Street Store is a Lean Retail venture in Cape Town, South Africa where the target customers are the majority plagued by poverty. Forced to live on the streets; many of these men, women and children find clothing to be a scarce commodity. Fashion is laughable term, as they wear their clothes to tatters.


The Street Store’s mission is to bring confidence and dignity to those who couldn’t normally afford new clothing. Individuals are encouraged to donate gently-used apparel which are hung on makeshift cardboard pop-up shop walls along the sidewalks of Cape Town. Customers are welcome to choose an item, an accessory, or an entire outfit that peaks their interest… free of charge.
Much like a brick and mortar pop-up shop, sales staff are present at The Street Store to suggest flattering items, offer styling advice, and aid in checkout.
With all of the social and political turmoil in South Africa, thousands have been uprooted from their homes and left homeless. The Street Store is a crucial retail concept that bolsters these individuals shaken confidence, while provide unique assistance that doesn’t view them like a lesser member of society.
Reaching more than a 1,000 people on its first day of operation, The Street Store changes lives. The ease and accessibility of the pop-up shop allows for the ability to be utilized in other locations besides Cape Town.
Brands thrive by making their pop-up shops unique, dynamic, original, and beautiful. By opening a pop-up shop where the main focus is for people to thrive, the effect is truly beautiful.