Retailers have learned that just because something isn’t of interest to consumers 12 months a year doesn’t mean a venture can’t be highly lucrative. Think about the “pop-up” shops that appear seemingly out of nowhere every Halloween and winter holiday season. Carbon Health appears to be hoping that same strategy can work for urgent care, as the company announced the launch of 100 COVID-19 pop-up testing centers in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Brooklyn, and Manhattan, with Detroit expected to follow in the near future. Their expectation is that they could bring in 100,000 patients per month across the country, with very low overhead. In an item posted on TechCrunch, Carbon Health CEO Even Bali is quoted as saying flexibility and rapid deployment will be essential to the initiative’s success. It started early in the pandemic at the company’s existing locations in the Bay Area, where Bali said, “we were seeing patients who are literally coming from Wuhan, China to our clinics.” Recognizing the need—and the opportunity—presented by the pandemic, they started using mobile trailers that would move from one underserved location to another. Now they’re using construction trailers you might be used to seeing where high-rise buildings are going up while working on a more custom unit built to their specifications. While it remains to be seen whether it’s a success from a business perspective in the end, the idea demonstrates that a creative approach may be what’s needed to address a once-in-a-lifetime crisis.

Pop-Up Shops Rake in the Holiday Bucks. Can the Same Strategy Work for Urgent Care During the Pandemic?
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