You’ve heard of pop-up stores and pop-up restaurants, but how about a pop-up government office?
The British Consulate in Chicago will stage a five-day pop-up consulate in Kansas City beginning Oct. 21. The experience is partly timed to send the Kansas City Chiefs off to play in London.
But there’s a broader purpose, said Stephen Bridges, British consulate general in Chicago, who was in Kansas City this week to set the stage for the pop-up and to focus attention on trade and business development between the United Kingdom and the United States.
“We want to demonstrate to Kansas City that it’s an important place for Britain,” Bridges said, citing existing business with Black & Veatch, Burns & McDonnell, Cerner, Lockton, Garmin and Hallmark, among other Kansas City-based companies.
“Our people will be here, working on economic development, looking for new opportunities in trade flows and investments, looking to strengthen our ties.”
The pop-up consulate office will be on the ground floor of the Power & Light Energy Building at 1200 Main St. in downtown Kansas City. A consulate staff of about 20 will accompany Bridges from Chicago, “working as they normally do,” he said.
But they won’t be processing visas or passports when in Kansas City.
Rather, staff members will be popping in and out of the consul office to attend an entrepreneurship session at the Kauffman Foundation, a party at the Liberty Memorial, various trade and business lectures and seminars at the Kansas City Public Library, Union Station, bars and restaurants, and a rally at Kansas City Live, the outdoor events space in the Power & Light District. There will be an invitation-only Scotch whisky tasting and a public-invited British tribute band performance at Kansas City Live.
The five-day agenda, still being confirmed, will feature England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales and seek to develop two-way trade ties.
Kansas City is the third city to get a pop-up British consulate staged by the Chicago office. Previous ones have been held in Minneapolis and Louisville, Ky. Bridges said the particular focus in Kansas City will be on agribusiness, animal health research and energy.
Consulates are part of the British Foreign & Commonwealth Office. Bridges said his service to the office has included stints in the Far East and London before he was posted to Chicago for a four-year term.
A member of a former British consular office in Kansas City, Gerard Seymour, generally is credited with introducing rugby to the Kansas City area by recruiting players and founding the Western Rugby Football Union. He also took teams from the area to play in Europe in the 1970s and brought European teams to play here.
In connection with current activities, the Rugby World Cup semifinal will be played Oct. 25, the last day of the pop-up, and the consulate is organizing a watch party at McFadden’s in the Power & Light District. And that afternoon, the staff is participating in a Chiefs vs. Steelers watch party and Chiefs sendoff rally at Kansas City Live.