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While the shopping cart might not have changed much over the years, Lee Heckendorn hopes to change that says NorthJersey.com.
[He] has invented a cart that combines the standard basket on wheels with a rack for hanging clothes. His invention, called The Apparel Cart, is designed primarily to help women shopping in stores where they are likely to be carrying multiple clothing purchases on hangers.
“I was watching my wife shop at an apparel store and noticed all the women were carrying these clothes around on their fingers,” said Heckendorn, a practicing architect for 30 years. “Or they would move the bundle of clothes they were planning to buy from one empty rack to another, as they moved around the store. I scratched my head and said, ‘This is crazy.’ ”
Heckendorn has spent the past year developing his cart, and has produced some prototypes, working with a metal fabrication company in Pennsylvania. The carts would cost $150 to $175, he said, which is “something in the ballpark of what a grocery cart costs.” Heckendorn formed a company, Intuitive Design Solutions LLC, invested about $8,000 of his own money in development, launched a Web site and is now pitching the cart to retailers.
He has been bringing his invention to various stores and getting feedback from sales clerks. The clerks at his neighborhood Stein Mart department store convinced him that he should add an optional child-safety seat to the cart. His biggest hurdle thus far has been finding the person in a retail company who makes decisions about acquiring shopping carts, he said. He still hasn’t sold any retail chains on the idea, but he believes he is closing in on some sales.
The Apparel Cart is best suited for department stores that feature women’s and children’s clothing on hangars, as well as household goods, such as a Kohl’s, Target or T.J. Maxx.
Photo from The Apparel Cart