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Cart Blanche

A kiosk or cart could be the perfect low-cost site for your start-up.

Carts and kiosks have become familiar sights in American malls, selling everything from inexpensive gift items to pricey jewelry and artwork. They make mall space affordable for the small-business owner, and the mall operators benefit from extra rent and a wider variety of merchandise.

Carts and kiosks have contributed to one of the hottest trends in retailing-temporary tenants. Most often these are seasonal businesses that only need to be open for a limited time. For example, a specialty candy shop may open just before Christmas, remain open through Valentine's Day, Easter and Mother's Day, then close for the remainder of the year. Some temporary tenants occupy traditional storefront space, but most opt for carts or kiosks. The most popular site for a temporary operation is a busy mall, but many operators are also finding success in airports and other transportation facilities, at sporting events, and at other creative venues limited only by their imagination and ability to strike a deal with the property manager.

Consider using carts and kiosks to test your product in a retail setting before making the larger investment in a traditional store. Styles range from simple to elaborate; whatever you choose, be sure it's attractive, well-lighted and functional.

Excerpted from Start Your Own Business: The Only Start-Up Book You'll Ever Need, by Rieva Lesonsky and the Staff of Entrepreneur Magazine, © 1998 Entrepreneur Press

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