This story was originally published in State College Magazine and appears here with persmission.
Andrea Groznik, co-owner and creative director of Groznik PR, is the vibrant color behind State College’s most recent bright idea: a new urban flea market called “Pop Up Ave.”
You might have heard the buzz about Pop Up Ave (popupave.com). The first-time event is an urban flea market that will take over the Garner Street parking lot on Sept. 10 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Inspired by the open-air flea markets in New York City, the event is just the right kind of artsy, alternative atmosphere for downtown State College.
And so is Groznik. A State College native and Penn State alum, she and her husband, Brad, moved back to Happy Valley after years in New York City to figure out this dream of owning their own business together. Originally, they weren’t planning on settling here.
“We fell in love with the place. We didn’t expect that,” Groznik says. “We’re seeing that it is possible to start new things in this town. We can create the perfect town because it’s such a small, supportive, connected community.”
Groznik PR launched in February 2015.
Now, with Pop Up Ave, Groznik gets to create the memorable, vibrant experiences she loves. When asked how she decided to start Pop Up Ave, Groznik laughs and says, “A little bit of foolishness.” It was an idea that wouldn’t let go. “We just kept talking about the idea and brainstorming what it would look like. When we found out that we could rent a parking lot downtown, we knew we had to try.”
“I love supporting these artists and creating a space for them, and at the same time creating an immersive, vivid experience for this town we now call home.”
Groznik has a passion for the tactile and the immersive, and you can see that in the aesthetic of Pop Up Ave. “We started out with a more black/white, urban feel. But I just felt, ‘This isn’t wild enough!’ We don’t want to feel pretentious. We’re trying to hit ‘laid-back cool.’ Our logo designed by Christian Baum really led us in that direction.”
The wild colors are part of Groznik’s goal for Pop Up Ave: She wants to inspire people to live a more vivid life. “I love supporting these artists and creating a space for them, and at the same time creating an immersive, vivid experience for this town we now call home,” she says.
Brad Groznik sees his wife’s artistic eye and human touch as key to Pop Up Ave. “It’s been so cool watching Andrea flex her creative muscles with Pop Up Ave. Everything she does feels fresh and fun. Including all the amazing vendors she has signed up for the event. I don’t know how she does it. People just get what we’re trying to do thanks to her and that’s made it a blast to help organize.”
Groznik and her team are bringing in unique vendors who have a dynamic story to tell with their work. She seeks, via Groznik PR and Pop Up Ave, to support entrepreneurs in the world, especially women who are doing it their way. “Vendors are figuring out how to live their lives and I share that question. This isn’t a traditional career path.” Ninety-five percent of the vendors are women.
It’s been a learning curve but one she’s loved. In fact, Pop Up Ave is her favorite project out of all the work she’s ever done, a list that includes account manager at the NYC-based Ovando Floral Design & Event Production and retail manager of a midcentury modern furniture store on Antique Row in Philadelphia.
“Every day is different. It evolves so quickly, whether it’s the vision or the aesthetic; it’s very free! I get to take ownership of my work and I work that much harder.” And in that, she’s discovering new ways to access the artist that she is.
“I’m really happy to support other people’s ideas. I don’t need to have the idea. I just love making a vision become reality.”