Mobile Pop-up Incubator

IT ALL STARTED BACK IN JULY 2018 when Polina got the wild idea to do a photoshoot using a decommissioned city bus. She reached out to Bryan Luellen at IndyGo to see if there were any buses waiting to be scrapped. There was bus–and that bus was secured! The Circle City Industrial Complex allowed us to store the bus indoors on their property and the Fab Crew got to work painting. (Their work on the bus was used as a backdrop for the PATTERN magazine cover of Vol. 14.) Time went by and we moved the bus to an outdoor lot on Indy’s Eastside. We couldn’t shake the feeling that this old bus still had life left in it.

Then the COVID-19 pandemic entered the scene and decimated small businesses with retail being hit especially hard. While e-commerce grew, there was still unquestionable value to creators and their customers and fans interacting face to face. St’Artup317, a program PATTERN created in partnership with the City of Indianapolis and Develop Indy was designed to address these issues in Indianapolis even before the pandemic, matching empty downtown storefronts with businesses and brands looking for short term pop-up opportunities.

The program was incredibly successful, with demand for temporary space far outstripping the supply. Not to mention that St’Artup317 only took place during the month of May, which left the opportunities of the other eleven months completely untapped. Inspired by the vendors we worked with through the St’Artup317 initiative, we committed to turning our dust-gathering bus into a mobile popup shop.

We connected with Blackline Studios to see if they’d help us design the space. They agreed, and we launched the Patronicity Campaign as part of a grant match with CreatINg Places through IHCDA. And ​thanks to generous support from many incredible community members, The Mobile Pop-Up Shop Campaign surpassed its $25k crowdfunding goal! (We hit WISHTV 8 and FOX 59.) With available resources, the bus conversion began in the fall of 2021 and as of May 2022 the bus is almost ready for shopping! Our first vendor is Fly’s Nest with Erica Scott. Stay tuned for more!!

Special thank you to our Title Partner, the Efroymson Family Fund, and Blackline Studios for their support.

The Fab Crew, Lindsay Hadley, and Bryan Luellen