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With a current explosive trend in the specialty leasing industry, mall owners and retailers wisely strive to maximize a center's income per square foot. These decision-makers whet their appetite in this arena by turning to carts and kiosks to achieve their just desserts.

As real estate becomes harder to procure — at a premium price — shopping center owners must carefully plan how to allot open spaces. Because of the lack of available property and associated costs, it is imperative any leaseable space within a center be optimized.

In order to satisfy customers, cart and kiosk design must be just as appealing as in-line stores. Many shopping center developers strive for their retail merchandise units (RMUs) to complement the center's architecture and merchandise. Shopping Center World found some hot products for a taste of what's on the menu.

  1. TL Horton Design

    TL Horton Design (TLH) recently created RMUs for the Galleria at Roseville in Roseville, Calif. TLH was challenged to create a custom kiosk that added value to the common area of the center with a design that related to and complemented Roseville's architectural style.

    To match the design features of the center, TLH created an elliptical RMU with a white soffit and custom recessed lighting to mimic the lighting in the center. Custom column capitals were cast and incorporated into the top's design to relate to the decorative capitals throughout the project. In addition, the ID sign on the top of the unit featured a graphics pattern found at the Galleria.
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  2. Team Linux/Explore

    The model S1500 Kiosk from Team Linux/Explore has a design that supports operation in a variety of environments. It can be branded and customized with options for many customer needs. The S1500 features Intel 700 MHZ Pentium III & 366/566/766 MHZ Celeron processor options, 64 to 256-MB system memory, a 10.2-GB hard disk and a 15-inch LCD display. A sidecar can be used to support customer-defined options such as laser printers or dispensing mechanisms. Team Linux also provides support such as help desk services and remote monitoring.
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  3. Watt IDG

    To satisfy the needs of holiday shoppers, The Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO) required a line of kiosks offering a selection of champagnes, spirits and beer. Each of these Millennium Kiosks had to meet tight space restrictions. The challenge was to create a selling space that could store and display as much as a 10-ft. by 20-ft. footprint would allow. Because of its open access within the mall, the kiosks had to be self-contained, easily locked and maintained. The design of the kiosks integrates the characteristics of the larger LCBO store design: ample lighting and clear signage; quality showcases, fixtures and detailing; and promotional and display areas.
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  4. B&C Mortensen Wood Products

    B&C Mortensen Wood Products Inc. introduces the Mt. Vernon portable gazebo and counter sections. The 96-inch diameter kiosk comes fully finished and does not require tools for assembly. The complete unit costs $2,100 and takes approximately 20 minutes to set-up.
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  5. Sand Mountain Inc.

    Sand Mountain Inc. custom designed this cart to complement the major renovation at Honolulu's Ala Moana Center. The client wanted the new retail carts to maintain the integrity and architectural character of the renovated center. The challenge was to integrate these design features into a functional unit that could withstand the highly corrosive climate due to the center's proximity to the ocean. To reach this objective, Sand Mountain designed the cart with architectural features found throughout Ala Moana. To combat Mother Nature, the metal framework was made of aluminum with an epoxy paint coating to resist rust and oxidation.
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  6. Creations at Dallas

    The Common Area Unit Division of Creations at Dallas produces pushcarts and RMUs in a variety of materials, including wood, metal, acrylic and glass. Additional built-in amenities offer a broad range of options. Standard units can be conformed to meet any specifications or match existing architectural elements. The company also offers new concept and custom design services as well as directories, customer service centers, display cases, interactive kiosks, freestanding fixtures and food service carts.
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  7. MFI Inc.

    Merchandising Frontiers Inc. supplies retail kiosks for Wilsons Leather at airport locations throughout the world. The kiosks perform as smaller versions of the in-line Wilsons Leather stores. The walk-in kiosks feature Vision Guard security doors, fire treated maple cabinetry, custom signage, lighting, custom-merchandise display fixtures, and telephone, electrical, fire alarm, sprinkler system and HVAC connections.
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