By Gregory Daurer | Sep 13, 2020
Mobile retail solutions (carts, kiosks, and electric vehicles)
"Gallery Carts is the leader in mobile cart, kiosk, and electric vehicle innovation that can be used and leveraged in colleges and universities, airports, convention centers, stadiums and arenas, malls, you name it," says Gallery. "The possibilities are endless."
Real-life examples include buying pizza and bottled soda from a cart at the top of Red Rocks Amphitheatre. Hot dogs or cocktails at Coors Field. BBQ at Lake Powell. Nuts -- or souvenirs -- at a Milwaukee Brewers game at Miller Park. Coffee from a kiosk at Rocky Mountain National Park. Or tacos vended from a mobile vehicle at Fresno Yosemite International Airport.
The mobile carts can incorporate a range of add-ons, including grills. "The smell from a grill cart, the sizzle, the sound, all of that that brings people in," says Gallery, describing how a cart "really helps entice consumer sales" when placed in a "high-traffic area." Same goes for popcorn, sushi, cocktails, ice cream, jerseys, and T-shirts. "Retail merchandising is another huge aspect of a lot of these stadiums and arenas," adds Gallery.
Since 2019, Gallery Carts has also been outfitting electric vehicles (EVs), so they can deliver food or beverages to -- and at -- varied locations: e.g., Stella Artois beer served at an airport in Toronto, Canada; hot dogs dished out at an airport in Charlotte. The vehicles are the result of a partnership between Gallery and vehicle manufacturers Club Car and AYRO.
The EV business has taken off, especially in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, given how universities are seeking new ways to get food to students without requiring them to congregate in dining halls or cafeterias. Oftentimes, the electric vehicles serve a "grab and go" function -- patrons can take something out of a unit themselves before paying for the item.
As a direct result of COVID-19, Gallery has been offering refrigerated units that contain UV lighting, which can kill the virus on surfaces; the lights turn off when the doors to the merchandise are opened to protect people from the intense rays. And while the company pioneered hand sinks on carts to meet various health department requirements, it now offers a UV sink install for its carts and EVs.
Gallery's father and aunt, Dan and Debbie, founded Gallery Carts 40 years ago. The Gallery family ran a Chicago-style deli before getting into catering. Soon they developed their own mobile carts, which led to Gallery's products being utilized at Mile High Stadium.
Today, the carts, kiosks, and finished-off electric vehicles are fabricated at a 35,000-square-foot facility in north Denver. One production line is used to fabricate all of the products. Work begins from the bottom up with casters added to stainless-steel cart frames, which may also incorporate some aluminum to lighten the load, followed by plumbing and other equipment (one EV called for a wood-burning pizza oven). After the crew installs electrical systems and countertops, the carts are finished with vinyl 3M wraps featuring eye-catching graphics. There are four engineers on staff, in addition to around 18 employees doing the production and assembly work.
Gallery says, "As of this week, we just delivered over a thousand mobile carts to two different stadiums: Allegiant Stadium [for the Las Vegas Raiders] and SoFi Stadium [for the L.A. Rams and Chargers]." He adds, "Had it not been for the pandemic, I think we would have doubled revenue in 2020."
Gallery outlines the benefits of mobile carts: they can move to maximize exposure to foot traffic; there's no onsite construction required at a venue, which often reduces overall labor costs; and there's frequently less permitting required. In terms of a food cart, Gallery says, "We drive it [to the] place, we push it into place, we plug it in, we test it, the health department comes out a couple hours later, and they're operating."
He adds, "Sometimes the health department requires you to move the pieces of equipment to clean around it. It's very easy to do with a mobile unit. You simply push it out of the way; pressure wash or mop or whatever is required; and then push [the cart] back into place."
Gallery sometimes takes his daughter to the Denver Zoo, where they buy food for the stingrays. The cart dispensing the stingrays' food was made by Gallery, as was another cart selling merchandise, like stuffed animals, on the way out of the exhibit.
For Gallery, the pleasure of his business -- in execution, as well as seeing his products in use -- can be boiled down to this: "It's the joy of producing a physical product that people interact with -- and I'm just lucky enough that I have a 10-year-old daughter who loves to go [to the zoo with me] and feed stingrays."
Challenges: "COVID and the pandemic's impact on stadiums and arenas is a huge, huge challenge -- not only for us, for clients," says Gallery.
Opportunities: Gallery says, "The biggest opportunity is to continue to be innovative for our clients in our two core businesses, which are the mobile cart space and the electric vehicle space."
Needs: "We need people to continue to be able to gather," says Gallery about overcoming the pandemic. "That's the need for the business from a revenue perspective."
Additionally, it's continuing to do what the business has always been doing: "Engage in conversations with folks who need solutions."