Building with Shipping Containers

Top 5 Shipping Container Uses for the Holiday Season

With the holiday season approaching, businesses are preparing for the annual flow of crazed customers as they attempt to juggle the preparations expected of during these upcoming months. Holiday sales are known to make or break your business, and with this in mind, establishments have begun implementing shipping containers into their design process to stick out from the crowd and lure in customers searching for a more unique experience. Being the most expensive time of the year, many businesses are ready to profit from this holiday season, so they've turned to containers to grow their business in an inexpensive and beneficial way, giving them the nudge they need to hit the ground running. With storage containers’ extensive mobility, lego-like building process, and transformative potential, these beacons of versatility are perfect for jumpstarting any business. Cargo containers are here to help create a one-of-a-kind branding opportunity, keep your business organized, and most importantly, help your establishment flourish.

Ready to hop on the bandwagon, but in need of some inspiration? Here are the top uses of shipping containers that benefit from the holiday season:

1. Shipping Container Bike Shops and Repair Facilities


With Christmas just around the corner, bike shops begin to fill up as customers hustle to find the perfect gift for friends and family. As these bike shops experience booming business this holiday season, some decide to take advantage of the vast benefits of shipping containers. I mean, what’s not to like --they’re easy to get ahold of, can be stacked and taken apart whenever necessary, and essentially only need a parking lot or two to transform from storage container to eye-catching commercial unit. 

Cargo containers are also quite cheap compared to other storefronts (especially when used), and unlike most retail spaces, can be transported and plopped down in a new location whenever you see fit. 

Our favorite bike shop shipping container is located in Austin, Texas and known as Austin Bike Tours and Rentals (pictured below). This hidden gem is equipped with a seriously cool paint job, an essential awning, and shop garage doors. Situated in the bustling Maboneng Precinct of South Africa lays another close favorite, Whippet Cycling Co (pictured above). With its slick black exterior and large glass windows that boast their vintage steel bikes -- practically begging passerbyers to stop in -- this industrial inspiration is sure to get your gears turning. And we can’t forget about Specialized Bike Manufacturer, a cutting edge bike shop that travels from place to place to sell, repair, and display bikes in a red and white 40 ft shipping container with steel sliding doors.



2. Shipping Container Grocery Stores


As Grocery stores take note of this food-coma filled season, they begin to stock up and prepare for the many customers that are eager to stock their fridges with everything from potatoes to pumpkin pie. When it comes to grocery store inventory during the holidays, more is always less, and overstocking is often a more sensible option when food is in such a high demand -- is there anything more disastrous than running out of turkey near Thanksgiving?! Plopping a few shipping containers on the backlot of your grocery store or on a nearby storage lot is a valuable method for stores that need a place to hold their extra stock during peak season, and where storage space is limited, it can be a very cost effective and convenient alternative. Keeping your storage on your lot gives you easy access at all times and helps you manage your inventory in a professional and organized fashion. And of course, any storage container can be customized to keep all your goods refrigerated! 

If you’re a quaint market that’s looking to keep stock small this season, but are afraid the competitiveness of big box grocery stores will soak up your sales this season, consider popping up in another big market to simultaneously benefit from their booming business. A couple markets have tried this method, dropping down a cargo container or two in another grocery store to attract customers with the help of their pre-paved marketing strategies. 

Stockbox Grocers implemented this idea by taking advantage of shipping containers’ nomadic potential, packing up their miniature market inside a cargo container and placing it throughout different existing businesses in the urban food deserts. In addition, Whole Foods used two repurposed cargo containers to display a section of their produce in a mini market called Bulk Foods (pictured above), using the containers’ industrial, worn-in vibes to lure intrigued customers to their innovative design.

3. Pop-up Shipping Containers for Holiday Parties and Special Events


With the holidays creeping around the corner, many are getting together to devise the most epic holiday events! And anyone that is desperate to host the ‘party that tops all parties’ should definitely know that renting a pop-up shipping container bar or dj booth is the best way to do just that. 

Owning a cargo container pop-up space is a smart way to temporarily start a business and essentially test the waters before diving head first into the competitive world of business. And this immense competition is also what makes storage containers such an appealing choice as they help your business stick out from the crowd and act as powerful vehicles for proper branding. 

Another huge advantage of using shipping containers as pop-ups for your holiday extravaganza is the ease of creating an eye-catching display. With such endless design potential, you can manipulate your shipping container to replicate a holiday color scheme, or whatever your customer envisions for their special event. And if your business stays strong after the heat of the holiday season, change your paint job, maybe stack on another container, and adopt a whole new approach for your business -- the scope of possibilities are endless with cargo containers!

4. Shipping Container Churches


It’s safe to say many recognize Christmas as the birthday of Christ, and some even choose to celebrate this day in the aisles of church. But no matter your denomination or religious affiliation, I’m sure many will appreciate the distinctive innovation and aesthetic appeal of these shipping container churches. 

Our personal favorite, Peter DeMaria’s award-winning church located in East L.A, incorporates several cargo containers into the design of a FourSquare Church Parsonage’s new building. The steel corrugated containers serve as classrooms, a teen center, a gathering hall, communal space, and the pastor’s living quarters. 

Another church, located in New Zealand (pictured above), used the financially and environmentally friendly features of four 20-foot-long shipping containers to replace their fallen cathedral. A deadly earthquake destroyed their beloved and most recognizable architectural landmark: the 19th century Gothic Revival stone cathedral in Christchurch. Desperate for a new place of worship, the church leaders recruited Shigeru Ban Architects to build them a new church.

5. Shipping Container Holiday Retreats

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This holiday season, many families are looking to get away. And whether they are simply searching for something new, or maybe trying to escape the bombardment of their dreaded relatives, shipping container retreats provide the perfect opportunity to house a few families interested in a more unique holiday experience. After you buy or recycle, stack, and equipp your cargo container with the proper functions and amenities, you’ll have a one-of-a-kind retreat to rent or post on Airbnb! 

Although it might be too early to pull out the festive decorations, or begin annoying your neighbors with 24/7 Christmas jams, I’d say it’s an acceptable time to start planning your holiday getaway to one of these astonishing retreats:

Overlooking South Africa’s Bot River Valley, the 650 foot Copia Cabin for two is equipped with a kitchen, living room, and a bedroom with a king-sized bed (pictured above). Made from two 40 ft shipping containers, this rental has been fashioned with a corrugated metal exterior painted a slick black, ample windows that boast breathtaking views, sliding doors that open up to a railing-free porch, and the piece de resistance -- the outdoor fireplace and wood-fired hot tub that soak up the stress of the holidays. 

Another favorite (pictured below), located in New Zealand and designed by architecture firm Atelierworkshop, has transformed a single shipping container into a much needed holiday getaway. This architectural gem contains space-saving bunks that open up like murphy beds, a tiny kitchenette, and a clever terrace that folds out “barbie-dream house style.” The inside has built in wood-panels, a solar powered shower, louvered doors, a retractable awning aid ventilation, and storage shelves. Having no permanent foundation, this dream retreat can be transported to wherever your heart desires! 


Instead of sitting idly on their ports, or mountained high in a sad, rusty pile of steel, these shipping containers can be used to support your business in more ways than one. In these upcoming months, while customers revel in the blissful nostalgia of the festivities, your business can grow cheerful for another reason -- benefiting from the consumer culture of the holidays. And why not go the extra step by repurposing a couple storage containers? With their eco-friendly features, creative versatility, and financial ease, you can save a little extra money, help appease the environment, and brand your business in a modern and unique manner. Cargo containers recognize your business’ aspirations and desire for growth, so whatever your path to financial success, accept the gift of shipping containers this holiday season. After all, good things really do come in big containers. 

Written by Kiele Harris / October 10, 2019

Articles by Kiele Harris

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