Shipping containers are no longer products meant to be used once and then left to linger, practically rotting as they take up environmental space. With both finances and sustainability in mind, many have turned recycling shipping containers into something of an art form. This has coincided neatly with the popularity of pop up shops; that is to say, stores or restaurants that “pop up” for a short amount of time, to be taken down or emptied when their limited engagement is over. Pop up shops offer the kind of trendy, “limited time only” appeal that makes them surefire hits with millennials, and are quite cost-efficient for small business owners and major corporations alike. 2015 saw Taco Bell, one of the biggest fast-food chains in the United States, debut a pop-up store made from a shipping container. It was 1,080, and its success would eventually lead to the establishment of a permanent shipping container store in California in early 2017.
In fact, modified shipping containers will likely more frequently move on from merely being pop up shops to remaining as permanent structures. Shipping containers offer the advantages of being pre-established, recyclable structures that simply require some modifications. They don’t need to be built from the ground up, and they can be easily transported. With that being said, many small business owners remain unaware of the possibilities presented by shipping containers. Below, we’ll explore some of the ways that shipping containers can be customized and transformed.
1. Shipping Container Cafes
Shipping container cafes take advantage of both of the conveniences offered by shipping containers and their unique aesthetic qualities. Shipping containers do come off, at times, as a little gritty and unique, especially if they are not modified or customized overmuch. This can make them perfect for those that want to establish something of an offbeat, distinct café. Shipping container cafes can often be seen in university towns, where people want to frequent a café that has something of an urban flair. For that matter, a shipping container is easily visited by those in a hurry. They aren’t going to necessarily be the sorts of cafes where people linger and drink a cup of coffee in a leisurely manner. However, those in a hurry can grab a cup of coffee and move on efficiently. Shipping container cafes exist because cafes are not overly complex compared to bigger restaurants, and don’t require too much space. It’s a perfect marriage of convenience and a unique style.
2. Shipping Container Studios
It can be difficult for artists to establish studio spaces. While it’s key for many artists to own a studio where they can both create and show their work, many available spaces are either too expensive or too small. Custom shipping containers offer both the amount of space necessary for artists to work, and convenient accessibility that makes it possible for them to show and sell their work, truly optimizing the marketability of their art. Shipping containers are also often much easier for artists, who often work within a limited budget, to afford. In fact, lots of artists like the idea of owning a shipping container studio because it’s something that they can modify for themselves. A shipping container can be altered to contain as many windows or even skylights as is necessary. They’re much more convenient than, say, a room in an apartment building.
3. Shipping Container Bars
Jumping from a café to a bar may seem surprising; however, remember that shipping containers range in size. While they may never offer a massive amount of space, larger shipping containers can easily be converted into bars. People can easily linger and enjoy a drink without even realizing that the building they’re in was once a shipping container. Alternately, the bar’s former status as a shipping container can be used as a part of its advertising angle. Rather than denying a shipping container’s past, why not embrace it?
Recycling shipping containers gives small business owners the opportunity to save money and reduce their carbon footprint at the same time. The unique structure of a shipping container has an instant cool spin as well. Hopefully, shipping containers will offer small business owners a new avenue for starting their companies on the ground.