Since the early eighties, large retailers have traditionally located their businesses in large, single-story buildings in the suburbs. This trend, known as “Big Box” retailing, typically requires 12 to 14 acres of land to provide enough space for the average 120,000 square foot store and sufficient parking.
Realizing an untapped market, many larger retailers are now moving back into urban areas where property is more dense and expensive. In order to utilize these urban locations, the retailers are forced to build multi-level stores.
Several problems are created when shopping is done on multiple levels; one being the requirement to move customers with their shopping carts (or trolleys or buggies) between the levels. This problem is not easily solved with traditional means of vertical transportation. Elevators are not efficient for moving the high volume required and inclined moving walkways have not been successful for several reasons.
Because moving walkways are required to be installed at a less then 12-degree inclination, they take up a huge amount of retail space. In addition, all the shopping carts must be outfitted with special casters that have internal brakes to keep them from rolling away on the incline. Furthermore, wheeled carriages (such as baby strollers) without the special casters are prone to creating damage and injury.
A major US retailer, already using a PFlow VRC for moving pallets, challenged PFlow to solve the problem of safely and efficiently moving shopping carts between levels. Having successfully designed and built hundreds of continuous vertical conveyors for the United States Post Office, it took PFlow less than a year to meet the challenge.
Cartveyor™ Shopping Cart Conveyors are now employed by a variety of retail stores throughout North America. Installed parallel and adjacent to an escalator, the Cartveyor allows store customers to simply push their shopping cart in, and ride the escalator next to their cart.