Grand Opening: Another PUP Pop Up…Pops Up.

December 6, 2018

People For Urban Progress Opens New Store In The Basement.


What can you do to reclaim and redirect 13 acres of Teflon-coated fiberglass that had spent most of its life as the roof of Indy’s RCA Dome? What about the leather from nearly 7,000 Amtrak seats? Or 9,000 stadium seats salvaged from Indy’s Bush Stadium in 2012? Turns out, you can do a lot if you have a vision for it like the one championed by our friends at People For Urban Progress, Indianapolis.


In the case of the RCA Dome roof, the fabric was used – along with banner material from Super Bowl XLVI, other event banners and reclaimed automotive seat belts – to make messenger bags, gym duffels, totes, handbags, purses, clutches and more. The Amtrak leather is being repurposed as a complete line of limited-edition adventure products ranging from backpacks to totes to travel kits. As for the stadium seats? They’ve begun to make appearances at bus stops, game rooms and man-caves all over the metropolitan Indianapolis area.



Open For Business.

All PUP products are for sale online as well as at stand-alone kiosks and special pop up stores throughout the area, including this new one in our very own agency lobby. It was a great way for us to learn about PUP, its mission and its products as the agency began to work with them in telling their story and marketing their brand. At the same time, in addition to volunteering some man hours and elbow grease to help clean and trim stadium fabric and tear down the Amtrak business-class seats for production, we looked for other ways directly support PUP. This included helping to sell PUP products and purchasing them ourselves, with the agency, our friends and family all doing our part while enjoying some serious retail therapy.



All Aboard.

The pop-up store is just one of the most visible of our initiatives. Our primary mission for PUP was to create a blueprint for the national new product launch of their Amtrak collection, a limited-edition release featuring a commuter back pack, a travel tote and a classic Dopp kit. It was PUP’s first collaboration with a major brand and first national product launch. For this, The Basement provided business intelligence and a launch strategy supported by website, landing page, e-commerce, email, social media and advertising strategies.


“Today Indianapolis, tomorrow the world,” summarizes Jared Hay, Social Content Manager for The Basement. “This was an exciting collaboration for us, being able to work with the PUP team from conception to launch on a program specifically conceived to take that first step from Indianapolis institution to significant national fashion brand.”


Batch 1 of PUP’s Amtrak collection sold out almost immediately. And with no paid advertising. Batch 2 – which includes a new weekender bag featuring leather from the first-class seats of Amtrak’s Acela Express trains that run the northeast corridor – has launched just in time for the holidays.



On A Mission.

For more than a decade, PUP has been working to use design to create a better urban experience in Indianapolis. Its team of dedicated designers, fabricators, artisans, resource managers and volunteers salvage discarded resources that still have value when repurposed. From these, they create responsible products and projects that allowed PUP to be the change it is looking to make in its city. Their belief: just because something is used does not mean it no longer has use.


Says Executive Director Andrea Cowley: “PUP is creating a smarter, more sustainable and more resilient world by combining good design with existing resources. For us, it’s important to show the public that things can have a life beyond their original purpose. Initiatives like our Amtrak project and our pop up stores serve as examples for how that can be done in a sophisticated and innovative way.”



While Supplies Last.

The Basement pop up store currently features travel and sports bags, assorted totes and handbags, messenger bags and purses from the RCA Dome collection. I kicked things off by purchasing a duffel I couldn’t resist on my first day of doing research for this article.



The store is powered by Shopify, so interested buyers can select from The Basement’s pop up stock or purchase from any and all of PUP’s available collections directly, online. Look for weekly online flash sales and regular limited- edition releases of new Amtrak adventure travel products.


Teamwork. Collaboration. Good, smart work. A sense of responsibility, caring and mission. It’s all on display here at The Basement in partnership with People For Urban Progress – the hard-working stewards of our city’s resources and curators of its public spaces.


Doors open at 9:AM, weekdays. Closed Saturday and Sunday.

George Evans
George Evans
Director of Brand & Content Strategy

I'm a writer by vocation, a marketer by profession and I've been telling brand stories for nearly 40 years. The channels have changed, but the fundamentals of spinning a good yarn are timeless. Our grasp of this is why I joined The Basement in 2016, following 10 years at the helm of my own shop. We have great stories to tell.