Saint Anthony’s holiday pop-up shops humanize, revive Christmas shopping

By Anamaría Scaperlanda Biddick

Saint Anthony Hospital serves as the presenting sponsor for the Holiday Pop-Up Shops, mini, rotating shops located near Saint Anthony between Thanksgiving and Christmas.  The Pop-Up Shops are part of an effort to revitalize Midtown Oklahoma City, the area surrounding Saint Anthony’s. 

The shops are open each weekend of Advent, Thursday to Sunday, and are located at 1000 N. Walker in white domes.  Each weekend includes a different group of shops as well as Bishop John Carroll School’s tree lot.  Over the course of the month, 31 different shops will rotate on the location.  The shops range from the Green Bambino, permanently located on north Shartel near Bishop McGuinness High School, with its wooden toys and diaper supplies to Blue Seven, permanently located on May Avenue, with locally made jewelry, Thunder gear, and more.  Other shops include Eskimo Joe’s Dutch Floral and Home, Shop Good, and the Learning Tree Toys.

Saint Anthony’s sponsorship of the shops was central to their success.  Sandra Payne, a representative of the hospital, said, “Saint Anthony decided to sponsor the Pop Up Shops because it contributes to the overall revitalization of the Midtown area with a retail concept that is very progressive.”

 

She continued by stating that they were asked to help sponsor the shops because of their involvement with the Midtown Market, a weekly farmer’s market that runs through the summer months.  The Midtown Market highlights healthy food, an interest of Saint Anthony’s, as well as Oklahoma businesses.

For Payne, the growth of businesses in the area is an important reason for sponsoring the Pop-Up Shops.  “Many individuals have not visited Midtown in a while, and the more they can see the changes that have happened over the past few years, the more likely they may contribute to the livelihood of all of the businesses in the area.”

For Allison Barta Bailey, a local retail consultant who organized the event, the promotion of local business is the key.  She said, “The unique thing about our event is it is so local, making each other better. (It) helps make a point to shop local.  Not only is your shopping experience better when you shop local, but more personal relationships develop and it keeps the character of the city alive.”

The centrality of the personal relationship might remind many Catholics of Blessed John Paul II’s personalist philosophy as well as Pope Francis’s recent writings addressing the economic crisis, “The current financial crisis can make us overlook the fact that it originated in a profound human crisis: the denial of the primacy of the human person!”  (Evangelii Gaudium 55). 

He continues, “I exhort you to generous solidarity and to the return of economics and finance to an ethical approach which favours human beings.”

As Bailey suggests, one important way to keep the human aspect in economics is to shop at local businesses when possible.  Saint Anthony’s sponsorship of the Holiday Pop-Up shops helps encourage those in the area to do so.

Bailey stressed the importance of Saint Anthony’s sponsorship, “Saint Anthony is our presenting sponsor, which basically means we could do the event. [They have] helped us a lot; in fact, they just scraped off our sidewalks!”

Anamaría Scaperlanda Biddick is a freelance writer and math tutor living in Oklahoma City.