In a couple of weeks, a new pop-up mall will open in the former V&D building on the Grote Markt in Groningen. The name of the temporary shopping centre will be De Grote Roltrap: The Big Escalator.
By Marieke Bos / Translation by Traci White
According to Ralph Steenbergen, the man behind the pop-up mall, that name seemed like a natural fit. “We were talking about what made the location so special, and it was obviously the escalator”, he says, referring to the 12 escalators inside the building that connect its five floors. The name also evokes a sense of nostalgia. “If you ever came shopping here as a child, the big escalator always seemed so impressive.”
Pizza and sushi
There are at least 50 different companies interested in setting up shop inside the pop-up mall. “It’s a real mix”, Steenbergen says. “Century [auto sales] will have a spot, and we’re in talks with a bakery, a pizza place and a jeweller who are all interested in opening stores there. There will likely be a sushi place, a toy store, a book store, a women’s clothing and shoes store and a whiskey store.”
All of the involved companies will be allocated space which they can set up and decorate themselves. “We think that will create a festival-like atmosphere”, Steenbergen says. “It’s a temporary thing, so we have to use the resources we have wisely, but we want to make sure that the building has a friendly face.”
Visitors passing by the building will be able to have a look inside from the sidewalk, and the escalators themselves will be undergoing some sort of transformation – what exactly that will look like will be a surprise.
Steenbergen says that an exact opening date is not yet known, but the plan is to open before King’s Day on 27 April. Curious shoppers can ride the iconic escalator to check out the work in progress: La Place restaurant on the top floor is still open for business.