The Carriage Works has been in the business of manufacturing carts and kiosks since the mid-70s, but saw its largest growth in 2001 when it purchased a new manufacturing plant on 4 acres in south-central Oregon. Following that purchase the business continued its rapid growth, and in early 2006 the company again found itself running out of operating and storage room. The decision was made to purchase additional adjoining acreage for both the construction of additional buildings, and to provide a larger parking area for transport and delivery trucks.
Barbara Evensizer, owner of Carriage Works, says the company also made the decision to bring even more of the manufacturing process in-house. "We were losing valuable time waiting for other suppliers to fabricate certain parts, or to powder coat, or provide graphics. These were all things that we wanted control over."
One of the new buildings will provide space for a new powder-coating booth, while other space will be dedicated to the expansion of their large-format printing operation.
The largest portion of the new facility floor space is currently dedicated to the storage of completed units, but even with this new expansion, open space is at a premium.
"It is amazing," says Carriage Works Vice President John Evensizer, "that every time we increase the size or our operation, it turns out that it was just in time for some huge project. Several months later that new space is no longer a luxury, but a necessity, and we find ourselves needing even more room for another large project on the horizon. We're certainly not complaining, but it is keeping us on our toes."
Dan Dawson, the Director of National Sales for the Carriage Works, says that sales actually increased during the months following the 9/11 attacks. "While the rest of the manufacturing world was reporting losses, or at least stagnation, the Carriage Works was actually bringing in record profits."
Mr. Dawson attributes this in large part to the lower investment risk people were willing to take during that timeframe. "Where a company might normally consider opening a new inline storefront, they were being more cautious and choosing carts and kiosks to test the waters."
The continued growth in popularity of carts and kiosks is tied to the low initial investment, their portability, and compact proportions. These qualities make this type of product popular with both individuals and large corporations.
The small, individual buyer is primarily attracted by the relatively low startup cost and portability. Purchasing a cart or kiosk is one way to enter the business world, or to expand a current operation, without the enormous investment of hundreds of thousands of dollars.
For between $5,000 for a small cart, and $30,000 for a larger kiosk, an operator can be up and running a business that generates many times that amount per year. There are businesses currently in operation that are making close to $500,000 a year off of an 8ft espresso cart. A side benefit is that if a particular location doesn't work out, the operator can simply pull the plug and roll their business to a better site.
They are also a great way for large, well-established companies to beef up their bottom line. Many major companies are finding that the battle lines have been drawn with their competition, and that there are few sizeable territories left to be easily conquered.
They are now looking into their own "backyards" and finding that there are many smaller venues left to be filled. By placing carts or kiosks into these nooks and crannies, they are able to continue to increase market share without making any major acquisitions.
As a major manufacturer of carts and kiosks, Carriage Works (carriageworks.com) has large numbers of both individual and corporate customers. The requirements of the two groups differ slightly, but the overall goal is the same; to find an inexpensive, compact, and portable medium from which to promote and sell a product. For the time being, no other platform can match the cart or kiosk in this arena, and the owners of Carriage Works expect their business to continue to grow into the foreseeable future. For more info contact: Dan Dawson, Carriage Works.