Shopping Center Business

MAY 2015

Shopping Center Business is the leading monthly business magazine for the retail real estate industry.

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264 • SHOPPING CENTER BUSINESS • MAY 2015 a building," says Weld. "In some ways it was more complicated than building a building." Popshopolis' Ginn confirms that chal- lenge, noting that cities aren't sure yet how to zone mobile shops. "We are hopeful that as cities catch on, this will be an easier and faster process." Ginn also notes that the design process can be extremely intimidating, especially for start-ups or other young companies without a firmly established brand style and identity. "You are starting with a blank canvas that has nothing except steel walls," says Ginn. "You have to think about every single detail when designing." Unlimited options mean versatility, but that versatility can lead to overwhelm. "We like to compare it to designing a home for the first time; there's flooring, electrical, everything," says Ginn. "We of- fer as much information as we can, but for people who are just starting to research and don't know what they're going for, it can turn them away." This same versatility is what allows retail- ers to combat the main complaint, though, according to Steel Space's Patten. That's the lack of space for displaying inventory. "The way to combat the square footage is interior design. We build all custom furnishing and fixtures. We're able to in- corporate mobile walls. It's just really the way that the floor plan is set up." Patten adds that multiple units can be used to fabricate a larger retail space that is still transportable. Boxman's Patel agrees that design is one way to fight the small footprint of a shipping container. "You can make it open on all four sides. You can make another level. There's flexibility in that construction to create the size you really need," he says. Even so, Patel notes that Boxman Stu- dios "doesn't claim to replace brick and mortar altogether." The shipping contain- ers are best for reaching customers directly where they are, and offering a personal, hands-on experience that can't be repli- cated in a permanent location. "If you want to put racks and racks of clothing in the shop, we cannot do that," he says. "If you want to put 100 desktop computers in a 20-by-eight-foot space, no you can't do that. We're a very unique solution to a very unique problem." SCB A combination retail center and convention booth for Muscle Milk, designed and built by Boxman Studios.

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