retail news in context, analysis with attitude

by Kevin Coupe

Bloomberg has a story about how technological advances actually have created an unusual opportunity for inside-the-box thinking ... that actually seems to be working.

The location is London, where the familiar scarlet red public telephone booths - called "boxes" there - were sitting dormant because, well, hardly anybody uses pay phones anymore. Everybody has cell phones. So what was to be done with these icons of the British sensibility?

"Anything and everything, it seems, from an honor-based lending library to a lunch-salad stand. One is a first-aid stop replete with a defibrillator; another could be the world's smallest art gallery. In perhaps the greatest irony, they seem just the right size to serve as mobile phone repair shops and charging stations." There's even one concept that will have booths serving as mini work stations "with wifi, power outlets, a printer and scanner, and other office utilities."

The conversion process was conceived of by Edward Ottewell and Steve Beeken, the story says, "who opened the Red Kiosk Company and a related charity. They're refurbished, given a paint job, new electric wiring, specialty glass and locks. The process takes about three months, Ottewell said ... Tenants sign leases of three to 10 years that cost about $4,720 (£3,600) a year."

I think this is a great example of innovative thinking, and how cultural change can create opportunities. You just have to think outside the box ... or, in this case, inside it.

It is an Eye-Opener.
KC's View: