The 2000 Trade Mall offers Zone-stop shopping for retail products and services that run the gamut from ash urns to roof repair.

The annual ICSC Convention in Las Vegas will play host to a variety of exhibitors, including old favorites and fresh new faces. "This is our 13th year participating," says Rick Hauser, principal at Hauser Industries Inc. in Waterloo, Ontario, a company that manufactures and designs a variety of seating products. "It's been very good for us. It's an opportunity to bring fresh ideas to the industry."

At the 2000 Trade Mall, Hauser Industries plans to highlight the custom capabilities of its state-of-the-art laser and plasma cutting, technologies that play a key role in today's creative seating design. The industry focus on branding has carried over to details such as seating, and now there is more emphasis on seating design and color schemes that complement the overall shopping center. "It's not just putting table and chairs into a center anymore - they're really focusing on merchandising the space," Hauser says.

One exciting new concept making its debut at the 2000 Trade Mall is BigFatWow! Irving, Texas-based BigFatWow Inc. is rolling out a new shopping center entertainment destination with its Wow Centers. BigFatWow! provides free high-speed Internet access in shopping malls, as well as offering professional Internet consulting and development services to support mall owners, developers, tenants and sponsors.

The modular Wow Centers can be adapted to a variety of spaces and configurations. The largest Internet stations feature as many as 12 computer terminals, up to six TV monitors and eight plasma screens. "Mall owners can use BigFatWow! to integrate their own Internet initiatives directly into the malls," says Michelle Eddins, director of marketing at BigFatWow! For example, the mall website can be programmed into BigFatWow! Internet stations so it can be accessed with the click of a button. The TV monitors and plasma screens also can be used to bring in added sponsorship revenue or to develop mall-specific advertising and branding.

Even traditional products are taking an innovative twist. The basic pay telephone is in the process of being transformed into a telecommunications access terminal. These days, pay phones have added features ranging from credit card payment options to laptop data ports.

"The units that we utilize have speed dialing capability, which becomes a very important aspect when you use those phones in conjunction with specialty pay phone enclosures that feature advertising panels," says Jerry Burger, CEO of Cleveland-based AmeriCall Inc. For example, a shopping center can create advertising messages that will scroll across the payphone screen. "We can have a customer hit seven to connect automatically to an advertiser's 800 number," he says.

Construction and design A variety of new products and application techniques are now available to improve shopping center form and function. Escondido, Calif.-based Progressive Concrete Inc. is an architectural decorative concrete firm that has been in business for 20 years. "We specialize in a product called Arte Povera, a topping that can be applied over existing concrete or used as new concrete," says Matt Paulsen, Progressive Concrete's marketing director.

Arte Povera equips architects and designers with a valuable tool to create visually appealing artistic surfaces. Arte Povera allows architects and designers to carry a design theme, image or logo onto the floor of retail stores and shopping center common areas. The Arte Povera procedure can reproduce a variety of colors and can be applied horizontally and vertically. It is also suitable for both interior and exterior uses, according to Paulsen.

Las Vegas-based Arcon is another firm that creates and installs unique floor treatments that enhance the appeal and value of a project. The company's one-of-a-kind creations serve as an architectural design element.

Arcon can apply its floor treatment directly over an existing floor. Rather than shutting down portions of the mall, the work can be done at night to avoid business interruption.

"We can create a complete new design by coming in during off hours and applying a topping system with cement-based technology that allows us to go over the existing floor without going through the demolition process," says Larry Luttrell, Arcon general manager. "The design limitations are very few, and the cost savings are substantial." Arcon can create or simulate virtually any color or texture an owner desires.

Durability is another key quality in building design. VP Buildings Inc. manufactures system buildings utilizing cost-effective, steel-structural systems, state-of-the-art roof membranes and unique wall-cladding materials.

The Memphis, Tenn.-based firm has been in business for 50 years, and manufactures about 7,000 structures each year. Two of VP Buildings' unique wall-clad materials include Fiberstone and Fiberblock, which are panels made from fiberglass that simulate a brick-and-block look.

Because the Fiberstone and Fiberblock are non-load bearing panels, they can be applied after the structure is up. "It's extremely durable," says Rick Compton, corporate accounts manager at VP Buildings. "It is more durable than the real masonry surfaces like brick or block because it is fiberglass." Other advantages of the Fiberstone and Fiberblock panels are they are lighter weight and retain their color and texture longer than real masonry products.

Furnishings New designs are on tap for both interior and exterior furnishings. Dura Art Stone has added several new items to its product line. The Fontana, Calif.-based firm is re-introducing additional ornamental and sculptural pieces that feature animal statuary and ornate urns. "We're seeing more demand for ornate types of items," confirms Tom Seifert, president of Dura Art Stone. Designs range from classical to contemporary.

Dura Art Stone, which has been in business for 65 years, offers more than 3,000 standard products in architectural precast concrete and Glascrete. Glascrete is a proprietary simulated stone product that offers a lightweight product with the same stone look. Dura Art Stone also is introducing new planter designs for the first time in 10 years. The 14 new planter designs will double the firm's existing selection.

Maglin Furniture Systems Ltd. of Woodstock, Ontario, originally designed its products for outside settings such as parks, street-scapes and courtyards. The durable furniture was built to withstand everything from salt spray to sunshine, and products come with a minimum five-year warranty. Now that same durable tradition is available for both exterior and interior uses.

Maglin Furniture produces a variety of benches, trash containers and ash urns for indoor and outdoor use. Products aimed at interior settings feature a warmer design with added features such as more wood used on the bench designs, reports Ian McAskile, director of marketing at Maglin Furniture.

The company will display a variety of new products at the 2000 Trade Mall including food court furniture and a new ash urn. The food court furniture features a European-style design, while the new ash urn has a drop-down feature that hides cigarettes after deposit.

Internet Shopping center owners and tenants are discovering ways to use the Internet to complement the traditional shopping experience. Mallfinder Network is one tool that makes it easy for shopping center managers to develop and manage online websites for all properties.

"We specialize in helping malls create individual websites for their properties," says Brian Hayashi, CEO of Denver-based Mallfinder Network. Each of the shopping center websites is designed to leverage and reflect the unique identify of a shopping center in the local market. Mallfinder helps shopping centers and their retail tenants connect with local consumers. "We make it easier for consumers to use the computer to shop retailers," he says.

One new feature Mallfinder will be showcasing at its ICSC exhibit is a new Instant Messenger feature. "Instant Messenger allows consumers to connect in real time with the property to get information on local tenants," Hayashi says. For example, if a parent wants to make a quick stop at the mall on their way home from work to pick up Pokemon cards for their child, they can log onto the Mallfinder website that links to their local mall.

Instant Messenger will allow them to send the inquiry and get an immediate response as to what store carries the cards and where they are located within the shopping center. Instant Messenger can go so far as to have the Pokemon cards reserved at the front counter of the store for shopper pick up.

Mallfinder Network also will be demonstrating its Double Click feature, which is aimed at helping shopping centers tap into more sponsorship dollars.

Genesis Intermedia.com will be showcasing its new CenterlinQ product. The Los Angeles-based firm is a marketing technology company that combines innovative marketing strategies with new interactive technologies. One such marketing strategy resulted in the creation of interactive public-access kiosks at shopping malls. The CenterlinQ kiosks connect customers with a frequent shopper program.

Consumers can use the kiosks for a variety of functions, such as getting directions to different stores, printing coupons and finding information on sales or special events. Now consumers also can access CenterlinQ from home or work by logging on to www.centerlinq.com.

Consumers can sign up for the CenterlinQ Frequent Shopper program in the mall or online. "They use the Frequent Shopper card to get points for shopping at the mall, and then we can understand who is shopping where," says Chris Miglino, vice president of business development at Genesis Intermedia.com. That data goes into creating an intense, back-end database management system that can help shopping centers better understand shopping patterns, sales and mall traffic.

Retail professionals are now turning to the Internet to help facilitate real estate transactions. PropertyFirst.com will be showcasing the new features of its website www.propertyfirst.com. Founded in 1998, the Alhambra, Calif.-based company is an online real estate marketplace.

"It's like the NASDAQ of commercial real estate. People can go to the site to buy, sell, lease and get information about what's going on in the business," says Dan Bercu, vice president of retail and strategic development at PropertyFirst.com. The real estate portal launched its for-sale listings about six months ago and introduced for-lease listings in early April. Currently, the site offers nearly 3,000 commercial property listings, about one-third of which are retail. PropertyFirst.com also plans to add more retail capabilities to the site in the future, such as mapping and demographics.

Online finance The World Wide Web is opening new doors to sources of debt and equity capital. Denver-based EquityCity.com is one of the firms making their first appearance at the 2000 Trade Mall. Founded in August 1999, EquityCity.com specializes in matching individual and institutional equity investors with those interested in developing and acquiring all types of properties.

Currently, EquityCity.com has more than 1,600 investor members, representing about $57 billion in equity capital. "There are a lot of sites that help people find loans or mortgages, but no one that is finding actual equity investors," says Mark Quam, president of EquityCity.com. "It's the hardest part of any deal, and we're speeding up that process."

EquityCity.com identifies potential investors based on specific investment criteria. For example, if a developer is looking for a $3 million equity investor for a power center they are building in Maine, EquityCity.com can search its database for members that have similar investment criteria. EquityCity.com qualifies both its members to ensure that they are accredited investors, as well as validating the potential investment deals.

Houston-based Best Mortgage Advisors LLC will debut its website at the ICSC convention on May 20th. "What we are is a discount online e-commerce mortgage banking company," says Mike Spoor, president of Best Mortgage Advisors. The site, www.bestmortgageadvisors.com, is designed to help borrowers arrange financing on any type of commercial property through the Internet at substantially discounted fees compared to traditional mortgage banker companies.

"The reason for the discounted fees is because of the economies we will generate through an e-commerce use of the Internet," Spoor says. Currently, Best Mortgage Advisors has relationships with 40 to 50 lenders that include life insurance agencies, conduits, regional banks and thrifts and specialty lenders.

Meanwhile, Mortgage Selector.com has created an online commercial real estate finance community. The website, www.mortgageselector.com, gives mortgage brokers access to information such as spreads for different property types, as well as commercial real estate news and stock market information. "It allows mortgage brokers to create loan files online and get soft quotes," says Fred Fellows, CEO of Chicago-based MortgageSelector.com. Once loan documents are completed, the mortgage broker can submit the documents to multiple lenders online.

One advantage to the online process is that it standardizes the loan template and provides consistency in the quotes coming back to the brokers. "It really puts things in black and white," Fellows says. The online system also creates added efficiencies by cutting response time down from two to three weeks to one day. The site, launched in January, is sponsored by more than three dozen lenders. Brokers can submit free loans for quotes.

Site selection Web-based systems are enhancing the quality and speed of demographic and mapping data. SRC LLC of Orange, Calif., provides integrated micromarketing systems that enable clients to readily use demographic and geographic information about their clients and their markets.

"We deliver these market-based information systems to the retail and real estate industries specifically for them to get a better understanding and gather the right information when they're working with their clients," says Olivia Duane, vice president of marketing at SRC. Although SRC does offer desktop applications, the company is fully web-enabled.

DemographicsNow.com is an Internet-based subscription service that provides demographic reports and maps for U.S. locations. SRC recently released version 2.0, which carries 2000 demographic estimates, as well as five-year projections for 2005.

The new version, released in March, also features added mapping capabilities. Users have the option of accessing a sophisticated, interactive system to create custom maps, or they can access a high-quality non-interactive map. "If you just need a quick picture, you can do so very quickly without having to worry about knowing much about mapping," Duane says. Version 2.0 also allows users to customize their own reports.

SRC also will showcase FreeDemographics.com, which provides free unlimited access to U.S. Census data. FreeDemographics.com offers a preview of some of the data the Census Bureau has already released on tests markets.

"We will continue to post that information as it becomes available," Duane says.

LOCATION-net describes itself as a high-tech matchmaker that brings retailers and key customers together. The firm's proprietary database technology merges a wide range of demographic and lifestyle information to match retailers with trade areas that contain high concentrations of their target customer.

"In this industry, you get all these maps and demographics, but unless you evaluate the information, it's just flat information," says Sina von Reitzenstein, director of sales and marketing at LOCATION-net in South Sausalito, Calif. "We take it to the next level. It's not just information, it's smart information."

Although LOCATION-net has been in business for the past two years serving clients on an individual basis, the firm plans to launch its web-based format this spring.

LOCATION-net's unique methodology allows a retailer to access its profile by state, region or even nationally, without the requirement for actual customer or point-of-sale date. "It takes the guesswork out of site selection," says von Reitzenstein. The chairperson of the Wharton Real Estate Department at the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School has endorsed LOCATION-net's methodology.

Software Computer software continues to evolve as firms release new functions and enhanced capabilities. Dallas-based CTI Limited Inc. will promote its new Application Service Provider (ASP) program at the 2000 Trade Mall. CTI provides integrated software solutions to the commercial real estate industry. The company is known for providing complete Tier-1 functionality for large real estate companies with a focus on public companies. In 1999, CTI created its ASP program that offers this same Tier-1 functionality to large and small real estate companies.

Under CTI's ASP program, the initial up-front license fee and infrastructure investments are eliminated. CTI manages its CTI Real Estate System for clients on an AS/400e computer located in CTI's state-of-the-art data center in Dallas. Clients can access the CTI Real Estate System via the Internet from anywhere in the world.

"It's an economical way to get full functionality without the expense of the infrastructure," says Dale Smith, CTI's director of sales and marketing. "With ASP, all users need is a PC, browser and Internet access."

Real estate industry software solutions veteran Yardi Systems Inc. will showcase a new browser-based maintenance program, according to Terri Dowen, vice president of sales. In addition, she adds, "Significant changes have been made in Yardi Voyager, which now offers both reporting and data-entry capabilities over the Internet."

Los Angeles-based AVM Technologies provides asset-, property- and construction-management software. AVM recently released its 2.5 version of Realwise Millennium, which features expanded capability for distributed processing from remote sites back to central. Report design features also are expanded significantly so users can generate their own customized format, according to Steve Sturgeon, general manager at AVM Technologies.

Realwise Millennium features a series of software modules encompassing functions such as back office, lease abstracts and lease tracking for retail for owners, managers and developers. One such module is AVM's Commercial Pro, a document database.

Commercial Pro now offers an expanded number of forms ranging from lease agreements to letters of notice. The Commercial Pro database includes more than 700 documents. The system also is Microsoft-compatible, which enables users to work in programs such as Word or Excel. In addition, AVM plans to release a full analytical product and a presentation tool for marketing space and properties.

These two additional modules will be part of Commercial Pro, and will be available later this year. "We're moving toward a fully web-enabled client solution, version 3.0, which will be available later this year," Sturgeon says.

Denver-based J.D. Edwards World Solutions offers a complete suite of applications to run a real estate company, ranging from human resources and facilities management to property management and general ledger. The company's two application suites, OneWorld and WorldSoftware/WorldVision, provide comprehensive supply-chain management functionality. All of the applications are fully integrated with the desktop.

"I think people are going to be interested in learning about our e-business offerings," says Andrew Rains, worldwide industry marketing manager at J.D. Edwards World Solutions. The company is showcasing the capabilities of its lease pipeline and e-procurement applications. An advantage of the e-procurement application is that it allows all of a company's users to conduct purchasing through one common portal. "It allows you to take advantage of the best negotiated prices with vendors, and it can significantly reduce maverick buying - people making purchases outside of the prescribed system," Rains says.

J.D. Edwards also has rewritten its property management application. "It now has a complete work flow engine throughout. That means that any type of an event can trigger a message," Rains says. For example, the system can produce a message for leases that are expiring in 90 days.

Signage New technologies are even affecting traditional-economy products such as signs and banners. Seattle-based Highflying Banners Inc. is promoting a new digital printing process for its sewn applique banners. The digital printing process can take a full four-color photo, painting, drawing or other artwork and transfer it directly to fabric. The process uses a hot-roll digital dye process that creates colorfast colors and a washable material that can stand up to exterior elements.

Although the digital printing process has been available in the past, new advances in technology help to make this a more viable option today, according to Mike Aurigemma, co-owner of Highflying Banners. "The major advantage is that we can take original artwork and transfer it to fabric exactly as it was shown."

Resolution has significantly improved, and now the colorfast process allows the digital printed banners to be used for both interior and exterior purposes. In addition, the colors are much more consistent. "In the past, 10 prints might all have been a bit different," he continues. "Now they are all exactly the same from one to the next." Highflying Banners also recently released its new Ninth Edition product catalog.

Federal Sign is a custom electric sign company that manufactures signs for a variety of retail, restaurant and shopping centers, as well as other industries. The Oceanside, Calif.-based firm also has its own in-house staff of engineers, project managers and designers. "We can be an entire solution provider when it comes to a themed retail development," says Brian Spang, Federal Signs' marketing manager.

Federal Sign will be displaying some of the latest technology in terms of digital display point-of-purchase advertising. A variety of screens are available for digital display, including plasma and rear projection screens. Now many of these display screens can be digitized from one centralized computer. "That allows you to run content inside shopping centers that is day-parted," Span says. Shopping centers can time their advertising according to demographics. For example, advertising can target seniors in the mornings, kids after school or adults in the evenings.

Carts and kiosks A variety of carts, kiosks and related accessories will be on display. Creations at Dallas will be exhibiting five cart and kiosk models at this year's exhibit, including a new ellipse-shaped unit with softer curves.

The company's popular 7-foot by 10-foot kiosk has been modified to accommodate a variety of uses, and the Dallas-based firm has introduced a new case, which now gives consumers four different case options for that kiosk.

The firm also updated finishes to show the latest colors and design trends with softer wood shades and new colors, such as mustard yellows, honey and wheat. "We're concentrating on softening our edges and getting a little bit more creative in the way the cart lays out in terms of format and form," says Sharon Loeff, designer and director of sales and marketing.

Trade Mall visitors will be able to see an up-close view of one of the most popular kiosk models for Waggon-Cellers Inc. The Amarillo, Texas-based firm will be exhibiting the kiosk it created for Nickels & Dimes. The arcade kiosk uses a replica of a Volkswagen bus. "It contains coin-operated machines that have been well received and are making money for Nickels & Dimes and the developers," says Lon Conner, president of Waggon-Cellers.

Waggon-Cellers also will exhibit new accessories and cart designs. New accessories include more cases around the perimeter of carts that improve visibility and security for items such as cellular phones and sunglasses. Contemporary cart and kiosk designs are aimed at complementing the interior of the shopping center.

"We're also showing a unit that has see-through security, so whenever it's closed, the merchandise is still visible," Conner says.

Maintenance Shopping center repair and maintenance exhibitors will feature a variety of new products and services. "Our newest service is the parking lot repair service," says Doug Wetton, director of business development at Pegnato & Pegnato Building Systems Services of Marina Del Rey, Calif. Pegnato & Pegnato provides emergency pothole repair service, comprehensive parking lot inspection reports and striping service.

"There was a big need in the marketplace for a nationwide contractor that was able to do smaller repair jobs," Wetton says. Pegnato & Pegnato specializes in roofing repair, heating and air repair maintenance and parking lot repair maintenance. The company has 150 technicians nationwideand operates in all 50 states.Carson, Calif.-based Bird Barrier America Inc. w ill introduce its new bird-battling products at the 2000 Trade Mall. The company's BirdShock product has been redesigned to be more effective. BirdShock works to recondition birds by giving them a small electric shock - similar to a static electricity zap for humans. The product helps to eliminate birds nesting on buildings.

"It works to recondition the birds. They don't like it, and they end up leaving," says Monique Thorsell, marketing director for Bird Barrier America. One of the advantages of BirdShock is that it is difficult to see, so it can be used on ledges or signage without detracting from building aesthetics.

In addition to its bird deterrence products, Bird Barrier also has released a new product aimed at reducing accidents, known as the Ladder Stopper. The device is used at the base of a ladder to keep it from slipping. Ladder slips are one of the leading causes of accidents among maintenance staff. Not only does the Ladder Stopper help to prevent accidents, but also it is ideal for small maintenance staffs because no one has to hold the ladder in place.