PayPal Built An Artist-Created Pop-Up Bodega Shop In SoHo To Show How People Use Extra Cash

What would you do with an extra $500?

An artistic display meant to look like cereal at PayPal's pop-up gallery in New York City. Marty Swant
Headshot of Marty Swant

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PayPal is opening a temporary bodega-style art exhibition in Manhattan—right next to its rival’s brick-and-mortar shop.

The San Francisco-based payments company’s pop-up—created with the help of digital artists, designers and photographers—aims to be a visual display of how people like to spend money. Visitors who stop by the the pop-up—located on the border of Manhattan’s SoHo shopping district—will walk in to something that feels part candy store and part art gallery. However, each part is based on data from a recent survey that asked American adults what they’d do with a little extra cash.

The space, open to the public on June 9, is meant to promote PayPal’s Cashback Mastercard credit card that debuted last year giving cardholders 2 percent back on every purchase. Walking in, people will pass by a chandelier on a wall made of candy along with the phrase, “from candy to eye candy”—a representation of survey results that said people would spend money on interior design products if they had an extra $500. In the next room is a rolling refrigerator with food-like art and on the wall behind it is the saying,”from deli to Delhi,” because people told PayPal they want more money to travel.

The location PayPal chose is also notable, as it’s on the same block as a mini store operated by Square, a rival that opened its first brick-and-mortar location less than a year ago. (Asked about whether PayPal’s location was strategic, a spokesman said he wasn’t sure if that was planned or not.)

Here are a few other stats from the survey about how people would spend an extra $500:

  • 27 percent would use it to pay off debts
  • 21 percent would save
  • 9 percent would invest
  • 54 percent of women said they’d spend on “clothing, shoes or accessories,” while only 37 percent of men said they would spend similarly
  • 41 percent of men said they’d spend on tech products, compared with 28 percent of women
Emily Buckner, the founder of FLWR Studio, examines her dress made of flowers on Friday at PayPal's pop-up gallery.

@martyswant Marty Swant is a former technology staff writer for Adweek.