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Our Story

In January 2008 architect, Lee Heckendorn, accompanied his wife shopping to take advantage of after Christmas sales. While killing time he began to notice the way the ladies were shopping for clothing. No one was using shopping carts, although the store had 10. The ladies would carry their choices with either their middle finger; or, they would push clothing back on a display hook and temporarily store their choices there until they were ready to check out. He thought what’s wrong with this picture? He grabbed a piece of paper and made a sketch of a cart with a hanging hook. He went home and began to explore the idea further. He did a “google” search for “shopping carts” which produced links to sites which offered e-commerce “shopping-cart” software. Finally through a search for grocery carts did he begin to enter the world of the iconic physical shopping carts. No search produced such a product as he were contemplating.

The next challenge was to find someone to manufacture the prototype and maybe the production models. This too, posed a big challenge. After many hours of phone calls and searches he linked up with a small steel fabricator in central Pennsylvania. They agreed to make the prototype and work later to manufacture the units. He was looking for a different look than the old traditional grocery cart – maybe something closer to the store fixture style. His son was working for a major national retailer in their corporate offices. He was able to set up a meeting with company executives for input. Their input was generous and honest – they advised us getting to the right people would be a challenge and the pricing would have to be competitive with other traditional carts. Unfortunately, their business model did not include carts of any kind.

What was discovered through the development process: the carts need to be small to allow movement throughout the clothing racks. Since the clothing would hang, the basket need not be so large. They have to “nest” for storing and shipping. We resisted the child seat (for many reasons), but through input from some sales clerk we interviewed, they insisted that a child seat would be important. Our initial design however, put the child in the front. We got a lot of negative reaction to this approach. We also discovered that the cart became front heavy and the bottom frame would, therefore, have to extend further out to counter the tipping possibility. This defeated the small size we were aiming to create. Through trial and error we came up with the model 2424 which gets the child seat facing in the traditional back, keeps the small footprint; and, allows the hooks on the sides. This also easily allowed the development of our model 2436 for larger, diverse retailers.

Throughout the product development we struggled with the pricing. Manufacturing them here in the US pushed us way out of the price bracket we were trying to meet. The truth be told every time a US worker touched the product it added $20 to the base price. People liked the product but not the price. Established US cart manufactures we contacted would not work on a royalty basis, so we had to go to China. So now we have the product we are happy with, in the price range we believe can compete with the “standard” cart on the market.

So call us for a quote and improve the way people shop in your stores today!

Earliest prototypes

With child seat prototypes

Plastic basket