COMPUTER KIOSKS AT 2 MALLS LINKED TO INTERNET
(Arizona Republic; 06/04/98)
You've got a pager and a cell phone but you still feel out of touch when you
go shopping. Maybe you should zip off an e-mail or hop online for a few
Shoppers who want to browse the Internet between browsing the stores can do
so at two Westcor malls. Computer terminals have been installed at Arrowhead
Towne Center in Glendale and Metrocenter in Phoenix in a partnership between
Westcor and US West.
The kiosks offers some free informational services, but a fee is charged for
others. Shoppers swipe a credit card through a reader and their online time is
calculated by the service, described as "a pay phone for the Internet."
Westcor is developing joint sponsorship programs with companies interested
in promoting themselves in the developer's malls. Julie LaBenz, Westcor's
director of sponsorship, said the kiosks, or smaller Internet hookups that
would allow for several installations, will go into all Westcor malls.
LaBenz said technology has become so important that people want to be in
touch all the time, whether they're looking for information, sending messages,
or checking in with the office. Youngsters have used the kiosks to play games,
and LaBenz said the devices let older people with fewer computer skills give
the Internet a try.
"They're always busy," she said of the kiosks.
The kiosks connect with the Internet via an Integrated Services Digital
Network line that US West said is up to 10 times faster than conventional
Internet access. Access is screened to ensure children can't connect to sites
their parents might find objectionable.
The kiosks are made by a San Diego company and installed as part of US
West's Public Access Solutions & Smart Card division. The interface is menu-
driven and the kiosk uses a flat-pad mouse similar to those in some laptop
LaBenz said the kiosks eventually could connect to a business center in
Westcor's malls so shoppers can make printouts of data and perform other
CENTER LOOKS LIKE A HIT
Vestar Development Co. is still weeks away from starting work on its Mesa
Grand power center but is already looking at a second phase for the project
near Stapley Drive and the Superstition Freeway.
Construction on the first phase is scheduled to start in midsummer with an
opening in November 1999. AMC Theatres is planning a 112,000-square-foot
theater complex with 30 screens at the center, and Vestar has space for two
15,000-square-foot shops and some smaller sites.
Chili's and Tony Roma's are among the restaurants planned for the project.
The second phase could add about 300,000 square feet of retail, with space
set aside for a 125,000-square-foot anchor. Vestar Vice President David Larcher
said the big anchor slot might be a home improvement center.
Larcher likes the retail potential in east Mesa, especially for casual
restaurants that would complement the movie complex.
"From an entertainment and restaurant standpoint, we've got a fairly unique
opportunity because that site serves all of Gilbert and all of Mesa, given its
location between Fiesta (mall) and Superstition Springs (center)," he said.
HILFIGER OPENS STORE
Designer Tommy Hilfiger has opened his first factory outlet store in Arizona
at the Oak Creek Factory Outlets in Sedona.
The 3,500-square-foot store carries mainly sportswear and some dressy
apparel for men. However, there are items for women as well, including the
Tommy Girl fragrance line.
The outlet mall is owned by the same Baltimore real estate investment trust
that built the Arizona Factory Shops near new river.
CATALOG COMPANIES LINK
SkyMall Inc. and Catalog City Inc. have signed a deal to jointly market
Phoenix-based SkyMall, an in-flight catalog retailer, and California-based
Catalog City say the marketing effort will be launched on the World Wide Web,
with each company featuring the other on its Web page.
WEB SITE OF THE WEEK
Shopping for a new washing machine and looking for someone to give you the
lowdown on what to buy?
That old standby, Consumer Reports, has a site at www.con
sumerreports.org that offers lots of free information, such as the current
list of tips on how to pick an air conditioner or find hotel bargains.
You also can subscribe to the site for $2.95 a month or $24 a year and
receive everything from the magazine and expanded site access. Glen Creno can
be reached at 444-8972 or at firstname.lastname@example.org via e-mail.