Pop Up Soda Shoppe

2 Sep

Whilst most of Vancouver (at least it seemed so from Twitter) appeared to be at the Diner En Blanc on Thursday night (check out these fabulous images from Maurice Li), I attended the Pop Up Soda Shoppe event instead. The almost half an hour line-up to get in the front doors confirmed that not everyone was the Diner En Blanc.

The Pop Up Soda Shoppe was essentially a gathering of some of the city’s dessert and sweet producers, such as Earnest Ice Cream, Cartems Donuterie, and Beta 5 Chocolatier, under one roof. That roof was at The Ridge, a cinema at Arbutus Ridge, that has a vintage theater-feel. Attendees were encouraged to don 50’s gear (think poodle skirts and suspenders) and the movie, “Grease”, played throughout the event.

Earnest Ice Cream

Earnest Ice Cream vanilla sundae – $5

Macarons from Che Baba.

Cartem’ Makers’ Bourbon Bacon doughnuts – $1.50 each.

Mmm, stack of mini Cartem’s doughnuts.

In concept the idea was a great one, but in execution, unfortunately I felt that it fell short of expectations. And, from the rumblings that I heard, I wasn’t the only one who was disappointed.

Reasons for my disappointment were, firstly, the event was intended to start at 7pm and end at 9pm, however, it took so long to move through the queue that we didn’t arrive inside until almost 7.30pm. Secondly, tickets to the event were $15 each. When I bought them I thought that small samplings from the different vendors would be included in the price (Beta 5 Chocolatiers was the only one I saw doing this) but as it got closer to the event I realized that, no, we would have to pay for the desserts in addition to the ticket price. I am a little perplexed as to why we charged $15 for this event. $5 would be more reasonable for what was essentially just an entrance fee into a dessert festival. Finally, one of the big selling points of the event was the alcoholic sodas and milkshakes, however, when we arrived they were selling these for $12 each…for a teeny glass. Needless to say, I didn’t buy one. Even if I had wanted to spend the extra money, the line-up was so long that I would have spent most of my time standing in line.

On the plus side, we did get to eat from some of Vancouver’s top dessert producers. Personally, I can’t get enough of Earnest Ice Cream, Cartems Donuterie, and Beta5 Chocolates, and Che Baba macarons were fantastic (I’d never heard of this place before). It was also great to see that a lot of the attendees did make an effort to get dressed up, myself included.

Overall, I’d love to see this event happen again but with a few changes. Either charge less for the entrance fee, or charge the same and have more samples available. $15 just to walk into a room with local vendors gathered was not worth it to me. The space was also oddly set out (some vendors were in the foyer but others were in the theater) so I think it would be more conducive to have all the vendors in the same area.


4 Responses to “Pop Up Soda Shoppe”

  1. wheetnee September 6, 2012 at 9:31 am #

    I was there too! I went to the 9pm one, so I didn’t have a much more bad experience than what I heard from others. But I completely agree, I thought we would get bite sized samples or something, I didn’t think we would have to purchase everything on TOP of $15 admission fee! I didn’t have any of the drinks- they were so expensive, (though I don’t drink either.)
    Gotta love those macarons though!!

    • greedyguts September 7, 2012 at 4:05 pm #

      I’m glad to hear that someone else thought the same thing. I didn’t have a bad experience, I just wanted a bit more bang for my buck. Those macarons were fab! 🙂

  2. Matt September 8, 2012 at 4:09 pm #

    Hi Greedyguts!

    Thanks for the feedback, it’s very useful for us.

    I totally hear you about the line ups. Man…that was poorly organized on our part!

    It’s hard to predict how things will go with pop up restaurants because everything we do is in a new location, new staff, new restaurants we’ve partnered with, a new menu and a new concept…everything’s kinda new, so while it’s always an exciting and adventurous event, there tends to be unexpected surprises.

    To give some perspective on the pricing, our events are usually $100+ and more fine dining focused. This time we wanted to create something casual and accessible. So, we allowed local restaurants to manage the food and we organized the rest at a lower price point.

    Your $15 went towards venue rental, staff, decor, equipment, and advertising. We wanted to have an extra added value gift too, so that’s why the gift boxes were included on your way out the door. I believe they were worth over $40.

    But in the end, our customers perception of what’s valuable and what’s not is more important than our opinion. If you are not happy paying $15 to attend, then it’s up to us to create our events in the future so that you have something of more tangible value.

    Please know that your voice has not gone unheard and we will be taking all your suggestions and feedback into account for future event planning!

    To wrap up here, it sounds like you were not totally satisfied with this event, so please go ahead and contact me at matt@swallowtail.ca so we can make it right.

    Matt Guterres
    Pop Up Soda Shoppe Event Coordinator

    • greedyguts September 11, 2012 at 12:00 pm #

      Hi Matt,

      I really appreciate you taking the time to comment and clarify. I completely understand about how a new event can have unplanned/unexpected surprises. Some things you just can’t plan for :). I do hope that you put on another similiar event, which is why I gave my feedback, because it does have the potential to be really great.

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