Monday, November 2, 2009

Vendor Huts, A Good Idea Gone Horribly Wrong

Walking near Woodruff Park last week, I noticed a number of new green huts being installed and was curious as to their purpose. Now I wish I didn't know! The city of Atlanta has contracted with General Growth Properties Inc. to handle what is being called the city's "on-street vending program." Yes, that's the same General Growth Properties that filed the largest real estate bankruptcy in U.S. history this past April. Locally, General Growth owns North Point, Cumberland and Perimeter malls but this is an especially strange move for the city. A city that is strapped for cash and facing budget cuts left and right contracts with a financially unstable company to manage a new program. I'm not even a city of Atlanta resident, and I have serious questions about this decision. The icing on the cake though, is that many of the items I have seen hawked in these city-owned kiosks are counterfeit designer goods and cheap knock-offs. The million dollar restrooms were bad enough, does the city really need to spend money on projects like this? To their defense, revenue is said to be generated through the sale of ad space on 3 panels per kiosk, but how profitable a venture this will turn out to be is questionable. Thus far, Absolut, BEBE and Levi's ads have been spotted, interestingly though, this was on units not currently in use. (As of today, both the apparel advertisers have had their ads removed)

City officials are looking to the company to bring a standardized look to what is now a mess of vending stands, and to impose quality standards on the merchandise vendors sell. (though this aspect seems to have been overlooked thus far) In an Atlanta Business Chronicle editorial in August, several major Atlanta hospitality officials voiced their support for the city's proposed vending program. This week, Atlanta will come one step closer to replacing Mayor Shirley Franklin. What will Norwood, Reed or Borders do with this program?

When the first phase of installation is complete, there are to be 20 kiosk units in the downtown area, including locations near the Georgia Aquarium and World of Coke. The units are designed and installed by Stak Design, a Texas-based firm specializing in custom design and fabrication of retail merchandising units, specifically for the shopping center and trade show industries.

All of the kiosk units will include three advertising panels. The kiosk advertising will be managed by Cemusa, a global leader in the management of street furniture advertising in more than 160 cities around the world. ToNeTo Atlanta


Stosh said...

I think the advertising alone will pay for the cost of these structures. Also, it is uncanny how identical this corner now looks to the corner of Barclay St/Park Row and Broadway in NYC. Almost identical!,-95.677068&sspn=34.038806,56.337891&ie=UTF8&hq=&hnear=New+York&ll=40.712102,-74.008031&spn=0,359.996561&z=18&layer=c&cbll=40.712004,-74.008122&panoid=gvD4EClnTm0s30JBclTtgQ&cbp=12,79.74,,0,9.5

Atlantan99 said...

Damn, looking at both that's so true. So random you matched those.

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