Pop-Up Businesses: From artisan retailers to inventive cafes and bistros, one of the fastest growing business trends is the Pop-Up. Also known as “Flash Retailing” due to their fast set-up and functional mobility, new Pop-Up businesses flourish by reaching target customers in less conventional ways versus stationary brick and mortar storefronts. Frequently found in highly trafficked locations including urban street markets, music festivals, outdoor trade shows and suburban parks, these customized containers can easily do double duty as shop site and inventory storage space, and can be securely locked until opened for next day business.
Tourism: In response to the growing number of tourists looking for hyperlocal, cost-friendly travel experiences, short-term lodging in private residences has become a booming industry. In addition to room rentals within homes, a popular new trend is buying and renovating unique properties specifically designed for tourists. Shipping containers used for this purpose are increasingly in demand: safe, portable, private and fun, they easily convert into comfortable, studio-like accommodations while generating a substantial stream of income for the investor.
Visual and Performing Arts: When you think of uses for shipping containers, the arts might not be the first thing that comes to mind. But as sturdy vessels offering nearly incomparable protection, steel containers are being tapped to bring art to broader audiences. Mobile art galleries and museums are gaining loyal followings (especially in areas distanced from major cultural hubs), with the same holding true for public and private movie theaters fabricated from these dependable units. In fact, film locations are using shipping containers with greater frequency than ever – as storage for sensitive video and lighting equipment, dressing rooms for talent, and in conjunction with set props to add unique scenic pieces to the mix, all without driving budgets through the roof. Live productions, such as musical and theatrical performances, are also taking advantage of the versatility and cost-efficiency of shipping containers for creative stages and platforms.
Workspaces: Whether it’s a personal workshop or a multi-unit co-op for artists or entrepreneurs, shipping containers can act as the foundation for workspaces that are both interesting and practical. Plus, because they can be easily stacked, large modular centers can service multiple tenants simultaneously. Last, these adaptable units can also act as attractive product showrooms or galleries.
Residential Additions: The need for extra space among homeowners can be both stressful and costly. Adding home extensions such as garages, carports or even small outdoor storage sheds can carry hefty price tags while not offering the quality or level of protection shipping containers can, and often at a fraction of the price of a home addition project.
Collectibles: We all know how expensive renting a commercial storage unit can be, particularly those that are climate-controlled. Monthly fees accrue quickly, and can increase at a moment’s notice. Shipping containers can provide the same protection as an enclosed, off-site storage unit while delivering considerable savings, better access and personal ownership. Collectibles, memorabilia, valuables and souvenirs are kept clean and safe while their integrity is thoroughly maintained, keeping them in tip-top shape for potential profits in the future.
Sports and Recreation: Think a shipping container can’t be fun? Think again! Aside from serving as storage and locker solutions for sports equipment, shipping containers can complement a variety of actual sports activities, and newfound uses show that the possibilities are endless. For example, with a little astroturf and some clever lighting, a steel container can easily transform into an at-home golf simulator. Savvy consumers have started converting large-scale containers into private outdoor swimming pools. Avid campers, hunters and fishermen have all found steel containers to be ideal accessories for their adventures – they’re portable, durable, and protect both people and expensive gear from the elements. For the less daring, shipping containers are a great resource for game rooms. Spacious and functional, they can accommodate billiard tables, foosball machines, ping pong games and video arcades with little to no preparation, and be up and ready for business in no time. And finally, for the truly ambitious, multiple containers can be assembled into impressive, broad-range sports centers or gymnasiums.