Use Cases

Building a Pop-up Retail Space in 3 Weeks for

Cynthia Barahona
February 25, 2020

How did SteelBlox help a car company?, one of the nation’s leaders in mobile application sales platforms of cars, reached out to Steelblox in March of 2019 for some help with a small problem. They were growing so fast, they had no time to properly build out the sales center infrastructure. They needed a modular pop-up retail space.

We got connected with through a great relationship we have with renowned San Diego Architecture firm RAD LAB ( And we must say...the initial call was met with some reservation. needed a solution in 3 ifs, ands or buts. Although our typical lead time is 6-10 weeks on Shipping Container Retail Popup projects like this, we rolled up our sleeves and dug into the details. I guess I should mention...we recognize a great opportunity when we see it, and there is no doubt, Fair is up to something big!

Over the next 5 days we hammered out design concepts with RAD LAB's and Fair’s design team. Turned around iterative designs concepts quickly, and pushed a final set of shop drawings through with urgency. The team loved the presentations by RAD LAB, and with the design approval we took off on a cool journey.

modular pop-up shop digital drawings

Our primary goal, prior to starting production was figuring out a way to cut out some production time. In order to do so we collaborated again with RAD LAB, and conceived an idea that would eliminate steel fabrication and welding. This process really eats up time, so the successful concept to use an “Open Side Shipping Container” significantly helped us realize a production schedule that made sense for the project.

Next, we put our procurement team to work sourcing from some of our best and most trusted suppliers like, aura hardwoods, and a super cool local LED lighting manufacturer; “just led lights”.  For this project expediting just in time deliveries was only half the battle. Since the interior build outs were all custom, it required woodwork and cabinetry. We leaned on our stellar staff to put in a few extra hours and bring the project home.

It’s rare you see a project go from nothing to something in just 5 days...but that’s what our effort produced. A great solution for our client;, and as always a satisfying feeling we helped another company solve a problem.

Steelblox | Shipping container retail kiosk process
Steelblox - Shipping Container Kiosk

What fair achieved with the buildout:

  • A new Registration & Sales Kiosk, with branding and style worthy of such great new company.
  • A safe and secure structure, that is easily transportable to any of the companies new locations.
  • A highly designed and modern space, that is suitable for replication and expansion as the company continues to grow and add new facilities.

This was a great project for our team, and we’re looking forward to our next ride with

Take a Closer Look at the Container

Painting's logo on shipping container structure
Steelblox - Prefab commercial pop-up

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Shipping Container Retail Stores

Can you really build a publicly available commercial space with a shipping container? Well, actually yes you can. There are a few things you must know first:

  • Is my location zoned properly for the business application I intend to use the Commercial, Retail or Hospitality space for?
  • Is the company I'm buying from a Certified Commercial Modular manufacturer? (Steelblox has this certification)
  • Do I have a set of Architectural, Structural and Mechanical drawings? (We can help with this)
  • Do I have a Licensed General Contractor to install my structure onsite? ( Steelblox is a Licensed General Contractor)

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