“Buy me some peanuts and Cracker Jacks”—along with an essential-oil diffuser, handwoven baskets, and artisan canoe paddles. Welcome to Target Field’s new Gate 34 Experience, where baseball is merely a backdrop to an ever-changing array of interactive activities, including pop-up shops, lawn games, and live music.
Over the winter, Target Field reconfigured the heavily used gate to create more security lanes to help speed the entrance process, which has become more security-centric since the ballpark opened a decade ago.
In the process, the ballpark gained 9,300 square feet of what Twins president and CEO Dave St. Peter describes as “programmable space.” Determined to think beyond beer and brats, he hired pop-up guru Mich Berthiaume to curate the space, which features a pavilion and turf lawn. Berthiaume is no stranger to blending shopping and sport—she produced North Local Market at City Center during the Super Bowl. The Twins participated in her very first Shop Local market at Mall of America five years ago.
“Today, you need to bring the brands to the audience,” says Berthiaume, who is batting nearly 1,000 in interest from small local companies, including Leather Works Minnesota, Still Kickin’, Manhattan Toy, Thumbs Cookies, and Spinning Wylde gourmet cotton candy. Her recipe for any successful shopping event is one part brands with a social mission, one part heritage, one part startup—like one of her recent discoveries, Hunter Handmade, a dog bed company.
Who wants to lug around a dog bed at a Twins game? “The brands will offer delivery,” Berthiaume explains. Featured brands will change for each series. “It gives fans a different experience at the ballpark,” Berthiaume says.
The revolving marketplace also opens the ballpark to companies that couldn’t afford to lease space for an entire season. “We’re excited about the flexibility. We just want to try a lot of different things in 2019,” St. Peter says. “No one else is doing this.”