Pop Up Grocer’s New Shop Confirms That This Retro Flooring Material Is Cool Again
And it’s less than $2 per square foot.
Published Mar 9, 2023 1:00 AM
We may earn revenue from the products available on this page and participate in affiliate programs.
Forget everything you thought you knew about grocery stores; fluorescent lighting, Top 40 music, and rickety shopping carts are not in the picture at Pop Up Grocer’s just-opened permanent New York shop. What you’ll find instead? Memphis-style floor lamps, impeccably packaged pantry goods, and checkered patterns as far as the eye can see. The company’s “Grocery shopping but make it fun” tagline couldn’t be more accurate.
The brick-and-mortar store, located in Greenwich Village, isn’t Emily Schildt’s first rodeo. The founder has previously opened nine short-term shops in Austin, Chicago, Miami, and more. While still modern, light, and bright, the latest market has a noticeably more neutral palette (with pops of Pop Up Grocer’s classic cobalt blue, of course). “We wanted to create a space that locals would feel comfortable spending time in every day,” says Schildt. And that message is made loud and clear with a sea of warm brown and butter yellow checkered vinyl tile. Who could ever get tired of that?
The humble material is a default choice in high-traffic spaces like industrial kitchens and classrooms because you can’t beat its price and durability. Armstrong tiles are readily available (you can get them at Home Depot for under $2 per square foot) and can generally be installed in a day (Pop-Up’s took two days due to a lot of cuts). Plus they can also be buffed, refinished, and replaced if a single square gets damaged beyond repair. The one thing vinyl tile is not known for? Being stylish. But the Pop Up Grocer space is changing all that.
Having used a similar flooring option in previous locations, Schildt and the store’s designer, Jen Levy, were dead set on vinyl from the beginning. It reminded them of the classic old grocery store, which has been their aesthetic touch point from day one. They’ve also been seeing the material pop up in other specialty stores like Catbird, and Wine and Eggs. “It’s not easy to find a material that feels both nostalgic and modern at the same time,” says Levy. Like many of the products on the shelves, it promotes an accessible, unfussy, and fun experience—just what grocery shopping should be.
Here’s the real kicker: This movement isn’t just for retail settings. We’ve been seeing checkered floors in residential kitchens and laundry rooms left and right, but more often in marble or limestone tile, which can cost a small fortune. This utilitarian, no frills alternative is a great option if you’re renovating on a budget. And if you take cues from Levy and Schildt and pick a chic color combo, we bet no one will even notice it’s vinyl.