Making money in the mall: kiosks can get business off the ground

By: Lisa McDivitt Email
By: Lisa McDivitt Email

A lot of times a layoff can turn into a business opportunity, as many people who lose their jobs decide to take a leap and start that business they've always dreamed about. If you’ve ever wanted to start your own business, one way to ease into getting your own place could be in the hallway of a local mall.

And one of their newest businesses can actually help you with your new business.

Stelera broadband is a relatively new business. They sell a portable, wireless internet router. It's something that the company says people really need to try it out to understand it.

"It's cell phone technology,” says Kendall Montagriff, the Western Slope market manager for Stelera. “We put our routers on cell phone towers around the town and broadcast that way."

So one way to get the word out? They opened a brightly–colored and interactive kiosk in the mall to appeal to passing customers.

From handbags to cell phone accessories, cosmetics to custom–made stickers, shopping mall kiosks sell a variety of goods, and provide some real advantages to both business owners and malls.

"You're in the middle of the mall, you get that flow of traffic. It's really some built–in advertisement for your business,” says Jammie McCloud, the marketing manager at Mesa Mall. “And it's a great way to incubate a new business.”

According to Specialty Retail Report magazine, gift shops and kiosks are a $12 billion a year industry.

For the business owner, kiosks are a great entry point into entrepreneurship. Leases are short term, anywhere from thirty days to a year, overhead is low, and there's potential for growth.

Jammie McCloud is the marketing manager for mesa mall. She says High Tides Accessories is a perfect success story example. It started in the Mesa Mall as a kiosk and after two years, it grew enough to move into a store–front.

This kiosk to store–front route is something Stelera says they're almost ready to pursue, even though they just opened their kiosk in July.

"The kiosk has done so much for us in the last couple months that we're looking at permanently, possibly putting in a store front location," says Montagriff.

For the mall, kiosks provide another source of revenue, and constantly fresh inventory.

"That's what's neat about the special leasing program is that it's constantly changing and evolving,” says McCloud. “You're never really know who you're going to see here."

McCloud says mesa mall has 14 kiosks, eight of them are currently rented, and they have businesses lined up to rent out the rest.

"Interest has been really strong in the specialty leasing program this year. We're really expecting them all to be leased out by holiday, which is really great news for this time of year," says McCloud.

And if you're ready to make the leap into your own business, McCloud says, "We're definitely always interested in talking to new people and coming up with new and different uses and ways to help them grow their businesses here."

The move is something Stelera says makes sense for a growing business.

"We wanted them to play with the product and see what it was all about, and this was a great place for it, because a lot of people visit the mall on a daily basis."

And one of mesa mall's newest kiosk businesses, Custom Decal, is actually one that will help your business, through making custom stickers. They just opened a couple weeks ago, and have already had new customers thanks to the foot traffic in Clock Court.


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