The World's Largest Resource for the Cart, Kiosk, and Temporary Retail Industry

Spring 2001 On Location: Un-Common Areas

All’s Fair

From airport to arena, casino to community center, exciting opportunities exist for temporary tenants in unusual and often challenging places-like that dock in Ketchikan, Alaska. Summertime cruise-ship traffic gives the Waldenbooks chain reason to consider it as a seasonal location.
And that rodeo in Texas? Calendar Club operated in the Houston Astrodome during the annual rodeo in February, which draws two to three million people each year. Calendar Club is exploring non-traditional mall locations, as well, such as downtown business districts– Seattle’s Broadway Market, for example–for their seasonal temporary stores.

If you’re looking for locations with almost guaranteed traffic, look at state and local fairs. Typically held in spring and summer, fairs can be terrific for short-term merchants getting started or adding a seasonal location. The Los Angeles County Fair, with yearly attendance of 1,000,000+, has 15 to 20 carts available each year in addition to booth spaces. Suzanne Paradeis, commercial sales supervisor, says many vendors at the Fair look to expand into malls. Conversely, many mall merchants are at the fair.

This year’s fair runs September 7-23, and the application process starts in April. The LA County Fair charges a flat rate (no percentage rent) between $1,800-2,900, depending on location and traffic flow, for the duration of the event. Products that do well include straw hats, sunglasses, sarongs, handcrafted items, and anything for children.

imageOn a wider scale, The Army & Air Force Exchange Service (AAFES) operates more than 150 shopping center locations worldwide, all with cart/kiosk programs. Referred to as “short-term concessionaires,” these retailers are open for up to 14 days, and can extend their term through local AAFES business managers (similar to mall leasing specialists). Each location has an average of four carts offering merchandise from T-shirts to candles to souvenirs. And all are open for business every day except Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Urban streets

From immigrants’ pushcarts on Chicago’s Maxwell Street to today’s hot-dog and pretzel vendors on Manhattan’s street corners, carts have been part of American urban life and commerce for more than a century. Today, the approach to urban carts is a both a nod to the past and a push toward the future.

Downtown Eugene, OR, is home to a pedestrian mall area that’s well known for its Saturday Market, one of the largest craft markets in America. The private not-for-profit organization Downtown Eugene, Inc. has a pushcart program of five to eight “full-time” food vending carts. The program allows food merchants to bring in their own units, and charges each vendor a minimum rent vs. 6% of gross sales. The carts add activity to the area, and convenience for local office workers. Some of these merchants have gone on to open restaurants in the city.

In 1998, Nuestra Comunidad (Our Community) Development Corporation, a grass-roots organization, created unique “micro-enterprise” opportunities for low-income residents and welfare recipients in Boston’s Roxbury community. Nuestra Comunidad’s “Village Pushcarts” program leases 10 carts in the Dudley Square Bus Station for a set monthly rent of $250. Nuestra Comunidad also helps new cart tenants through the start-up process, from permitting to marketing. One of the most successful of these “micro-enterprises” is the Black Library, which sells African-American literature; another successful venture sells handmade clothes from Zimbabwe. Due to the popularity and success of the Village Pushcarts program, Nuestra Comunidad will expand it to 25 carts during the next two years, allowing more local entrepreneurs to start up or expand.

Targeting tourists

imageSome city cart programs are a retail venture and tourist venue at the same time. The City of Key West’s cart program, located throughout the island in various high-traffic sections such as Old Town, the heart of the city, and Mallory Pier, noted for its large crowds at sunset and attendant performers and vendors. The carts carry merchandise geared to tourists, and the locations and ambience give visitors a taste of the Key’s colorful past.

On the Florida mainland in downtown Ft. Lauderdale is Las Olas Riverfront, the 600,000-s/f open-air tourist entertainment center. With its movie theaters, restaurants, and national and independent retailers–including 12 carts in a courtyard environment–Las Olas Riverfront (owned and managed by Swerdlow) is one example of the mall hybrid, a shopping/dining/entertainment location that attracts locals and tourists.

So does historic Market Square in San Antonio, known for housing the largest Mexican market in the US. Built in the 1700s, this enclosed center was renovated 25 years ago, and pushcarts and kiosks were added. Owned and operated by the City of San Antonio, today’s Market Square has 12 carts and 10 kiosks that sell Southwestern art and Texas-themed products to residents as well as visitors.

Pier 39 in San Francisco is another popular year-round attraction, which has had carts for 20 years. This venue takes a unique approach: merchants can lease for one to three years, can own their carts, and design them in a maritime theme. Because Pier 39 is a Port property, all seasonal and year-round carts, uses and locations must follow the permitting process of the Bay Conservation and Development Commission. Today there are 18 carts. Most are food vendors; others carry unique and souvenir gift items for the San Francisco tourist.

That’s entertainment

Entertainment centers are coming of age. Anchored by up-to-the-minute multiplex movie theaters, these centers have restaurants, casual eateries and bars, plus a small retail component. Some are themed entertainment centers, such as CityWalk (Universal Studios) and Downtown Disney, offering a similar mix of entertainment, restaurants, and small specialty stores. And themed or not, many are adding or enhancing common-area programs. That’s because developers want to add an element of excitement to the visitors’ experience.

One such venue is The Irvine Spectrum Center in Irvine, CA (owned by The Irvine Company, managed by Madison Marquette Retail Services). Built in 1995, the first phase of the center had 18 carts, 10 kiosks and seven wall shops. Part of the Phase II expansion has since added 12 carts. When Phase III opens this fall–with a giant Ferris wheel and a carousel–the specialty retail program will have an additional 20 carts, and from five to ten kiosks. The program also has a thriving “weekend tenant” program of more than 20 concepts. Uses are trendy and new–henna painting, psychic readings, caricature artists, and hair wrappers–capturing the latest products on the market. all of which add to the center’s ambience.

Opening in Los Angeles in the first quarter of 2001 is The Promenade at Howard Hughes (JH Snyder Company), an entertainment center along the incredibly busy 405 freeway. This property’s common-area program is in a courtyard, with six RMUs designed to match the center’s Art Deco look. Uses will range from core products like sunglasses to unique, interactive products. This entertainment center, like many others, will serve two segments of the population: daytime shoppers from surrounding offices, and evening and weekend visitors coming to the center’s movie theaters and restaurants.

On the water in Long Beach is Queensway Bay (Developers Diversified Realty) that’s still in development. A large retail/entertainment center, Queensway’s common-area program is expected to include locations along the waterfront.

And on the opposite coast in Miami, Shops at Sunset Place (Simon Property Group) is an outdoor venue with 18 units that feature a variety of uses to complement the diverse customer base. Also in Miami is Coco Walk in upscale Cocoanut Grove. Coco Walk, is one of the first retail entertainment centers, and has had carts since its inception, emphasizing the common area as a place to shop and linger.

Good bets

imageWith the addition of malls, casinos are becoming shopping destinations as well as gambling and entertainment venues. In Las Vegas are The Forum Shops, The Stratosphere, and the new Desert Passage attached to the Aladdin Hotel. Some casinos are adding cart programs to create retail opportunities in small spaces. Harrah’s has carts outside the hotels, and even the Holiday Inn has a single cart on the “boardwalk” area in front of its entrance.

The Tropicana Hotel and Casino created its own specialty retail program in October 1999 with 10 carts and four wall shops. Dianne Simmons, director of retail services, says April through September is the strongest season. Merchandise for tourists, memorabilia and personalized products are the best concepts, and price and packability are key elements. One such concept that fits all the criteria is Grain of Rice (words on-rice jewelry), and it’s going strong.

Outward bound

Outlet centers seems like a natural for carts and kiosks, but that hasn’t always been the case. However, Prime Retail Outlets has had common-area programs in several of its centers for some time. And now Tanger Outlet Centers may follow suit. For the Lancaster (PA) outlet center, Tanger is currently considering one local retailer with its own cart. This summer, Horizon Group Properties will open a cart program in an outdoor center in Tulare, CA (between Fresno and Bakersfield). And in Laughlin, NV, an area geared toward older “snowbirds” in winter and “river rats” in summer, Horizon has an indoor 256,799-s/f outlet center with 16 carts and three kiosks. In this gambling mecca, the center draws from the 10 casinos that surround it within in a two-mile radius.

Where people gather, retail pops up, and nowhere is this truer in recent years than in transportation hubs. No longer offering travelers little more than a news stand and a snack bar, today’s airports, train stations and bus depots are morphing into mini-malls, complete with common-area programs.

Airports in particular have gone retail in a big way–Pittsburgh, LaGuardia (NY), Portland (OR), Baltimore-Washington, Orlando and many others have implemented exciting programs. Philadelphia International, for example, has more than 40 carts throughout its terminals. It’s a highly competitive market, especially in spring and summer, where the basics (like pens and watches) and anything hand-made sell very well. So do Philadelphia pretzels.

Aiports such as Washington, DC’s Ronald Reagan Washington National and Dulles, Logan (Boston) and Newark (NJ) are all part of Westfield Concession Management, Inc.’s retail program. Newark has 11 RMUs in Terminal C. Manager Jack Skurka looks for unique items, and says best-sellers are “guilt gifts”–things traveling parents want to bring home to the kids. One RMU, working with the City’s Junior Entrepreneurs Club, sells Newark-themed merchandise.

The granddaddy of the train and bus station venues may be the St. Louis Station, a former train station renovated as a retail/hotel complex in 1985. Attracting a 60/40 mix of tourists and downtowners, this non-traditional, un-anchored center has a program of 19 carts. The most successful are those selling personalized products, demonstration items, and fun concepts.

Living large

Lifestyle centers are catching the common-area bug, too. These outdoor shopping centers, which are smaller than malls, have a higher-end store mix and usually only a small anchor if any, are also viable locations. The Avenue of the Peninsula Cousins MarketCenters, Inc.) in Rolling Hills Estates, CA, is a 375,000s/f center with Saks Fifth Avenue as anchor, upscale chain stores such as J Crew, Banana Republic, AnnTaylor and Talbots, and an indoor ice rink. The center’s common-area program includes a number of custom RMUs, and looks for concepts that appeal to its sophisticated customers.

Another California lifestyle center is Encino Place (Peppy LLC) in the densely populated San Fernando Valley. This unanchored two-level center has stores such as BCBG and Color Me Mine, plus restaurants and a day spa. There are six carts in a common area that has outdoor restaurant seating, and a carousel. Cart products that do well here are basics like cell phones, jewelry and cosmetics.

The line between lifestyle centers and neighborhood/community centers is somewhat fuzzy. Both may be upscale, but one key difference is that a neighborhood center often has a grocery store as its anchor. In suburban Los Angeles, The Promenade at Westlake and The Commons at Calabasas (Caruso Affiliated Holdings) mix a grocery anchor with high-end restaurants and retail that include home/habitat such as Restoration Hardware, jewelry, and high-end apparel. At both centers, carts have been integrated with the wider sidewalks directly in front of the storefronts. The carts–10 at Westlake, 12 at Calabasas–are available for year-round lease. The centers look for high-end merchandise that appeals to their upscale clientele.

One of the more traditional neighborhood/community centers to start a cart program this past holiday season was Park Plaza (Urban Retail Properties Co.) in San Pedro, CA. Property manager Kim Vidal added four carts to a re-landscaped area. Meanwhile, Federal Realty Investment Trust, with carts in The Shops at Willow Lawn (Richmond, VA), decided to place carts in other neighborhood centers. Starting April 1st, Federal Realty will introduce carts in two of their Maryland properties–two at Congressional Plaza in Rockville, three at Bethesda Row. In August, the new Pentagon Row center (Arlington, VA) will roll out six carts, the start of what is expected to be a 16-unit program. At 295,811s/f, this new center also features an ice rink that in the off-season will be home to the specialty retail program. And this winter, a number of units selling holiday and seasonal products will be placed around an outdoor fountain.

Today, it seems carts, RMUs and kiosks are everywhere–at amusement parks, in office building lobbies, on college campuses, in hospitals, and in many other unexpected locations. Because of the revenue they generate and the ambience they create, carts are now a key element in the retail landscape. When building a retail property of almost any type, developers routinely factor in a common-area program as part of the project. And that’s uncommonly good news for short-term specialty retailers.

Article Resources

Army & Air Force Exchange Service (AAFES)
Denise Gumbert
New Business Programs Specialist
PO Box 660202
Dallas, TX 75266

Calendar Club
Trish Hooker
Operator Services
6411 Burleson Rd.
Austin, TX 78744

Encino Place
Robert Hakim
16101 Ventura Blvd. #211
Encino, CA 91436
Eugene, Oregon

Russ Brink
132 E Broadway, Ste. 103
Eugene, OR 97401

Federal Realty Investment Trust
Jan B. Thomasson
Director of Specialty Leasing Mid-Atlantic
1601 Willow Lawn Dr., 600 North Tower
Richmond, VA 23230

Horizon Group Properties, Inc.
Jodi Griffin
5000 Hakes Dr.
Muskegon, MI 49441

International Association of Fairs and Expositions
PO Box 985
Springfield, MO 65801

Irvine Spectrum Center
Lee Eckholm
71 Fortune Dr., Ste. 970
Irvine, CA 92618

Queensway Bay
Daniel B. DiCillo
3300 Enterprise Pkwy.
Beachwood, OH 44122

Las Olas Riverfront
Rachia Green
300 SW 1st Ave.
Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33301

Los Angeles County Fair
Suzanne Paradeis
Commercial Sales Supervisor
1101 W McKinley Ave.
Pomona, CA 91768

Market Square
Robert Tagle, GM
514 W Commerce
San Antonio, TX 78207

Newark International Airport
Jack Skurka
Specialty Leasing Manager
Westfield Concessions Management, Inc.
Newark International, Terminal C
Newark, NJ 07114

Nuestra Comunidad Development Corporation
Pedro Arce
56 Warren St., Ste. 200
Roxbury, MA 02119

Park Plaza
Kim A. Vidal, Property Manager
916 N Western Ave., Ste. 225
San Pedro, CA 90732

Philadelphia International Airport
MarketPlace Redwood, LP
Leesa Williams
Director, Specialty Leasing and Marketing
Philadelphia International Airport
Terminal D, Upper Level
Philadelphia, PA 19153

Pier 39
Celeste Friedman
VP of Leasing
PO Box 193732
San Francisco, CA 94119-3730

St. Louis Station
Alyssa Dolan
500 St. Louis Union Station
St. Louis, MO 63103
314.421.6655 ext.7031

Tanger Outlet Centers
Wendy Johnson
3200 Northline Ave., Ste. 360
Greensboro, NC 27408

The Avenue at the Peninsula
The Promenade at Howard Hughes
Provenzano Resources, Inc.
Deborah S. Kravitz
4544 Colbath Ave.
Sherman Oaks, CA 91423

The Commons at Calabasas
The Promenade at Westlake Village
Mary Kay Hager
4799 Commons Way, Ste. L
Calabasas, CA 91302

The Shops at Sunset
Lydia Gilmore
5701 Sunset Dr., Ste. 100
South Miami, FL 33143

Dianne M. Simmons
Director of Retail Operations
3801 Las Vegas Blvd. S, Las Vegas, NV 89109

Kevin Kern
Manager of Real Estate
100 Phoenix Dr.
Ann Arbor, MI 48108

Western Fairs Association
1776 Tribute Rd., Ste. 210
Sacramento, CA 95815

Deborah Kravitz

Deborah S. Kravitz is a partner in Provenzano Resources, Inc, (PRI) a retail real estate consulting firm providing specialty leasing programs, management, leasing, training seminars, and retail development for shopping centers, lifestyle and entertainment venues, airports and retailers. PRI owns and manages the high profile Third Street Promenade Specialty Retail Program, redeveloped in winter of 2005.

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